Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Those who will, do; those who don't, blog?

It occurs to me that my last post ("Linens"... how embarrassing) could easily be mistaken for satire. Let's face it, I dumped an embarrassment of sheets, etc. on a huge table, folded them, tossed a small portion, and then put them back all over my house(!!!). Oh yes, and then I spent more time writing and uploading pictures about it than I actually spent doing it.
As I sit here feeling foolish, I can't avoid seeing another tower of boxes to my right, an still-overstuffed (or at least disorganized) closet to my left, and knowing that there's far more out of sight.
All of which suggests that it would be far more useful for me to just get rid of clutter than to write about it.
The writing was supposed to be self-motivating. It was, for a while. Time to hush up and bust some clutter...!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Four Weeks: Linens

So what else did I do in my Four Week de-cluttering project, so many, many weeks ago?

Well, I clutter-busted our linens. Not that they're made out of linen, but you know what I mean.

First, I gathered the linens from all over the house: the not-yet-folded laundry hampers; the linen closet; the guest room; our son's room; and two big bins from the basement. This was the shocking part. It turns out that we have a ton of linens.
BEFORE. Two bins from the basement and a table-full from everywhere else.
Second, I folded and sorted it all. The pile looked even bigger at that point but at least I could see what I had to work with.

Third, I purged. 

My first pass generated a very small pile of give-aways. At this point it was abundantly clear that I'm not a minimalist as that term has come to be used in the blogosphere. I will always want more than one set of towels. And why would I give away perfectly good ones?

However, I came back later in the day and purged some more. Taking a break and returning to the task with fresh eyes worked really well.

I was left with a table full of keepers. Between us, our dog, overnight guests, and long, cold winters, we do use a lot.
AFTER. I still have a table-full, but everything on the floor is going!
Garbage (left) and give-aways (right).
In the end, I threw out half a hamper of linens that had seen better days, and I gave away an over-flowing hamper to charity. Win win.

I'm particularly happy to be rid of my husband's massive "Santa Fe-style" comforter. Shudder. I'm told that the community of Santa Fe is lovely. 1980's Santa Fe-style anything is not. Hopefully someone else is loving it anyway!

Finally, I broke out my label-maker and put the keepers away. Check out this linen closet!

The beauty of it is, our linen closet actually still looks like this. The labels work like a charm (i.e. my husband and I both follow them).  

The linen closet only holds towels and toilet paper now. While this may seem like a scandalous waste of space, I love being able to grab the towels I want in a flash, such as when the dog is puking. My husband loves being able to open the closet door without an avalanche. I think that spaciousness is my favourite clutter-busting reward.

Regrettably I don't have a 'before' picture of the linen closet, probably because I couldn't bring myself to record its chaos. 

The table-linens and bed-linens are in a dresser in our dining room now, except for our son's sheets which are in his room.

Two big bins came out of the basement.
One small bin went back.
The only linens that went back into the basement are this little bin of antique linens and fabrics. It's a lot smaller than the two big bins of linens that we used to store down there, now blissfully empty.

I might sell some of those antique linens one day, but I got bogged down when I tried to go through them, so I decided to set them aside and come back another day. 

I've learned to keep moving and stay positive.

p.s. These pictures make our home look deceptively large. It's a 1300 square foot bungalow, which I think is modest but could be spacious depending on your perspective. The dining room is as big as some tiny houses! I like it when we squeeze in the kitchen chairs and host the whole family, and it's a great clutter-sorting spot.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Mamma culpa

Usually my mea culpa's are triggered by the things I didn't do, not the things I did do. Like, say, not blogging. Or not vacuuming. Take your pick.

But yesterday I had to get down on my knees, look deeply into my son's eyes, and 'fess up: I gave away his Mega Bloks.

I've given away many of his toys after he's stopped playing with them, sometimes with his agreement and sometimes after a suitable period in which they have been hidden away without being missed.

Now that I think of it, he had actually agreed to give away the MegaBloks, but neither of us remembered that last night when he wanted to play with them, for the first time in months.

This is one of the few times that I've had to apologize for clutter-busting. Usually my clutter-busting generates a very positive response from all concerned but there have been exceptions:
1. Mega Bloks (see above). My son got over it pretty quickly.
2. Travel mugs. My husband kept bringing these home from golf tournaments. I figured two were enough and gave away the rest. He left one at his dad's and left the other in his car overnight. He was not impressed. He got over it.
3. My mother's teapot, which I broke for her. Seriously. I was trying to help her but I went about it the wrong way. Yes, I regret it.
4. An old bathrobe that I took from my grandmother's closet after she died. When my husband and I were engaged and preparing to move into our home together, I made a brief effort pare down. I asked him to choose between my black satin Victoria's Secret robe and my late grandmother's flowery pink cotton robe. Naturally, he picked the black satin. Of course the black satin stays in the back of the closet and I just wear his cotton-terry robe instead! I still keep the black satin because every year or so I break out the skimpy lingerie and it's nice to have something to cover up in. In the spirit of clutter-busting I guess I could toss the black satin and rock a terry-and-lace look... or not.
5. My Pillsbury Dough Boy cookie jar. I gave it away after much deliberation, and I miss the little fellow. Fortunately I have this sweet image of the Dough Boy and my beautiful son admiring his new monkey.

On a whim I just checked eBay and found dozens of cookie jars just like this. I miss it less already!

What are your clutter-busting regrets?