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When do you know it’s time to clear the clutter? When it really bugs you, that’s when. It sits there and breeds, and before you know it, the clutter takes over the space. You don’t have room for yourself and your thoughts. In a work space, it’s stifling. In a living space, it’s exhausting.
Where did it all come from? It followed you in, settled wherever you put it, and along came other stuff and joined it till there’s now a clutter community. Maybe there was no clear-cut “right place” for it so it just plopped down. And maybe it’s in the right place with too many relatives, such as in the file cabinet or dresser drawer.
Whatever, it’s time to get real and clear it out, no matter why it’s there now.
I might need it someday.
This is a class of clutter nobody saw till I opened my cabinets in the kitchen. Then, stuffed up, down, and sideways, hundreds of plastic containers and glass jars appeared. I could hardly get to the useful things I bought outright for all this stuff.
It only took an hour, a box, and a couple of garbage bags to get cleared out. The bag for trash took the lids, the bag for plastic recycles took most of the containers, and the box took the jars. I saved one half-shelf worth of jars to mix wool dyes in, and about five containers to put cooking grease in to throw out, and the rest went to the transfer station.
Instantly there was visibility for finding my measuring cups, dishes, and cutting boards!
It could still fit. What if I lose weight?
When I quit smoking I wore all one size. That size is all gone from the house, but its range of successors remained. So I scooped up some nicer clothes that would never fit again and got started with a consignment shop in a good, lively town. I also got into the silk scarves, costume jewelry and shoes left over from gifts and shopping sprees, and took some of that down too.
Imagine my surprise when I went back next month with another load and was given a check for $70! Off to the yarn store I went, I will admit, but what I got there takes a lot less space than what I gave up. Over the next few months, I would take seasonal castoffs to the shop and collect whatever they had for me from the previous loads.
It was a nice little system. Sadly, my appointments in that town dwindled away and with it, the business with that consignment shop. When you pick one, look for a busy town where people want what you’re trying to consign and have some money. Sounds obvious, but really look these places over. If it’s July and there are plenty of wool blazers to choose from, likely it’s not the best place to consign.
I saved it for my daughter, who doesn’t want it.
Browsing through Craigslist about 7 years ago, looking for floor looms, I found a wonderful loom, just what I wanted, for only $500. And we have a pickup truck so no problem getting it home. It belonged to a lady who had tried weaving but didn’t have the time for it. She saved it for her daughter, who had seemed interested at one point, but the interest waned.
A 45″ floor loom, even one that folds in a little, takes up about the space of a spinet piano just sitting around. Nobody really has that kind of space for an unused item so she sold it to me. With all the bells, whistles, accessories and even the manual. None of which really has a place. So now the stuff, not clutter, is mine, but I have it situated so it doesn’t really bother. The loom now has a job and everyone is happy.
Something to remember them by.
My project will be to find places to unload the fancy linens and silver that my grandfather decided I needed to have. When he transferred these things to me I had a dinette set, period. Wait–that’s still the case. So they have to go.
Likewise the accumulated regalia of my father’s career. For some reason, I became the person to get all his decade anniversary awards from the University. I have a Tote full of his Scottish piping costume (yes, the whole nine yards) and some bizarre little souvenirs from around the world. And a copy of my uncle’s dissertation. (But I have a cousin who might want that.)
I’m keeping the ancient goddess who’s probably from Central America. She doesn’t take up much space.
Another project awaiting me is the roundup of essential paperwork and indexing same so that when I die, whoever cares can find the stuff. At that point I will move our shredder into the office room and shred everything that doesn’t make that list, or need to be kept for taxes. Then the broken-down file cabinet can go to–well, probably the transfer station. Maybe someone will want it.
Which reminds me, it’s almost time for the quarterly shredathon, when the paid bills get ground up to safeguard account numbers. I am slowly killing that shredder. My next one will be office-grade and tough. When I’m done with that, it can be sold on Craigslist.
Clear the clutter in the craft areas.
Soon I need to clear clutter in the wool room and the weaving/sewing studio. (My husband has needed to clear up his workbenches for years and has, like me, valiantly resisted.) I have more stuff than I need there. More containers than stuff to put in them, so the containers must go. Project patterns need to be put away. Ditto magazines. I could better organize the Dawn bottles saved for dyeing and get them put away. And there’s a cabinet of supplies that cries out to be gone through.
The toughest place is the wool room. All the space is taken with wool and yarn and the equipment needed to make it. Even the floor is full. I will have to be ruthless about the cute stuff, perhaps hang it all on the wall somehow, since wall space is all that’s left. Clutter in there isn’t clutter, mostly, it’s inventory. But the little accessories not directly related to work will have to go. Wish me luck!
Where do you have a clutter challenge?