Friday, March 28, 2014

spring break

This week, I got the guest room done in the sense of my stuff has been whittled down. There are still huge amounts of papers that are my husband's stuff, but I'm not going to pretend I can clear that out without his help. It is however ready for guests and much nicer looking than it was before. I could always have it guest ready pretty quick, but now it has the bonus of having been dusted (ahem). I do still have some things I can't seem to let go of. My Harry Potter lunch box (despite the fact that I haven't packed my own lunch in about 3 years), and two of my collectible dolls. I used to have a small doll collection as a teenager mainly because my mother always wanted a doll collection. And I honestly liked the 5 that survived all the moved I made as a young adult. I'm just feeling like there are 2 that I'd like to be able to give away but something is holding me back. It is ok though because their shelf is so empty now, that keeping them a little longer isn't hurting anything.

Next week is my children's spring break and we are having my mom come visit, and I'm hoping it doesn't derail the clutter busting. In fact, I was thinking that next week's project could be that the children start clearing out some of their stuff. They want to sell their old clothes, toys and books at the mom to mom sale their school hosts. I'm hoping to appeal to their sense of greed and clear out a few bigger ticket item toys. But next week I'd like to get them to sort through their spring clothes (not that they'll be wearing them any time soon) and their winter clothes and possibly their books. How to make it fun and manageable is escaping me.

I will be working on my dresser drawers this week. Although it was hard not to start today when I went searching for my lint brush (which turned out to be in the one relatively clear drawer).

After that comes the hardest task yet. The sewing room. Someone on flickr recently favorited a picture I took in 2008 of the space, and I decided to take a picture of how it looks 6 years later. The result: sewing room

2008 on the left, today on the right. So ahem, I have some work to do. Although that might be a "get rid of one thing and finish one thing" kind of project. I notice the girl scout vests in the pile in the picture on the right. I could finish the patches on that and tuck those away. The creative things are always hard for me--I always see such potential in fabric and patterns and yarn. Plus, a lot of the clutter are partially completed projects. But I am promising myself that I will not feel like I need to hang onto 1) patterns we've outgrown (cut or not) 2) fabric I find ugly, and 3) scraps. We'll see how long it lasts.

Friday, March 21, 2014

cell phones

This week I got rid of something I slated for donation well over a year ago--my old cell phones. I meant to get rid of these guys when we got our new ones, but since we changed carriers, there wasn't that easy--oh here take the old ones option. And old they were:

phones

Now maybe you don't have this problem. Maybe you know about 50 places off the top of your head where you could donate these or earn money for these or whatever. I however did not. And so I stalled and they sat in the guest room (duh) for 14 months. Yes, 14 months--maybe 15.

So late last week I decided, I'm getting rid of these this week or else. So I did what everyone probably did last week--I googled "donate old cell phones." Now first a word, I don't live in a major metropolitan area. Meaning that many things that come up in searches like these are pointless because when I look into it it usually comes out that the closest drop off place is 25 miles or more from me. But the last thing on the how stuff works article that came up included a link to http://www.americancellphonedrive.org/ And there I discovered that there was a drop box at the library!

I go to the library a few times a week, so after confirming that yes indeed they took these and used the money to help fund the local cable access channel--I stuck all of this in my library bag. They only took the actual phones, but it freed me up to throw away the cords. Whew--that piece of clutter is gone! (and yes, I did clear everything from them before donating)

Also this week, I went through a file cabinet that included a huge stack of a) professional articles and b) knitting patterns. I went through them and discovered that many of the professional articles were articles that if I need that information again, I'm likely to find newer and better articles. As for the knitting patterns... let's just say my taste has changed a bit:
DSCN2553

I am discovering an issue though that I don't really know how to deal with, so I'll put it to the hive mind of the internet: I have a lot of race shirts. Mostly from local area 5ks that I've run in the last 7 years. I don't wear them. I don't need a quilt (trust me I have a spring quilt and a winter quilt, many wall hangings and my kids have at least 4 bed sized quilts--we are loved by an avid quilter!). They feel like clutter--and yet... I just can't get rid of them. I ran those races! So, I put it to you good internet folks: Would you keep these? Perhaps designate a bin and promise yourself not to exceed the bin? Would you donate them? Would you donate some of them?

Friday, March 14, 2014

On de-cluttering and loss

I'm sure everyone has a room or a closet or a drawer that things that you can't find space for get relegated. In our case, it is the guest room. This week I have been attempting to tackle the dumping ground that is our guest room. And you know like anything, some tasks about it have been easy. And others not so much. My husband also got into the act on this, making it initially more "messy" as he pulled everything out of the built in dresser that he felt he could part with. Which made my initial forays into that room easy. I peeked in, grabbed things from his pile that I thought I could pitch and moved on. Then the pile disappeared.

Then I thought I'd tackle the closet. And initially that went well. I found raincoats that no longer fit the girls (and while they will be replaced, I'm still calling it a get rid of), and last year's winter coats. I found a dress coat that I wear perhaps once a year and decided I have another coat I like better. And then I found this: Airbed

I wasn't sure it worked. I wasn't sure when we last used it. I'm not even sure where it came from. So I decided to inflate it and see what was what.

inflated

It works. It inflated easily and stayed inflated for long enough that even though I suspect it has a slow leak, it would probably make it through a night. And then I couldn't get rid of it.

I KNOW!
I decided that I should keep it, and I justified that by thinking about the reason why I started this de-clutter journey. I want to have room in my house for the things I want to keep and use. I want to be able to find the things I need. If I get rid of all the other things that are easier to part with--I will have room for this. I will be able to find it when the next slumber party happens and people don't want to sleep on the floor.

So many other things in this room have gone easily enough--more sheet sets, pillowcases, stuffed animals, decor from our first house together (think 90s country chic), and old hats and mittens. I can make room for the things that are harder to part with until I am ready.

After all this de-cluttering I have been doing (2 a day! Mostly more--follow me on twitter if you want the day by day things) you would think by now that I would not lose things. Sadly, you would be wrong. I have lost the "wrench" to our ice cream ball. You would think that it would be stored with the ice cream ball, but no. Also, I have recently de-cluttered the silverware drawer and the junk drawer in the kitchen. It was in neither place. I KNOW I would not have gotten rid of this, as the ice cream ball is relatively new. And it is bugging me that I can't find it. I am thinking of buying a replacement, but am sure it will turn up. One thing that always has paralyzed me in past de-cluttering efforts is the "what if I need this" train of thought. Losing this is really making me not want to de-clutter, and I am trying to tell myself that de-cluttering has already saved me time--I didn't need to spend a half hour going though the drawers in the kitchen, I know it isn't there because I can easily see the things that are there.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Time of day

Up until this last week I would have answered the question: What is the easiest time for you to de-clutter? With: Int he morning when I am fresh.

And it is sort of true. As the day beats me down with the thousands of decisions we make (what to wear, what to eat, how to get to work, how much to nag the children about homework) I become increasingly incapable of making "big" decisions like--will I ever wear this sweater again? It is one of the problems I have always had with cleaning closets or drawers or taking on big all day organization projects. About an hour in, I just can no longer rationally think about that skirt I haven't worn in years but used to love.

This week, though, has taught me that there is also a sweet spot in the day. A spot when I am so tired of dealing that I think Oh man I can not deal with that purple skirt in my closet one second longer! When finally I am all worn down that I just want things out of my life.

It gives me another reason to like this two a day plan of mine. Some days I can wake up and open the junk drawer and find half dozen things to throw away--all before I have to decide what I am packing in the children's lunches. Other days, I can stagger into the guest room (AKA the dumping ground) right before going to bed and realize that I've never actually liked those candlesticks we bought 20 years ago, and have had sitting in here on a shelf for the last 10. Either way--something has left the house.

Which works for you? Early morning? Mid afternoon? Or when you are too exhausted to argue with yourself for keeping things?

donation box
My donation box
Remember you can follow me on Twitter @todaystwo where I'll tell you about EVERYTHING I de-clutter.