Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Project: Clearing out the Clutter

Have you ever had nightmares about being in a confined space, or a weight pressing down on you? This is how I feel about clutter. It's hard for me to sleep in a room full of clutter, and I've had nightmares about the day I will have to clean out the rooms full of papers, nick-nacks, clothes, gadgets, appliances and junk from my parents' house. Sometimes I wonder if firemen or paramedics would be able to help my parents in an emergency amidst the clutter.

I don't buy the argument that people who never get rid of anything are thrifty. When you can't find something, you run out and get a new one. Or spend an hour looking for it.

Over the holidays, I've been de-cluttering my house. Boxes of stuff went to Goodwill, bags of papers went to the shredder, cupboards were organized, and junk got tossed.

Getting rid of things I didn't need or enjoy was key, otherwise, I'd have wasted my time shuffling things from pile to pile and room to room and cramming things into closets and drawers. There's still more to do, but I'm seeing the benefits from what I've done: I'm more relaxed in my house and I'm more organized, which saves time. I don't spend as much time looking for things, and I'm less likely to buy something I already have.

Even though my house is only 800 square feet (74 square meters), I have plenty of room to work out and fix meals. The last owners, a husband and wife, moved to have more room for their stuff. A mutual friend said the husband ended up regretting selling this house, which had been his grandparents' home. Time was when parents raised their kids in houses this size (many still do). No doubt, it had something to do with young adults wasting no time moving out, and the rarity of 30-year-old offspring moving back in.

A few ideas I've used to organize the stuff I kept:
Unconventional places for storage. Towels and hot rollers don't have to go in the bathroom.
By keeping the fridge cleaned out, I don't have to run out and buy more food storage containers. 

Beautiful containers where they'll be seen. This is where I store things to take to Goodwill.

De-clutter the counters, and there's no need for a big kitchen. Ever wonder how chefs make enough food in a single car for a train full of people ? They must be organized.

My research and writing center...

...which is also my dog's gym.

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