Out, damned clutter! Out, I say!

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While I suspect Lady Macbeth’s demons were a touch more serious than mine, I’ve lately come to realize how much the clutter in our house has paralyzed and stressed me.

Five weeks away from all my stuff was cleansing, and coming home, I realized a lot of it could go. It’s hard to believe it was only a week ago I was looking out the windows to the sun rising over Lake Huron – it’s fading so quickly.

The time away really helped me get myself together, break out of some ruts and bad habits and work on creating restful, meaningful time and space for myself.  I got a lot of Perspective, which is something of which I am often in dire need.

I have once again accumulated Too Much Stuff. I’m owned by it – it burdens me. Heavily. While this feeling is usually something mostly in the background of my psyche, lately it’s been making me really … mentally itchy.

Coming home from Up North, I had a huge list of tasks and chores I want to get done to improve life in our household.

As I was getting ready to get started yesterday, though, I sat here at my desk and tried to think of where I wanted to begin. I couldn’t. I have 1000 things to do, none of which I’m really looking forward to doing, but which need to get done. Each is of relatively similar import. Where to begin?

It took longer than it should have to decide – I mean, just pick something, right? I have a terrible time choosing among equally appealing (or unappealing) options.

But I started with bringing the laundry up from the basement, which morphed into separating out easily 100 pounds of clothing for the Goodwill. I was fairly ruthless – things I’d worn only once but spent “good money” on, things I’m pretty sure I’ll never fit into again (although I did hold onto a pair of Pipe Dream Jeans, because they’re so stinkin’ cute,) things that were too worn out to wear anywhere.

Some of these were hard decisions – especially stuff I’d only worn once or twice since its purchase. What finally got me, though, was thinking it was only taking up much-needed space here, whereas someone else might put it to good use, someone else surely needs it more than I do. Into the pile everything I hesitated on went.

A good twenty pairs of socks I haven’t worn in forever went in, bras that were cute but uncomfortable or ill-fitting, shirts I “liked the idea of” but couldn’t pull off myself.

Thus far, that pile looks like this:

It seems somehow less impressive there. Hm. Well, trust me – the hamper weighs probably 60 pounds on its own, and that left pile consists mostly of heavy jeans and sweatshirts.

Whereas my closet shelves were jam-packed full of crap I’ll never wear, they are now completely empty! \o/

Next up was my office. When I started, it looked like this (I’m not proud:)

While it’s still far from perfect, I’ve made some progress:

Today’s troublespot: The Craft Room (I’m rather ashamed of its condition)

The Christmas fabric is awaiting ironing so it can be made into reusable Christmas present bags, which I use instead of wrapping paper. The rest is just “I don’t have a spot for this right now, so I’m just going to set it down for the time being.”  Mm-hmm. “The time being” turns into weeks, months or worse.

Even with just one day of decluttering behind me, I feel lighter. I know there’s so much more to go (I don’t even want to think about getting started on the basement,) but taking steps in the right direction is helping me to feel a little bit less crazy.

Thankfully, The Engineir is helpful and awesome and is, as I write, cleaning out the garage in 18-degree temperatures. This will be great, because it means I’ll have a parking spot inside! Woohoo!

His dad is a really good woodworker, and built us some custom drawers for our pantry. I think that really kick-started my Need to Organize. Once I realized how much easier it was to find stuff with it neatly arranged in drawers, I wanted the rest of our house to work that well.

It will surely be awhile before everything else looks that nice, but wow do I love those drawers!

He’s also working on a spice rack for us that will go under the upper cupboards, which will be fantastic – I lose an entire segment of counterspace to my herbs and spices right now, because the bottles are all different shapes and sizes, and don’t fit into commercial racks.

It’s pretty darned handy having an expert woodworkers in the family!

Someday, I might show you The Plaid Room. Maybe. It’s possibly the most embarrassing room the in house (given you’ve seen the craft room, you understand the enormity of that statement.) For now, though, I just keep the door closed and try to pretend it doesn’t exist, except as The Place to Throw Crap I Won’t Need for Awhile. Eek.

Hokay – I’ve put off doing the craft room as much as I can allow. Once more unto the breach, dear friends; once more!


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2 responses to Out, damned clutter! Out, I say!

  1. Your craft room doesn’t look bad! I have yet to find a system to use in my room to keep things out, but pretty. Suggestions?

  2. Erin D.

    I like baskets – wicker, wood, welded wire, et cetera. Some of those you have to be careful with, of course, as they’ll snag delicate fabrics. For smaller objects, like buttons, ribbon, knitting needles, et cetera, I like Mason/Bell jars or other glass containers.

    Decorative shelves are nice, too, for displaying pretty things – I used to have them all over, and am just now in the process of getting them back up again, over two years after we moved in. I hate dusting, though. >.< Fabrics are tricky, because sunlight will fade them pretty quickly - I try to keep them covered completely. Mike is at some point going to build me a closet organizer, which will be a huuuuge help in that department. Another storage "thing" I like are those old-style decorative hat boxes - they're usually large enough to hold a variety of different things, come in different shapes, sizes and designs, and are pretty unto themselves. They hide whatever is in them, though, which can be a good thing, too. 😉

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