What 5 Years of Neglecting Your House Looks Like


(but crying on the inside)


I know, I know, I’m so freaking rah, rah 2015 NEW YEAR NEW ME! It’s annoying! Haha I keep sharing all the lessons I learned in 2014 (which by the way, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your sweet words and comments, I sat and sobbed happy tears) and then posting selfies of me exercising and NOW THIS! Organizing? Can we seriously throw a party or bake some cookies or something?!

NO! Not yet. Ugh nooooot yeeetttt. First I have to clean my room. Or at least, the kitchen.

So I mentioned, or more like droned on and on, in my interview with Design Mom last month, and my Holiday House Tour, how we moved into this house over 5 years ago, and never intended on staying. Eric bought it before we were married, and so I’ve never taken mental ownership over it. It’s just this place I get stuff done and snuggle with my peeps.

It’s set up to be a rental (the basement can be its own unit and has its own kitchen) and frankly I never wanted to stay here. So I invested in my business, I invested in myself (these lashes and nails ain’t cheap) and I invested in my family. But I have NOT been investing in this house.

I did Rad’s room up right, and noticed that it’s like, the only room in the house that stays clean. And that’s because 1. He’s a small small child who spends very little time in his room and 2. Because I took a lot of time and effort to make it cute, so I like to keep it clean. And then it dawned on me…HOLY CRAP. That’s why people decorate their houses! Not just for photoshoots and blogs, and because they are like obsessed with wall art, but because it makes it a more wonderful happier place to be.

In my parents defense and Eric’s parents defense, we both grew up in nice, clean, organized houses and had to do chores and work. We are not filthy animals or spoiled rotten, but we just let our home get super chaotic and cluttered while we were busy doing other things.

Having Ana (my heavenly cleaning lady) for the past 6 months or so has done wonders, but cleaning the bathrooms and floors is one thing, taking care of 5 years of unorganized spices in the cabinets? Well that’s another.

Anyway, this is what your house looks like when you neglect it for 5 years.


I’ve decided not to feel bad that I’m 31 and a total mess, because keeping an orderly home happens to not be my particular skill set. Also, we own a house, we are healthy, we are blessed, life is great, even if it’s not picture perfect.

I’m really good at lots of things. I apparently just suck, or more so–have let myself suck, at home organization.

I’ve decided to work on a reward basis. My reward for cleaning the cabinets, is that we are going to get them painted white! Something I’ve wanted to do for 5 years. I found a painter who I can afford, he also painted Club Alison, and then I’m setting some fun things up with an organizing professional! So here’s a fun BEFORE for you. This is my kitchen as clean as it gets!


The bad news is that even though I’m not painting the cabinets myself, it’s still been a lot of work cleaning them out, sorting through everything, and getting it ready to be organized. I’m going to have to say no to more work while I focus on this and that stresses me out. I am speaking at 2 conferences, Alt Summit and Bash Conference the 3rd week of January, so with prepping for those and the house, I’m trying SO SO hard not to add too many other things. But I’m kind of like an addict. I’m honestly jonesing for a deadline, table settings, SOMETHING.

Anyway. It’s not like we are born knowing how to be organized, right? Or maybe you were? How do you guys do this? Do you like clean your house out every year? Do you do that spring cleaning thing? Is that a real thing?! Hahahaha. I think maybe I missed some memo. Will you all please tell me how to be an adult? That would be helpful.

Ok, wish us luck! I love you all.





  1. Jane

    I am doing the same thing right now – cleaning out the cabinets. Yours will look great painted white. Maybe you should ask your painter to paint the frame of the light fixture too since it will stand out once the cabinets are painted?

    1. oh for sure! We are getting rid of it and doing can lights! I can’t wait! thank you!! good luck on your cleaning! xo

  2. Alison, I totally get this. I just told my husband that, in theory, I’m very organized, but I am not good at executing it or keeping up with it. By the end of the day, I’m so tired, I just want to lay on the couch and watch Frasier and eat m&ms. Right? I want to get more organized this year.

  3. This post is so awesome! You’re hilarious. we are just renting right now so I know the feeling of not wanting to invest in only temporary and same feelings about my babes nursery! So so excited to see the after!

  4. We bought our house about a year and 1/2 ago and it’s already feeling cluttered and disorganized – in 5 years God help me. I blame the fact that I was nine months preg when we moved in and I never truly established official places where designated things go. Luckily I married someone who is more organized than me, and lately he’s talking a complete clean through of ALL of our junk closets. Yes, please! So while I can’t tell you how to be an adult, in regards to organized grown up homes, I can tell you that it turns out I’m not one either.

    1. HAHa well the thing is I think you also have to live in it for a while to see how you use it! See so it’s hard! also when I’m pregnant life ceases. I’m not kidding.

  5. Christa Mae

    Again. This is my life. 2 years in a house & I feel like it’s exploding with clutter. We aren’t hoarders, we just don’t take the time to go through what we have because we’re too busy doing what we love and being awesome. It’s a curse, but you’re totally right. if you LOVE the way a room looks when it’s clean (including the wall art & EVERYTHING), you’ll be more likely to pick up & keep the clutter at bay 🙂 I’m excited to see the white cabinets – I bet they’ll look great!

    1. That’s the thing! It’s just so much upkeep! haha I didn’t get that people with clean houses..clean their houses ALL DAY EVERY DAY!! oh many! good luck!

  6. my daughter is the only one with an organized room with pictures on the wall. It’s always the first room we clean too. Your kitchen looks like my office/craft room which we are now converting to a toy room to rid the rest of the house of the toy clutter. I’m not sure where my junk will go now. Ha! Good luck can’t wait to see the outcome!


    1. haha thank you! Good luck to you!

  7. Emily

    I’m one of those people who keeps things clean and organized but them you walk into my crafting/sewing/writing room and it’s an explosion. Also my closets and cabinets. It’s so hard (insert crying my eyes out emoticon)!!! Anyway, I started a new business January 1st and I’m trying really hard to keep things organized so I don’t go crazy and so I can make some freakin money. Also so I can buy new couches instead of those maroon hand-me-down poofy leather couches in my living room.
    It’s just, the balance of “Wahhhh wah wah why can’t I have a house like that” and “wow I’m really grateful for a home and healthy family and all that shit” is the bane of my existence.
    Balance? EW! Never heard of it.
    Love you long time, always will.

  8. Alison, I found your blog through Design Mom and I really love it! I am one of those neat freaks bordering-on-anal people when it come to organizing, but I grew up in a home the definitely was NOT like that! My mother works and lacks any inherent ability to organize, but as a child I cared way more that she was loving and supportive and around when I needed her than that I could easily find a matching lid to the tupperware. Being organized is good, but sometimes I feel like all these blogs with perfectly cropped images of homes give us unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Sometimes I worry my obsessive need to tidy/organize gets in the way of enjoying real life. So my big organizing tips are: #1 put what you use the most in the front and #2 as long as you can find your stuff, perfect organization is a luxury not a necessity

    1. That is SUCH A BEAUTIFUL quote!! “Perfect organization is a luxury, not a necessity!” Such a good perspective!

  9. Mandy

    You are the best because you are so damn real, girl. My kitchen cabinets look similar and they are already white! But it’s true, life is just BUSY.

    1. but that white really makes the clutter pop!? Yes?! hahahaha xo

  10. This might make you feel better, that is super clean compared to what I have seen. I was a professional organizer/executive assistant in NYC to the wealthy and semi famous. And I can attest that it seems the creative, successful and busy generally have disaster homes with junk everywhere. So yay for being super awesome, creatively brilliant and successful! Good luck with the redecorating & organizing!

    1. This actually makes me feel good!! hahahaha thank you!! what an amazing job! xo

  11. Tui

    Ok So I’m a freak but I have a huge clear out and organize every 6 months or so, I go through mine & my son’s wardrobe and pull out all the unworn or too small items. All the off season stuff gets stored in plastic bins as we don’t have a lot of usable space. For the kitchen I do a good clean of the cupboards but also use it as a time to see what needs to be restocked and what needs to be used up, nothing worse then discovering you have something that needs to be eaten or has passed its best date.
    We’re living with my in-laws at the moment and they haven’t organized or clear out in 28 years, my OCD mind is not coping as well as it should. We actually found a jar of vicks that had a best before date of 1985 and had to fight with my father in law to throw it away so I don’t think your 5 years of cluttered kitchen is that bad at all.

    1. I think you have hit the nail on the head! It has to be done every six months. OH MAN you are my idol!! Hahaha and the Vicks!!! Sounds like my husband and I over all these supplements and stuff he likes to get. All natural drink mixes I want to throw them all away! But his drink mixes are like 1/100 of the problem! haha xo

  12. Torrie

    I’m in the middle of my annual purge-everything-give-it-all-away-and-clean-everything bonanzas. It must be after the hype and insanity of the holidays that makes me go into hardcore cleaning mode in January. Seriously, without fail every January I do a deep clean of my house and purge all the things. Probably because I feel guilty for not cleaning my bathrooms for a month (or more…)

    1. That’s why I had to go all in for a cleaning lady…no clean kitchen floors for MONTHS. UGH so embarrassing! Hang in there!

  13. Josie

    gah! you can do it! the only thing that has helped me (VERY RECENTLY) is doing that timer thing and getting the kids to clean before they sleep at nap time and at bed time. and d.i.-ing everything. i blame the pregnancy nesting thing for this. after i have the baby, i’m not so sure i’ll be cleaning much. good luck!

  14. Courtney M

    This speaks to me in so many ways. This is my house with clothes everywhere too because I hate to fold and my kids love to throw clothes around LoL! We are a military family too and so it’s hard to get attached to a home and make it your own when you have to tear down everything and restart in just a few short years … Then rinse and repeat. I love though what you said about investing in your family. I feel like that’s what I have always tried to do as well. I can’t wait to see what your organizational person tells you… Because man do I need it too! Lol you’re amazing no matter how chaotic or how perfectly neat your cabinets are

    1. Aw thank you! And OH MY GOSH I have so much respect and love for you military families! Some of my closest friends ended up as Army wives! You are amazing! Day in and day out! I can’t imagine how hard it is setting down roots again and again! But then maybe you can just say, “I’ll do better next time!” hahaha love ya!

  15. AmyK

    I have many things to tell you so I’ll put them in a list:
    A- I’m NOT organized! At all!!! My 15 years old sister is 100000 times better at keeping her room clean and that makes me a little embarrassed! (Just a little bit)
    B- this is the best I could do using a list
    C- I think my problem is not being able to let go of old things, and the fact that I have the smallest room in the house doesn’t help!!! (Totally not my fault right?)
    D- I know you’re doing the kitchen but I need help organizing my closet! How do people fit their clothes there and actually see them (if I don’t see I don’t wear and that’s bad) so I’m waiting for your tips to start cleaning!

    1. HAHA i love your list! I’m going to get the BEST tips from the organizer lady and I will share them ALL with you!! Even some video down the road I hope! xo

  16. Shelly

    I can totally relate to this. In the past I have taken an all or nothing approach — no money for new furniture or redoing any of the house when we moved and so why spend my time organizing since that costs money too (for containers and whatnot.) Slowly over the last few years I’ve made progress in realizing that owning less stuff is really better. It’s taken me lots of time reading books on organizing and lots of trips to the DI, but slowly but surely the piles of “stuff” are disappearing. Now if I could only motivate myself to hang pictures on the walls of my family room, 4 years after we moved in… 🙂 Good luck with your organizing!

    1. Oh man all or nothing is my MO! It’s so hard! xo

  17. Shalynna Crandall

    You are so hilarious. I loved reading this. When I saw on Facebook that you were looking for a professional organizer I was wishing I was still in UT so you could hire me! I organize out here in Georgia for a girl on a regular basis. 🙂

    But I would gladly trade my organizing talent for any one of your many talents!

    And one more thing- I’m making sugar cookies at this very moment. It’s my first time being hired to make them! I’m doing mini wedding cakes and wedding dresses. I learned my royal icing technique from your first tutorial years ago! And I’m planning to have one of my first purchases when David’s done with school be Alison’s Cookie Party. 🙂

    1. Awwww thank you girl!!! I’m So so so happy for you! I wish you were here too! There’s no one I’d rather have around in my house than you! Your cookies are going to be AMAZING!!!

  18. Courtni

    I used to love to clean your room/closet. Ill stop by.

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