Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's like an episode of Hoarders up in here...

Like the rest of the country, I hit January and get the urge to declutter. Thanks to my time in Africa, I have even more motivation to toss things than usual. I learned that I can quite cheerfully live with 1 week's worth of clothes and almost none of my stuff...but not without books or my family. (although I AM going to make myself go through our books. I haven't decided if I'm going to give them away or try to sell them on half.com - thoughts?)

I'm taking a bit of a break now that my mom is here...but the week before she came I was in a frenzy.

I don't consider myself a hoarder, but after going through my closet and coming up with THIS MUCH STUFF to donate/toss, I'm beginning to wonder. This is what I loaded up to take to our church's clothing exchange donation box. See those 3 big bags on the right? All my stuff. Just a few things of Matt's, in the smaller bags on the left. And the top bag? Shoes. ALL SHOES. Some of which I've had for YEARS. Why have they survived years of periodic decluttering? Because they were formal shoes, so of course they didn't get worn, but you never know when you might need them. So shoes from weddings I was in 10 years ago were still living in my closet. Sigh.

I'm trying to break free from the tyranny of "you never know when you might need..." Some of the decisions I made were a bit painful - if it hasn't been worn in a year, it went, even if I still like it (I've decided clothes can't have sentimental value.) The pain is completely assuaged by this:

I'm so happy with my organized closet, I want to move in there. I actually LOVE being organized. Why did it take me 40 years to learn that YOU CAN'T BE ORGANIZED WHEN YOU HAVE TOO MUCH JUNK. Once I got rid of things, my closet was super easy to organize.

Scarf storage was something that really mystified me. I'd had them hanging around a hanger at the front of my closet, but that was a mess. I searched Pinterest, but it was no help at all (and usually Pinterest is GOLD for any kind of organization ideas.)

I had the brilliant idea to use a wine rack (I was hoping to find one that looked sort of like this, so I could roll up scarves and stick them in the slots). But not being a wine drinker, I had no idea where to find one. After checking Hobby Lobby and Target (my 2 most frequented stores) to no avail, I found them on Amazon. But it wasn't exactly what I was thinking, and I didn't really want to pay $40. So I settled for these boxes, which have worked out just fine. And they are cute.

I just have to make myself roll the scarves up and put them away instead of laying them on my dresser.

I had so much fun organizing my closet, I tackled the kitchen. I really wish I'd thought to take before pictures, but I was almost done before it occurred to me.

But maybe knowing that what I'm getting rid of (this time in a coming-once-the-weather-permits garage sale) filled two boxes, you can use your imagination.

Omelet pan: Used once and made a mess.
Pots and pans: Handed down to me when I moved into an apartment, before I was married. When I married Matt & he had a nicer set, I kept my old ones because????  I'm like a survivor of the depression or something. Believe it or not, I've actually decluttered my kitchen for a garage sale before. I have no idea why I held onto all of these pots and pans.

Oh. And if you're friends with me on facebook, then you recognize the french whisk in the top picture. I had no idea what it was or where I got it, so I posted a picture and got like 40 responses. "It's a whisk." "It's for serving honey." "We had one growing up and called it 'the boingy thing!" Hilarious. Even funnier, when I found out it was a french whisk, suddenly it seemed like something I need to keep. I have actually been using it (for hot chocolate), and I really like it. Not just because it's french. (or maybe still because it's french.)

Once again: After getting rid of everything that I don't use regularly (and things that I have many versions of), the cabinets were super easy to organize.


These pictures make me happy.

And the cabinets have stayed this way for a few weeks now.

I saved the hardest one for last. And I did get a before picture of this one:

Ugh. After receiving WONDERFUL meals every other day for a month after bringing MM home, we were busting at the seams with gladware. I pulled everything out, and got rid of things that were discolored or broken. I put all the lids with their matching containers, and threw out anything that didn't have a top or bottom. I then gathered some of the bigger containers, which we won't use regularly, but which I could use when providing meals for others. I put those in a cabinet in the garage, and now our plastics cabinet looks like THIS:

Ah. Happiness and order. This is the one I'm not sure will stay organized without work on my part - the lids seem to have a life of their own. And I'm not often the dishwasher-unloader. But I'm willing to keep an eye on this cabinet, or at least to live with a little disorder there, as a trade off for having someone else unload the dishwasher. :)

I'm ridiculously happy with all of this organization. The next big project to tackle is going to be my craft area. I am not sure how organized I'll be able to get it, since I've learned that the key to organization is getting rid of stuff. Not sure if I'm willing to apply that to fabric and craft supplies! But my mom is here and she's pledged to help me, so we'll see how it goes!!

Linking up at my friend Amy's Anti-Procrastination Tuesday. Because if ever there was a project that was procrastinated....