Thursday, August 31, 2006

The During

OK, you want to know the details? Well, for one thing, most ofe stuff that was in that room is still here, either in the house or in the garage. One of the bookcases was moved into the guest room's closet, and the smaller boxes of craft items are on it. Boxes of comic books were moved out into another part of the house; they will be sold eventually. Some things went into the donate pile, others into the ebay bins or boxes of books to be sold.

What happened was that I realized that to make the changes necessary to turn a junk room into a guest room, most of the items had to be simply physically removed, to make space for the couch/bed and in order to vacuum the rug (which hadn't been vacuumed since it was put down three years ago). Once most of the stuff was out, you could see the 'bones' of the room, and figure out where the furniture had to be to fit without covering over either of the windows.

There is still a great deal of work to be done with the stuff that was removed. Lots of sorting, filing, many decisions. But now, we can have guests over to stay and offer them a civilized place to sleep.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Before and After: The Guest Room

Today, I recovered an entire room. We now have a guest room. Well, Husband still needs to put the futon couch/bed back together, but that takes about fifteen minutes. Thanks to enthusiastic won't-take-no-for-an-answer Clutter Buddy, the remaining stuff was moved, bookcases rearranged, and carpet vacuumed. Take a Look!

Here's another view:

The pieces of wood stuff against the wall are the futon couch. I'll take another shot once it's put together.

Here's the before shot:

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Taking Care of Your Finances

One of the things I procrastinate about is money. I put off balancing the checkbook, filing paperwork, things like that. I have to be able to do it PERFECTLY and since that is incompatble with LIFE, it doesn't get done as promptly as I would like.

In the spirit of improving one's finances, and since finances are related to compulsions, hoarding and perfectionism, I've added some financial resources and blogs that I like to the right side-bar. Check them out; perhaps you'll be inspired to take care of some business.

Today, I took Older Daughter to have her yearly haircut--both Husband and I keep saying to her "You look so cute!". I think she's getting a bit tired of it. Let's see...hit the library and picked up some books and paid some fines. Did some laundry. Still haven't removed everything not furniture from the guest room. The boxes are heavy and I am easily discouraged recently.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

More Outside

This morning, I had some political duties to take care of (I'm a Precinct Committee Officer for the Democratic Party), but I have just finished a 'shift' in the back yard, weed whacking and raking overgrown grass. Feels good to do some physical labour, but my hands get sore fast. Guess I need to grow some callouses.
My main goal today is to move all the boxes out of the guest room. The problem is that I don't really have a place to put them. The basement cupboards that I had cleared out are full again, mostly with items from the guest room. I really resist the idea of stacking boxes in a corner or something like that, but it may be my only choice if I am to clear the room any time soon.

Friday, August 25, 2006


It can bring me to a screaming halt. I've owed my cousin a thank you note for almost three months. Why haven't I sent her one? Because I make my own cards. I haven't had a chance (meaning, I haven't made the time) to make her a very special one, because she's very special. So, instead of just grabbing a store-bought card and writing a heartfelt sentiment, I don't do anything.

Hoarders are often perfectionists. You laugh, because you've seen my pictures, and those of others. How can those piles of crapola be the work of a perfectionist? Easy. If you can't do it just perfectly right, don't do it at all. So, since there's just not enough time in a day to clean the house, well, can't do it at all. Better to let it sit than do a half-assed job.

Perfectionism is why I've worked so very hard the past couple of weeks and done so little the past three days. I haven't been able to devote my full attention to decluttering and if I can't go at it full-force, why even try?

We are also easily discouraged. For me, keeping a blog has been the rope that kept me from falling into the abyss of despair. Each day, at the end of the day, I'd wonder what I'd actually done, because the house just didn't look much better. Then, I'd call up the blog and see my list--oh! I guess I did accomplish a lot.

Today, my goal is to move all the boxes of craft stuff and such that don't belong in the guest room out of there.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

ABC News on Hoarding

Here's a hopeful video. You'll need Macromedia Flash Player to watch it.

An Outdoor Task

Today, I wanted to take on an outdoor task. The backyard has been sadly neglected and is quite overgrown with grass mostly, but some weeds and miscellaneous plants. It all need to be whacked down, raked, then rototilled. I am not going to rototill, but I sure can whack and rake.

So, I start to do it and the grasses (seriously they're like 3' or something) get tangled in the whacker and the cords don't seem to be extending. It's at the end of it's cord supply, meaning it needs to be restrung. Great. Stopped practically before I start.

Now, I think we have spare cord. I have the instructions for how to re-string it. Husband has done it before. I will update my progress later!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back on Track

I sort of took yesterday off. Well, I thought I had, but then I listed out all the stuff I did and it seemed like a pretty full day!

Today, my goal is to move out some of the boxes from the guest room. Some are what I call 'scary boxes', those that I open up to try to sort and immediately slam the lid on. There are also two huge, clear, Rubbermaid bins of paperwork. Filing to be done. Those are scary, let me tell you! I need to do the most recent of them before tax time.

So, easier to move the boxes out so I can vacuum, dust and rearrange the guest room. I have a futon folding couch-sofa that will go in there as a guest bed. It needs enough space to unfold.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Taking Stock

I feel that I need to take time and catch up with the hot spots, small flat surfaces and mini-piles that have developed while I've been tackling big picture tasks. I'll update my done list later today.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Catching Up

I have to write down what I've managed to take care of since yesterday, so I don't forget and think I'm turning into a slacker.

First, here's a lovely little essay on how to stop making piles of junk.

  • Took out all the trash and recycling that had built up.

  • Did laundry. The hampers are close to empty--that is, so low that it's not worth doing a load yet.

  • Working in Older Daughter's room, boxing up stuff she doesn't use or that is just too much for the space.

  • Three more bags of donations tossed onto the pile.

  • Built a new shoe rack. IKEA to the rescue! It matches the lovely coat rack I put together a few days ago.

  • Finished dusting Older Daughter's room. Swapped her old rug for a new one. Re-packaged her Legos into one larger bin rather than three smaller ones.

  • Vacuumed living room rug again, and the downstairs rug that I'd not yet done. Looks much nicer!

  • Cleaned out my car. Now, what to do with the boxes of junk I just pulled out of it??

  • Dumped two more bags of garbage and one of recycling.

  • Cleaned toys out of Husband's car.

  • Cleared off dining room table (it's a large flat surface, what can I say?) and changed the table cloth and placemats.

  • Swiffered the dining room and hallway.

  • Culled two more cds by listening and saying 'eh'.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Use the Good Stuff

A brief reminder to Use the Good Stuff!

Putzing Around

Today, I haven't worked on a big project so far. A box here, a box there.

  • Cleared out a 'stash & dash' from a couple of years ago. Most is recycling, a few items into donate, some trash, some to file.

  • Made the mistake of actually looking into a box with old letters. That's a time and mental energy drain. Don't do it.

  • Rearranged boxes in basement storage cupboards so that my old junk is in one spot, and Husband's in another so he can easily see what's his when he goes to sort it out.

  • Sorted through a laundry basket full of stuff (from the floor of the upstairs linen closet). Most ended up in donate, some things found new, better homes.

  • Next up, trip to the library to return books and donate a box full for the library book sale.

Friday, August 18, 2006


I had an epiphany about my ebay bins. My Clutter Buddy mentioned that she thought I should consider culling those bins down a bit more. I thought about it, and realized...

The ebay stuff is stuff that I'm not ready to let go of yet, and keeping it around to sell allows me to keep it around longer.

Now, you armchair psychologists are saying "Well, duh!", but to me this was huge.

I just now sorted through a closet and picked out two dresses to donate. I considered a third, looking at it. I've owned it forever, it was probably my mother's. I wore it in a high school variety show where I lip-synched a Marilyn Monroe song (yes, I might have a picture. No, you don't get to see it.). Lots of memories in that dress. I looked at it, and then checked the label. It's an I.Magnin (fancy brand from 30-40 years ago, kind of like Nordstrom). My next thought? That might sell as vintage on ebay! Bingo! I was able to let go. I can let that dress go. But not ... quite ... yet.

Another Day Another Orgy of Decluttering

So far today, I've finished putting together a new coat & shoe rack for the downstairs hallway. I've also purged my totebag collection. Until I can get the pictures to work here, I'm using the Angelfire album. Remember, pop-up blocker!
More accomplished!

  • Removed all extraneous fridge magnets: gone are the fridge poetry, advertising magnets, magnets that don't hold anything up, pieces to magnet games long gone. Fridge is grimy now that I can see the surface.

  • Cleaned out the floor of the linen closet. This spot builds up junk and becomes a dumping ground. Found a lot of garbage, stuff to donate, stuff that needs to be stored elsewhere.

  • Younger Daughter vacuumed the living room rug. She insisted, what could I say?

  • Culled through a stash & dash consisting of stuff that I dumped out of my purse over the past two years. It had filled 1 1/2 drawers of the dresser we kept in our downstairs hallway. Lots of papers to be filed for taxes, auto records, etc. Two brown bags' worth of recycling. Two sacks of garbage.

  • Did three loads of laundry, wash, dry and fold.

  • Heard back from Canon about my camera. They say they'll fix it and it should be on its way back home in about a week. Clutter Buddy, who had lent me her camera, is out of town for a week and needed the camera back. So, I am photo-less for another while.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Back-Logged Life

I just found this link on The Discardian. Fabulous stuff!

The Back-Logged Life


I still can't get them to show properly here at Blogspot/Blogger, so I had to make a little photo album elsewhere.

Before and Afters, and some In-Betweens

Be sure you have your pop-up blocker activated before you open the link. Sorry about that!

I'm on a Roll!

So much to report! First, I need to treasure my mom more. She took Younger Daughter and me out to dinner last night and breakfast today (um, nice change from leftover mac & cheese!) and she's out for a walk with Younger Daughter so I can...

  • Set up the turntable. I'm listening to an actual vinyl record on a Technics 1200 turntable. This totally rocks!

  • Clear my side porch so that my side door can be used. Problem--despite unlocking it, the door won't open. I need to find the key.

  • Move all of Husband's books that were in the bedroom onto his bookcase in the guest room.

  • Moved the smallest of the bookcases from the guest room into the garage. I had emptied it yesterday. No, everything that was on it is not yet sorted, but baby steps, remember?

Earlier today, my Clutter Buddy (CB for short) came by to help with some big stuff. Here's what we did:

  • With the help of my dear neighbor across the street (and his handtruck), we moved the old entertainment center from the dining room where it has sat since last Wednesday when MIL helped me set up the new into the garage.

  • We removed the doors to the main bedroom closet. Our house is small, it was built in 1940 and they didn't have a lot of stuff back then. Still, the bedroom closet had two doors. They really invaded the room, and were often left open.
  • While I emptied the drawers of the dresser we kept in the downstairs hall (ostensibly for shoes, keys, purses, etc but in reality a dumping ground and a tempting flat surface)...

  • CB installed a wire curtain rod in the closet opening. Now, there's a lovely purple Celtic design spread there acting as a curtain. It does need to be hemmed, but I can do that later.

  • We moved aforementioned dresser into the garage. I have another solution for the hall shoes and such, but I need to clean first. I actually found some rabbit turds from when we had rabbits...back in 1999!

  • I sorted a laundry basket that contained stash & dash from my car. This one wasn't too old, only May. Most went into garbage or recycling.

  • Major Kudos and Applause to my dear Clutter Buddy, who jumps in with both feet and makes it happen!

Here are some truths I'm learning. If you can't or won't change, change your environment. Our original bathroom had a vanity style sink with a large cupboard beneath it and a large medicine cabinet. Both were always packed, with additional stuff on the counter of the vanity. When we remodeled, I made some decisions (that Husband didn't always agree with, but does now). We chose a pedestal sink (it's actually a wall mounted one with chrome legs, very retro!). It has NO storage except for a spot for a bottle of hand soap on the edge. A small, recessed medicine cabinet. That's all. There's a small bin kept on the floor near the tub with the kids' bath toys, and I keep two small stainless steel canisters, one for Q-Tips another for manicure tools, on the top of the toilet. The garbage sits there too, out of the way. We have three towel bars, and a robe hook. It's the most functional room in the house and there is no clutter there. There CAN'T be and that's the beauty of it.
So, my lesson is this. I need to arrange my whole house so that clutter can't build up. It'll take time for me to change, but if I change my surroundings, I will be forced to change my behaviour. I don't clog up the bathroom with junk anymore (I used to!).
Record's over. Must flip it to side B.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Tiny New Entry With a Few More "Got 'Em Done"s

  • Purged beading supplies. I have a small bin (maybe 1/4 the size of those big ebay bins) of beading supplies for making jewelry. I haven't done it much since having why hang onto everything? I kept my tools and the gemstone beads. Rest goes on ebay!

  • Picked up my mom at the train station. I was talking to her last night and she said "Do you want me to come up and help you?" and I thought a moment and said "Sure". She was on a train the next morning. What a mom!

No New Pictures Yet...But Lots of Progress

I still can't post pictures. No idea why not. Very frustrating!

Today, so far, I've poked about a little. Here's what I've accomplished so far:

  • Sorted through record albums. These were taking up an entire shelf of the built-in bookcase in the guest room. I have a stack of tentative keepers, and husband's are out in the garage on a table for him to sort. I've decided to put his questionable stuff--that is, things that I'm not sure if he wants to keep or not--all together on or under a card table in the garage, with his name on each box so he knows it's his.

  • Vacuumed the basement stairs. Takes about two minutes and instantly makes the house feel tidier.

  • Filled another box of books to sell and moved them to the 'books to sell' stack in the garage. There are sixteen banker-style boxes now!

  • Shredded some old documents.

  • Sorted a box of office supplies. Kept a few, the rest go to Older Daughter's school or are to be donated.

  • Paid bills.

  • Took care of a financial task I'd been putting off.

  • Had a decent breakfast, coffee, and read the paper. :-)

  • Update!

  • Finished filling, put lids on, and took to the garage two more bins/boxes of ebay stuff.

  • Vacuumed two of the four rugs in the basement. They are still stained (well, it's a basement! Things like paint get spilled there!), but look much better

  • Changed the cat litter and vacuumed the bathroom.

  • Moved books that had been sitting on the living room couch (because they were on that consold table that I moved downstairs yesterday) to the now-free shelf in the built-in bookcase in the basement. Culled out a few while I was at it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I haven't been able to post pictures recently. I have some I am itching to share, but Blogspot isn't cooperating. We'll work on it.

Meanwhile, today I got a little bit done. Not as much as I'd hoped, but still progress is progress.

I moved some empty boxes out to the pile of empties in the garage. Moved boxes of scrapbook supplies from the guest room (giving it its proper name now) into a storage cupboard in the basement. Thanks to decluttering, I have two mostly free cupboards that I plan to use to store craft supplies. They'll be in one place, and reasonably accessible. I'll tweak it as needed.

I sorted through three banker's style boxes of VHS tapes. I haven't owned a working VCR for almost two years. We just don't use tapes. Most of the tapes were of figure skating competitions I had taped from TV back when I follwed skating intensely. That was, um, 1995-1999. 75% of the tapes went straight back into the box to go to the garage. There are other tapes besides the skating--movies, some TV shows, etc. They'll all go into the pile called 'Husband Needs to Review'. I did promise him I wouldn't give away any of his stuff, so boxes are piling up that contain items he needs to review. I plan to put all of these into the garage on a table, so as to make the process more comfortable and convenient.

I also moved a console table from the living room into the laundry room, to act as a folding and sorting table. Swept the laundry room. Still need to vacuum it, but the vacuum is upstairs and the laundry room is downstairs. That's a problem, as I hate taking the vacuum from one floor to the other. The basement stairs are a bit steep. It always feels...risky.

Today, I also did some errands. They were frustrating. Best Buy did not have the DVD holder or the CD holders that I wanted; the hardware store didn't have the right sort of caulk either.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pack Rat

I've come across another documentary about hoarding:

Pack Rat

I Love The Discardian

There's a link to this blog on my sidebar, but I have to share this specific entry with you.

Getting Rid of Stuff

And here's a lovely quote, also from The Discardian:

"Let It Go

Maybe you have a hard time getting rid of things. Maybe you feel guilty about getting rid of that "perfectly good" toy you don't like anymore. Stop. It may be perfectly good for someone, but that someone isn't you. There's nothing inherently wrong with you getting rid of it. Who are you worried about offending? (As the Ikea ad says "Many of you feel sorry for this lamp. You are crazy. It has no feelings.")"

Finally...Some Big Changes

It seems that everyday, no matter how hard I've worked the day before, I wake up and look around and think "hmmm...doesn't look that different". Well, no matter what my mind is saying, I know that big changes happened.

Yesterday, I had some assistance from my Clutter Buddy. Gently, respectfully, but knowing what I want to achieve, she helped me plow through sections of the basement, change decor, move boxes out the door and recognize what I've accomplished (that I tend to dismiss). Here's a small list of what happened:

  • Painting over mantle swapped for a lovely mirror (painting had been on the 'let's sell that' list for a while)

  • Painting featuring a single woman reading an alien language--located in the corner of the living room in which I tend to read, by myself, no matter how I ask husband to join me (!)--swapped out for an ink drawing of two poplar trees

  • Boxes destined to go back to their original owner removed to the garage

  • thus leaving space to add storage for bulk paper goods in a convenient location

  • Diapering supplies moved out of the house

  • Painting that I realized I had negative feelings about moved out in favor of a Japanese country scene

  • Gift bags purged and stored with the wrapping paper, all in one location. How convenient!

  • Cleaned off the top of the freezer in the basement. Found a strange solid puddle of material, which, when cleaned by scraping with a putty knife and many rags, turned out to be ... solidified melted ice cream! The smell grew truly awful as it got damp from the rags. No idea how long it was there...

  • Sorted through clothing that had been bagged up back in the winter when Older Daughter came down with lice, courtesy of school. If you can live without it and not miss it for six months, perhaps you don't need to keep it?

  • Two ill-fitting leather coats in the donate pile.

  • Clutter Buddy, a whiz with a drill, replaced a door knob on a closet in the basement that had been off for I can't remember how long. It had a lock and one day I needed into the closet and couldn't find the key. So, hacked out the door knob and it stayed that way until yesterday.

I've run out of large brown paper grocery sacks, my primary tool for my donate runs. My recycling bin is overflowing, the garbage is packed full (and I have two bags sitting in the garage waiting for after Wednesday, when the garbage truck comes by).

* * *
I have to share a sweet something. Yesterday, after I dropped off those bags of fabric for Project Linus, I stopped at my car for a moment before unlocking it to think. I was wondering how I would feel after parting with so much of one thing, a special craft thing, something I had spent much money on. What did I feel? Relief. A tiny bit of regret that I had accumulated so much. But I didn't beat myself up. I didn't revel in the guilt. I simply thanked the deities that I had the courage to release those things, and thanked those who created Project Linus because knowing it was all going to a wonderful cause did truly help me to let those bags go.

Oh, and did I mention? The fabric store was actually conducting a fabric drive (like a food drive, you know) when I dropped my bags off. They offered a coupon for a 5% discount for each yard donated, up to 25% off. Now, I easily exceeded that. The lady who helped me offered the coupon and I declined. She offered again, and again I declined, citing the risk of temptation. But she did respect my answer. That took strength, let me tell you!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Day Off

Or at least, part of a day.

Today, I took the morning off from decluttering. I read part of the paper, went to church (where I dropped off a bag of baby stuff for the 'Baby Corner' donation area) did some errands (including dropping off four huge bags of fabrics for Project Linus, leaving a box of books at the library for the Friends of the Library book sale, and adding a bag full of canned goods and such to the Volunteers of America food bank barrel at the grocery store). Went to the church picnic for a brief visit and now am back home.

It's back to work now. My goal for the afternoon is to re-bag and itemize my huge pile of donations and take them OTD. Anything more than that will be gravy!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Watch this

It's the trailer for a documentary film. Sad and frightening. Frankly, it gave me a chill, a feeling that I had escaped something dire...

And, a reminder that serious OCD hoarding is a mental illness and should involve professionals skilled and experienced in handling OCD.

My Mother's Garden

Long Day

I've been working since 7 a.m. this morning. Here's some of what I did:

  • I used to do stash & dash in older daughter's room. I found two bins in the basement of those stash & dash results. Cleared them out today. Some I had to keep, but there was a lot of recycling, trash and give-away too.

  • Conquered another crafty bin. I found a messy bin full of yarn, knitting needles, half started projects, and gadgets. I saved a small tote bag's worth, including my favourite needles (the ones I don't love are in an ebay bin), a skein or two of yarn and some of the gadgets.

  • The Christmas and Halloween decorations and such have been binned or boxed, labeled and moved to the garage attic.

  • My built-in bookshelf in the craft/scrapbook/guest room now has only books on it, and they are only double-stacked in one small section (and those are all by the same author--Nora Roberts anyone?)

  • I did a quick clean of the refridgerator, tossing old leftovers and such.

  • I emptied a wooden toy box (about 2' x 3' in size) of its collection of miscellaneous stuff. It is now empty and I need to decide if I should keep it. Keeping it requires painting it, as it's unfinished wood and will look like crap if it gets used unpainted.

  • Found all the pieces to a cool dinosaur floor puzzle (pieces had been in three separate bins in the basement!!)

  • Filled two more boxes of books.

  • Filled three huge bags of quilting fabrics destined for Project Linus

  • I am exhausted!

I think that's about all, but there may be more later.

Don't forget to check the links on the right hand side of the page. I'm always adding new sites to the links list and the Feng Shui list. Check them out. All will open in a new window, so you don't miss a minute of Confessions!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pushing through the Resistance

With the help of a clutter buddy, that is.

I am lucky enough to have a clutter buddy--someone who is decluttering at the same time as me. Today, we did some work at her house. Made amazing progress. I wish we'd taken pictures, but suffice to say that a once cluttered, hard to use room is now a restful, clean oasis.

Going through some of her harder items to toss and seeing how she'd worked through what she needed to in order to be able to let those things go gave me the impetus and emotional energy I needed to tackle those sewing bins.

I culled three of my bins (these are 18 Gallon Rubbermaid bins I'm talking about, same size as that huge stack of ebay ones in my garage as seen below) and reduced the contents to one. I have several bags of donations, including quilting fabrics for Project Linus, a group that provides handmade blankets and quilts to seriously ill children around the country. Another few things will go a friend who quilts. I saved only some patterns, tools, and a few small pieces of fabric that I especially like.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

It's Getting Harder

The easy stuff is done. What I have to deal with now is very hard and progress is slow. I keep finding boxes with 'precious' things in them. I tried to sort some of my sewing supplies today. It just didn't work. I'd open a bin, pull a few things out and put them all back. It felt futile. With each piece, each object, I found myself saying 'but that's still useful!' 'but I could make a dress up outfit out of that!' 'but that's going to be my Rennaissance Faire costume!'.

Right. Like I have time for major sewing projects. Like I even go to the Rennaissance Faire (we have at least three in our area. I've gone to one, one single time. Seven years ago.). So, can I just give all that stuff away? Is it possible?

I have a dream of making my junk/scrap/stuff room into a guest room. It'll need to be done soon, as I have a guest coming in September. Early September.

Please, give me strength!

Stuck in the Past

A while ago, I cleaned out a few old files in one of our filing cabinets. We have two four drawer filing cabinets, nice sturdy ones that belonged to husband's grandfather.

Both are stuffed.

I had to do a bit of cleaning out in order to fit the current year's tax folder into the cabinet. I put most stuff in recycling, but had a box for shredding. That box sat for four months because I didn't have a shredder. The other day, younger daughter and I hit the office supply store and bought a shredder. We started the next day and today, we finished the box.

This morning, for some reason the files called to me. Perhaps it was because late last night, I had the urge to do more and decided to tackle husband's workbench. Now, there might be a peek-a-boo view of the workbench in one of the photos below. It was covered in stuff. Receipts, bits of wood, screws, parts of half-done projects, tools. Paints, pens, dust, old plastic bags. Yucky. Very very yucky.

Now, for those in the Feng Shui know, a flat surface that is unusable due to clutter impedes creativity and energy. This bench was a toxic zone! Husband frequently complained about how hard it was to use, but for some reason found it hard to tackle the clutter.

Well, now it's clean. Actually clean. And clear. All the items are put away--tools with tools, projects in shallow boxes, papers filed where they can be accessed. It was very satisfying and now when I look at it, it feels restful and full of potential.

So, anyway, back to the filing cabinets. They are in a far corner of the basement--the Wealth area in fact. And how about that, stuffed full (i.e. no room for more!) cabinets in the Wealth area. Not good. I picked my personal financial drawer and went at. card and bank statements from the early nineties. Old promotional flyers, catalogs, solicitations. I generated a whole pile for the shredder and a huge pile for recycling. Still much more to do, but this feeling of lightness is addictive.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Move Your Stuff...

Change Your Life. One of my new favourite Feng Shui books. And, that's what I did today (with some help).

Today was IKEA day. There are many areas that need a bit of a lift, so those needs were addressed. I'll share some pictures once I have everything unwrapped and in place.

The big change came once we came back home. I'd been pondering changing out our entertainment center for quite a while. We have a wood-coloured (fake veneer) particle board armoire-style center. It actually doesn't look too bad, but it's chipped, the doors to the cabinet section stick and are uneven. And it hulked over the room. I'd been looking for a replacement, but couldn't find anything in a reasonable price range that had the right dimensions. the basement, we had some older pieces that had been basically in storage for 9 years. For some reason, even though I'd been suggesting for a while that we donate them, they came to mind. We call them the Tetris bricks, because they are two pieces shaped like the 'L' in the game Tetris. They can fit together in many ways for a different look.

With some good-natured help from my mother-in-law, we moved everything off the old unit (and there was a lot of stuff--TV, DVD player, receiver, many many many DVDs and CDs as well), and brought the new pieces up from the basement. A careful diagram of the connecting plugs later, we'd made the change.

It looks nice. More open. The TV, which had been feeling small, seems larger and easier to see outside of its confined space. I'll need another culling pass with the DVDs and the CDs, but that's not a bad thing, is it?

Everything is Meant to Be

This morning, just now in fact, as I was enjoying my morning coffee, a large truck pulled up in front of my house. I thought it was the garbage truck, but lo! It was Community Services for the Blind, a local non-profit that picks up donations.

No, they weren't here for me. They'd called a couple of weeks ago (before my recent purging) and I'd said "No, I don't have anything". But my neighbors across the street did. And so I hopped out the door and asked the driver if he could wait a few minutes and I ran down to garage and grabbed three bags of clothing (which they would take, he couldn't take all my donations due to space). But hey, three bags gone and what a nice feeling!

The driver had his young son with him helping. A nice image for the day.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Visual Aids!!! (aka pictures)

Thanks to my friend C, I have some more pictures to share. These first ones are of my ebay bins in the garage. Note that the tall stack has another stack the same height right behind it. Yes, ten bins!:

Here's a pile of items for ebay that need to be binned up (yes, I bought more bins. You do what you need to do!):

And here is the even larger pile of donations that need to go. Yes, I will actually take them to the charity shop:

Monday, August 07, 2006

Feng Shui in Action

As I've been cleaning and decluttering, I've tried to keep the Feng Shui BaGua in mind. I've discovered that my older daughter's room is in our Wealth and Prosperity section--her cluttered, dusty room in which we found a piece of moldy food attached to a dollar bill! That ain't good Feng Shui!

Other discoveries ... the Love and Marriage section of the basement is ... my junk room! The Love and Marriage section of our bedroom contains ... my husband's hobby magazines and a pile of totebags. Health is located about where my very disorganized pantry is.

Now, lest you think my whole house has only bad Feng Shui, the Children and Family area is about where all the toys tend to end up. :-)

I just finished this book on Feng Shui. It felt very helpful, but I do wish the author had given more details on what to use to fix areas that need work.

One important thing to remember: always make sure you have the permission of those living in the space to move their stuff before you do so! Luckily, I read this in the above book before moving any of husband's things. I asked permission, and he granted it. Let the moving commence!

I want to leave you with this quote from Fast Feng Shui:
"Stop thinking of cleaning up your clutter as a tremendous chore, and start thinking of it as one of the most effective feng shui tactics available to you. Every magazine and piece of paper you recycle, every book you give to the library, every item of clothing you release to a new owner creates space in your life for new energy, joy, activities, and companionship to come in. "

Sunday, August 06, 2006

An Ambitious List

Last night, I wrote up a fairly ambitious list for today. Thus far (and it's about 3pm here on the Left Coast), I'm still working on the first item.

It's a big first item.


Take all bins of ebay items to the garage. That's it. But first, I had to sweep the garage, set up a safe place to stack the bins, find the bins (making sure they really are ebay items), label them on all four sides, and carry them from the house to the garage.

So far, I've found eight 18 gallon Rubbermaid bins, and set up two 14 gallon bins as shipping supply bins. Finally all those padded envelopes have a home!

I'm not going to tell you the rest of the items on my list. Suffice to say that I'll be pleased to finish up number one today.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

So Far...

I've moved a large table out of the 'scrapbooking room' (aka 'the junk room') and into the garage. Plan is to use it for sorting. While clearing off the table, I tackled 7 small Rubbermaid & Sterlite boxes. These are the small, 6 quart size. They often sell them as 'shoe boxes'. Well, mine were all chock full of: pens, papers, notecards, stationary, postcards, pencils, paper clips etc. I purged so much that there are now only three boxes, and each is NOT stuffed to the brim. Felt *SO* good. Such relief. With each item into the toss pile, I kept thinking 'why did I keep this for so long? why did I think this was so precious?' And so on and so forth.

There were boxes stored under the table that I had to move before actually moving the table. Can I tell you how much my back hurts now? I glanced in a few of the boxes. Some have books that I want to see on my shelves again. Books that make me happy. Some had old school papers that I need to purge. I did a purge of them a few years ago, but I still have two full boxes and that's too many considering how long I've been out of school (going on ten years now).

Here's the interesting part. In a couple of boxes were large paperback graphic novels. It'll age me, but I'll tell you some of the names. ElfQuest, Dazzler the Movie, X-Men, New Mutants, She-Hulk. Some of them made me want to take a break and read them, but the bulk of them? I just got this awful feeling inside that spoke to me and it said "How long do I have to tend these things? When can I give them up?" That's when I left the room and went to check ebay prices. Yup, they'll go for enough to make it worth while. Ebay pile is getting bigger and me with no digital camera.:-)

Big Plans

I am quite thrown by my digital camera's demise. One of the reasons I did this journey as a blog was to share before, during and after pictures. How can I do that without a camera? Of course, I do have a film camera, but no scanner, and the immediacy is lost.

But, you will be proud of me. I'm not going to let it stop me.

Today, I have big plans. Unfortunately, I need more bins. Laugh if you will (I can hear you, really I can), but I do. I need to clear our all the stuff in the big one's room and in the basement. I've made a radical decision: I'm going to move all the junk to the garage and make it a staging area for sorting. I just have this feeling that things will get better for me emotionally if the stuff is out of the house, even if it isn't dealt with yet. I'll update you and we'll see if I'm right or delusional.

* * *

This morning, I took care of a task I'd been putting off. Our dining room table has chairs on one side, and a bench with storage cubbies under it on the other side. Those cubbies had become, shall we say, full? One bin had old phone books (easy to fix, as the new books came just the other day. Now they have a home.). The middle bin was my stash & dash bin. Newspaper clippings, crossword puzzles, whole newspapers, you get the idea. It's all cleared out. I have a small stack of papers to be filed (tax receipts and the like) and a small stack to keep (articles on places I'd like to go, recipes etc). I was ruthless about that last category. Am I going to make Irish Stew with twenty ingredients? No! So, out it goes.

Friday, August 04, 2006

No New Pictures for a While only three months old digital camera is broken. It just suddenly malfunctioned and will be on its way back to Canon tomorrow. Up until it broke, I had been really happy with it.

Very Frustrated.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Other People's Junk is Easier

Today I helped my friend C clear out some stuff. Man, was it fun! Toss this, donate that, do you really want to save that? She was a good sport about it, and I think she had about six bags to donate and two bags of trash at the end. Turn around is fair play, so she'll get her chance to go at my junk.

I am afraid. Very very afraid.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Flylady was Right (Again!)

The Flylady is a familiar figure to those of us on the Internet interested in: housekeeping, cooking, home organization, clutter control, etc. She's a very sensible person who shares her life lessons with thousands of people.

Well, she has lots of bits of advice, one of which is to give your bathroom a 'swish and a swipe' every day. I don't do that. But, I did have a habit of cleaning the bathroom once a week. It took about 15 minutes, and the bathroom sparkled. My technique is below, for those interested.

Now, it's been over a month since I last cleaned the bathroom. Why? Well, I've been frustrated with the house in general and with myself as well. Frustrated with the dear husband. Sick and tired of all the clutter and junk. So, I didn't do it. The ironic thing is...that bit of cleaning took so little time and made such a difference.

I cleaned the bathroom this evening. It took easily twice as long as it used to, because of the built up grime and gunk.

So, lesson? Trust the Flylady.

(My Bathroom mMethod, adapted from the Flylady: Windex the mirrors, paper towel off, use that towel to clean the sink and faucet, Swiffer the floor-remove stepstool, potty, etc. first, wipe down tub, toilet, windowsill, floor. Finish with a fresh rug, fresh bathmat and fresh handtowel. Spray room scent.)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

(many) Bags on Their Way OTD (out the door)!

At last count, it was eleven bags (grocery store brown paper bags) full of items for the thrift store. I also have a couple of boxes of magazines, which means I'll take everything to St. Vincent de Paul, because they accept magazines. I did as my friends S and C suggested and went through the bins of ebay items to cull them. No, I didn't go through all of them. Just the ones I could get to. The ones I can't get to are boxed into a closet that has junk piled in front of it and thus can't be properly opened.
Here's why I can't get to the rest of those bins right now:

I freed up two bins, pulling out things that had stains or that just weren't worth selling. I haven't listed any items yet. I'll post with glee when that happens.

Feeling fragile again. It's mentally exhausting going through all this stuff. The basement is almost impassible due to the junk. I can barely get through it without hurting myself on something. I'll take some more pictures.

Here're the full bags: