That Time I Lost my Mind

About two months ago, I hopped on Instagram and shared, via Insta-stories, the crazy hair I got to declutter and deep clean my entire house in ten days.

Y’all. I was heavily medicated.

On Dr Pepper and Dos Equis.

I’m blaming it largely on this gal. However, I’d been wanting to really clear out the crap in our house for a loooong time. This was just a kick in the pants to git ‘er done.

It started as a purge. Then, I got addicted to the deep clean which turned into a fascination to a lighter house and a simpler life. It may have been crazy and I may have been utterly exhausted at the end of each day but dang y’all, it was worth it.

First, I read this book and joined an accountability group on Facebook, set up by a friend. DM me if you want to get in on the July purge and clean. Then, I shared my plans with the family. They were, um, less than thrilled. But, after seeing the fruits of our labor, they eventually came around. On Day 11.

My two weeks, in a nutshell, looked like this:

Day 1: Visual Clutter. I cleared out all the immediately accessible stuff. I went through the visible piles, got rid of knick-knacks I no longer loved, threw out trash and recycling, etc. Opening drawers and digging into stuff was NOT allowed on this day. It was a quick 1.5 hour project for me.

Days 2 & 3: Living room, game room & entryway. We have two living spaces, one for adults and one for kids, so I just spent a day in each. Not only did I do a massive purge of toys and crap, but I deep cleaned. Like, pick up the couch cushions, clean the blinds kind of clean. It was nuts. I almost died.

Days 4 & 5: Kitchen & Dining Room. I won’t lie. This almost broke me. Not only did I clean every major appliance (which included soaking oven grates in the bathtub – what?!), but I cleaned out every. single. cabinet. and. drawer. It was brutal. For additional punishment I went through all the wedding china and silver. Scott even polished the kitchen cabinet doors. I mainlined Dos Equis and we ordered pizza. I have never looked more forward to a weekend. Yes, we took those off.

Day 6: Bathrooms & Laundry Room. We have four bathrooms. The boys bathroom felt like five. I don’t even know how pee can get in some of those areas. Fortunately, I did that one first. The rest were a breeze. Oh, and if you need hotel sample shampoos, I have 1,467. Laundry room wasn’t in the book, but ours needed some serious cleaning out. It felt good to get rid of that steam iron I used back in 1996 and if you need toilet bowl cleaner, I have four bottles.

Day 7: Master Bedroom/Closet. This was supposed to be later in the week, but I moved it up. I needed a break. Thankfully I had done a major overhaul of our closet a few months before and I knocked out this room in less than two hours. Finally! It’s also the day I had an interview with Jen Fulwiler on national Catholic radio. Our original piece was supposed to be on Catholic schools. Instead, we talked about toilets and oven cleaning. It was rivetingly hilarious. Is that even a proper adverb/adjective combo?

Days 8 & 9: Kids Rooms/Closets. For the love. The teenager room almost broke me at hello. Somehow I powered through. The kids did do some massive work in these rooms and I was so proud of their effort. I was also appalled at the mini-hoarder situation going on in the girls’ room. The child in question shall remain nameless. It rhymes with “bear.”

Day 10: Office. The book doesn’t have this room on the schedule (massive fail), so I moved some other things around to accommodate it. Honestly, the worst part was getting real with that scrapbooking drawer. It felt good to just kick that habit to the curb and

Then, we all went out for dinner. That is, after we made three trips to Goodwill with the van loaded, I sold a ton of stuff on our neighborhood FB page and trashed/recycled the rest.

As much as I loved a more organized and cleaner home, this wasn’t really about all that. It was about simplification. We can now clean the house in an amazingly short amount of time and keeping up with the things no longer rules me. I find myself being more intentional about what we even bring into our home. Honestly, it was life altering and I didn’t expect that.

If you get the wild hair, too, holler and I’ll drink a Dr Pepper in your honor. Word on the street says I’ll be doing a mini-version of it again in July. Someone sign me up for counseling. Stat.


  1. Karen on April 14, 2017 at 6:28 am

    I don’t know if you meant for there to be hyperlinks referencing the book you read, but I don’t see any in the post. I would love to know what book you read!

    • Kathryn on April 26, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      It should be hyperlinked now!

  2. Michelle on April 26, 2017 at 9:15 am

    I have been wanting to do something like this for a long time, but childcare for my littles always holds me back from starting! What did you do with your kids when they weren’t at school? Our range is 0/2/4/6/8, so only the older 3 are at school during the day.

    • Kathryn on April 26, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      I did one of two things: either worked before they got up in the morning, or during naptime/bedtime. When my older ones were home from school, I’d sneak in an hour or so while they kept them entertained and I worked. I was efficient about making decisions because I only had a set time and that got me motivated!

  3. Karen on April 26, 2017 at 10:31 am

    This is amazing!!

  4. Nicole on April 26, 2017 at 11:18 am

    I watched your Instastories and wanted to do this. Things like a full-time job, a baby, and 2 busy older school-aged kids and their acitivies got in the way. I would love a little more detail on your appliance cleaning process (oven and refrigerator, specifically), and how you involved the kids in the process. My main problem when we go through a kid-stuff cleanout is the sudden can’t-live-without-this-thing-I-haven’t-touched-in-3-months problem. And did you tackle storage areas with your process too (think attic/crawlspace/basement type areas where you would store holiday d├ęcor and the like)?

    • Kathryn on April 26, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      For the fridge, I just used a water/vinegar spray. For the oven, the magic solution included water + 2 T. castile soap and 10 drops of lemon or orange essential oil. I let that sit for about a half hour, then added a little baking soda and water and scrubbed. For the grates, I soaked them overnight in the bathtub with hot water and oxyclean. Then, scrubbed them the next morning with a scouring pad. I definitely did NOT tackle storage areas. We only have one but I just didn’t have the energy for it. I’ll be tackling it this summer, though.

      • Nicole on April 26, 2017 at 3:58 pm

        Thanks for the details!

  5. Bea on April 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    I’m in for the July clean! Sign me up because accountability I will need (thank goodness some of the kids will be at camp for July so I can KEEP it clean). I haven’t done a deep clean/purge in a couple of years. Desperately needed.

    As Ms. Organized herself, I need your advice with organizing, sorting the NICU/medical memorabilia stuff. Nothing triggers the emotions quicker than seeing all those medical bands, right? That closet may call for a call to a counselor.

    • Kathryn on April 26, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      I kept one small box with all of Luke’s stuff (medical bands, nursing bottle, tiny diaper, etc.) I chunked most of the discharge papers. It was helpful for me to put it all in one place and then sort through it in small bits when I was ready. I didn’t even touch that box when I did the deep clean. I knew I needed more time.

  6. Karen on April 26, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Glad you are feeling better! I did a similar thing using KonMari method – my family was ready to move me out. It was cathartic but overall the KonMari method is just too much. Tsh’s approach is family friendlier – though no less daunting. Good luck in July – my big summer challenge is now that the bigs that are starting to come home between college graduation and new jobs/school – they want to park the extras here – in the space I just created! Flexible is going to have to be my word for the rest of the year. Going to make bigs do a final sort of their memory boxes when they are here. I don’t know if I’m ready for their ruthlessness when it comes to that – maybe I’ll wade through some boxes for awhile longer. I’ll think of you when we come across the DP Museum magnets:)

  7. Michelle on April 26, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Kathryn –

    I would love to do this, but every time I try to, I find my husband and kids pulling things out of the donation boxes. My husband in particular has a hard time getting rid of “things”. Any advice?

    • Aileen on April 27, 2017 at 11:31 am

      This. I run into a roadblock with my husband.

    • Kathryn on April 29, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      You might consider this angle: the more things you have, the more money and time it takes to take care of them. The less you have, the more time and money you have! And, as soon as I cleaned out a room, the piles went straight to my van and every 2-3 days we made a Goodwill run. Honestly, once it leaves the house you forget you gave it away. True story.

  8. Verdina on April 27, 2017 at 9:25 am

    All I can say is, WOW! You continue to amaze me!

  9. […] family! Stephanie and I met at Edel 2014 and we became fast friends. She’s the reason I do this crazy thing twice a year. She’s also the reason I believe in sisterhood. Stephanie’s home was just as beautiful […]

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