Saturday, June 13, 2009

Great Purge of 2009 (Part 3)

I've been occupied over the last several weekends with a huge de-cluttering, de-junking, and organizational project, which I like to refer to as The Great Purge of Ought Nine. In my last post, I discussed the de-cluttering of my kitchen. Today I’ll talk about how I conquered my living room, family room and linen closet.

I will confess it right now. My husband and I are media junkies. We voraciously consume books, DVDs, and CDs. As a result, we are always having storage issues and challenges. We’re pretty good about semi-regularly sifting through our books and taking them to the used book store (Thrifty Joe’s or Bookman’s) for a little extra cash. But if it’s a favorite book, we will keep it and read it again. We’ve also been known to mark up our books for future reference. So, storage was the main problem in both these rooms.

My husband tackled the bookshelves. He reorganized them by genre and then alphabetically. This took more than one weekend for him to accomplish, and frankly, we're still not done, because we have bookcases in every room of the house. While he worked on the books, I attacked the DVD collection. I sorted out the duplicate DVDs (we’d switched to the Blu-ray format and had movies in both formats), pulled out the DVDs we didn’t like which had been gifted to us, and I tried to pare it down to only the movies that we watch repeatedly. This could still use some more refining, but at least for now, they are in alphabetical order and put away.

Not only do we enjoy our media, but we’re also collectors by nature. On the shelves in front of the books were all our knickknacks. I knew they were tacky and that they were less “interior design” and more “junky clutter”, but I liked them. (Does this mean I have white trash, modern mobile home taste? I hope not.) We have a lot of interests, and when people find out what you’re interested in or what you like, that doesn’t help the matter either, because then you get gifted with a bunch of stuff. This was a difficult thing to de-clutter. I ended up coming to a compromise, like I did with the magnets on the fridge, because even if these items aren’t 100% aesthetically pleasing to the average eye, they make us happy.

So instead of getting rid of everything, I tried to pare them down as much as I could, and tried to keep only the items that really were little works of art. I would hold an item in my hand, trying so hard to put it in the “Sell” box. Then I’d hold it up to the husband and ask, “Sell or keep?” He’d think for a minute, then say, “Sell.” Then I’d hold onto it for a few minutes longer and finally, reluctantly, put it in the “Sell” box. Part of the problem was the memories I associated with the items, or the people I associated them with. I had to recognize that memories and friends are still there and don’t change, just because I threw out the physical item connected to them. I also tried to keep reminding myself that it would be less stuff to dust.

Some of these decorative items were easier to part with than others. We’d been given some wall art, decorative plaques, and other things over the years for our wedding and such that were very sweet sentiments, but were never really my style. I only displayed them because of my feelings for the people who gave them to me, not because I particularly liked the item. Most of these things, strangely enough, were pink or had pink accents on them. The last time I was into the color pink, I was probably 8 years old. It’s just not my thing anymore. Not only that, but pink is not even in the color scheme in either one of these rooms.

These two rooms were fairly easy to de-clutter, especially after the huge task of de-cluttering the kitchen. The last area left, before we started on the back end of the house, was the linen closet in the hall. Since it's just the two of us, we don't have a ton of bed linens or towels to store, but this area had become a catch-all for all kinds of other things. We love to play board games, so all our games had found their way to this closet. I also like candles, so all my decorative candle holders, candle refills, etc. were there as well. It really just needed some tiding up and some better organization. I moved the games from the very bottom shelf (where you had to get on your knees to search for a game) to a middle shelf, where it would be easier to access them. I collected up all the little games, dice, packs of cards, etc. and put them in a plastic bin/box so they wouldn't get lost. I removed the games we didn't like and put them in the "Sell" box. I left the candles on the same shelf, but organized them better. Some candleholders that I never use made their way to the "Sell" box as well. (This is going to be one ginormous yard sale by the time I get done!) Lastly, I put seasonal bed linens, such as heavy winter blankets (which we hardly ever use in Arizona) up onto a higher shelf, and moved the every day linens to a more central, middle shelf

Thank heavens our community yard sale is in October. I think this project is going to take me all the way up to that date! If only I didn't have to work during the day, I could spend more time on it. Up next… the guest bedroom and our two bathrooms. Everything in its place, and a place for everything!

P.S. An update, in regards to my kitchen... Since the de-cluttering, I'd hoped the prepping and logistics of cooking would be easier, and would propel me to continue towards my goal of cooking at home, and making more healthy meals. I'm pleased to report that we're almost on WEEK THREE of eating at home (almost every night)! Who knew that de-cluttering could be so life changing?


Laura said...

I'm sure I have given you stuff that ended up in your "sell" box. Don't worry, I know you wouldn't put ME in that box even if I did give you dust collecting junk. :)

My linen closet got reorganized during my spring cleaning this year. I did smart stuff like "move heavy items to lower shelves so you don't drop them on your foot". I r smrt.

Congrats on cooking at home. You'll find it gets easier as you discover which meals you like and want to make over again. Then you just have to stock a bunch of those items and only a few "exotic" ingredients for when you want to try new recipes.

D.L. White said...

Nope. Actually, after de-cluttering, I found an even better place to showcase the sweet little teapot frame you gave me. :) It's one of my favorite things, and it got to stay! (Although, now that you mention it, I've been meaning to tell you about the breadmaker. We'll talk IRL.)

Yep. Cooking from home is certainly changing a lot of things. (I'm waiting for it to start changing the waistline!!!) Grocery shopping is a lot easier, and I'm starting to see patterns between staple ingredients, weekly/fresh ingredients, and multi-purpose ingredients (i.e. using leftovers from one meal as ingredients for another meal). I made broccoli cheese quiche tonight... I think Shawn was a little shocked that I pulled it off. It tasted really good!

Laura said...

Quiche is super easy and one of my all time favorite meals. Love it with a salad for lunch. Mmm... :)

Don't worry about the bread maker, it was in storage with my Gran's stuff. If you can sell it, go ahead. It's good for making those boxed "homemade" breads, but otherwise I just get Bridgeford frozen loaves. Mmm...

I must be hungry. :P