It Started with New Floors: A Whole-House Purge Starting from the Ground Up

Our spring cleaning started with this:

Our flooring choices.
Our flooring choices.


We had decided to install new laminate flooring and carpeting in our home, at least to take care of the portions “publicly visible.” The hallway, kitchen, dining and living rooms. Doing these sections helped us sort through these rooms and do more than the usual deep cleaning. Jim tackled the cleaning. We also had these areas repainted in the same color as before. A prerequisite was moving everything out of the areas and off the walls.

I realize you either have to move out of your home entirely or go through a floor-up renovation project to become motivated to even tackle something like this, but this is our story, and maybe it will inspire you without having to buy new floors.

Before the installation.
Before the installation.

Let me tell you, schlepping all your stuff around in your house from one room to another to “get things out of the way” is the best motivator I have found for getting rid of stuff, particularly when there’s a lot “in the way.”

In the process of stashing and moving, this is what my office space became:

The default storage shed. And this isn't even it at its worst during the process.
The default storage shed. And this isn’t even it at its worst during the process.

This was the land of misfit toys in our house. Our renovation and new living room arrangement meant we didn’t want the TV in the living room anymore, and I imagined the office becoming a TV den area. But this space, in its current state, was not that at all.

A little more than 24 hours after taking the above photos, here’s the same room:

Hate the wrinkle, but love the room.
Hate the wrinkle, but love the room.

YES we still have old, wrinkled carpet in this room, which was the point of the reflooring of the rest of the house. But a smallish area rug will fix that.

Here’s a roundup of the rest of the project:

Old carpet, old arrangement in living room.
Old carpet, old arrangement in living room.
New living room arrangement, and it's not designed around a TV.
New living room arrangement, and it’s not designed around a TV.
New hallway and kitchen floor.
New hallway and kitchen floor. We are not this spartan now; this was the minute the flooring people were finished.

My point with all of these photos is to show what’s possible. You think you can’t change your diet, just like you can’t change how you live. By getting rid of the old, (food, furniture arrangements) you can start to see possibilities in the new.

Because we prepare food differently now, eat more fresh foods, salads, smoothies, juices, etc. I needed the kitchen to have a lot more prep space and a lot fewer things on the cabinet to clean up from blender splatters and all the particulates that come with produce. I needed to empty my countertops before the painters and flooring people came, and that made me take a hard look at what came back on the counters when all was said and done. The living room was the same way. We wanted a different arrangement, but we were locked into one certain layout if we had the TV in the cabinet along the only wall big enough for it. We kept the cabinet, which we will use for other things, moved the TV into our den and the whole house feels more functional now. It’s amazing and it feels like we are in a new home. Digital toys can free you from having to keep the TV in the living room, so the space can actually be a LIVING room where you change the layout.

Dara Dubinet explains it much more eloquently. In the meantime, maybe it’s time to spring clean your own place? Have fun!




  1. I like what you have been doing to your house, a person needs to do that every once in awhile. It is looking good.

    Take care, and stay away from the mud.

    On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 3:23 PM, my sightline


  2. Beautiful home! You decorate much more tastefully than I’ve ever managed to do. I really wish I had a “blank slate” house to work with, but I don’t suppose anyone really gets a blank slate unless they build the house from the ground up. I can’t stay focused long enough to get even a single room the way I want it — the time and money factors are just too overwhelming.


    1. Thanks! The trick is to be able to get rid of things, and that is hard to do. We learned that when you take everything out of a room you don’t want to put much back. So it is a lot of trips to Goodwill.


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