Monday, June 24, 2013

confessions of a clutterer

A month ago I got to reading more about a bunch of different ideas all centered around living better.  Everything from doing more yoga, eating whole, real foods and living a little more frugally.  It all started with all natural insect repellant (that I haven't tried yet).  I found that recipe and from there found another blog and another blog and another blog and so on.  It's been enlightening, to say the least.  Some are a little over the top for me.  A little too focused on religion or too strict or I get that underlying sense of judgement, but lots of bloggers out there are all about doing what you can and they'll help you get to wherever that may be.

The library has also been a great resource.  I've looked into raising chickens, soap making, green cleaning, whole food cooking & canning.  While I do love finding info online I also like having that book in my hand so I can quickly flip through while I'm in the process.  It's not quite the same 'flipping' through my iPad to find what I need.  There's lots of reviews on every book I've looked into and some people love them and some hate them so instead of spending hundreds of dollars on books that end up not being what I want I've been checking them out from the library when I can find them and then today I bought a couple that I really loved.

One of them is Green Clean by Linda Mason Hunter & Mikki Halpin It's a great little guide to cleaning.  Sounds simple enough, and it is, but I think it's fantastic.  The book itself is waterproof & stain resistant which means I can have it nearby while I'm spraying or mopping and not worry about ruining the book.  Inside you'll find a short explanation as to why we should try to use less chemicals and what's really in the brand name cleaning products we use without really thinking about it.

Then, they systematically go room by room with a scheduled check list for daily, weekly & monthly chores.  Here and there they've peppered the book with helpful tidbits on how to clean keep your dishwasher clean, houseplants that will purify your air quality the best, and what you can and can't recycle.

I don't mind cleaning.  In fact, I kind of enjoy it.  It's one of those things that you can immediately see the results.  There's an great feeling of accomplishment when you've gotten your house clean.  The thing that's difficult for me is that no matter how much cleaning I do, it seems like it's neverending.  I know there's always going to be dirty dishes and dirty clothes, but I'm talking about how there's just everything everywhere.  I can't keep up with it.

I guess the step that I missed was the 'getting rid of the clutter' step.

Now, I come from a long line of clutter collectors.  I wouldn't necessarily call us 'hoarders', but it's close.  We're sentimental and we all have collections of stuff.  Ticket stubs, t-shirts, baby toys, figurines, etc.  When Ray and I got married I had a lot of junk.  As the years have gone by I've whittled most of it down.  My parents dropped off crates of baby clothes, school work, yearbooks, toys and blankets a couple of years ago.  At one time they had the intention of buying us each a footlocker and keeping our mementos in there.  Of course, it spread to a few crates in addition to that footlocker.

After making sure my parents didn't care what I did with everything I got rid of most of it and only kept what could fit in the footlocker.  I have my mementos from bar crawling, Vegas trips, ticket stubs and stuff from when Ray and I were dating in a small box about double the size of a shoebox.  I have a book (School Years Memory Keeper) that I got at Costco that I keep a few things from each year of school for Emma and a birthday memory book where her birthday party memories go in.  So not too bad.

Of course, that's not it.  I have a crate of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV, not movie) and I have bookshelves cluttered with not only books, but Twilight junk, figurines and Legos.  So it's not completely under control!

But after reading Green Clean I'm determined to get everything under control.  I'd like to get rid of at least 75% of my clutter.  I feel like if I can do that across the board, linens, kitchen gear, paperwork, toys, clothes, etc. then cleaning will become a much more satisfying chore.

My plan for the next couple of weeks (although I'm hoping it takes only a week *fingers crossed*) is to get our house under control.  If I can get that done then I can focus on getting our meal plans done and get rid of the processed foods and move onto my other projects.....and work on convincing Ray we need to raise a couple of chickens.

All the advice says to start and finish one room - or section - at a time.  Here's my to-do list:
  • Kitchen/Dining Room
    1. My desk
    2. Dining room table & kitchen island
    3. Kitchen cabinets
    4. Refrigerators - inside & top
    5. Kitchen shelves
  • Living Room
    1. Baby's toys
    2. Bookshelves/cabinets
  • Hallway
    1. Linen closet
    2. Bookshelf
    3. Coat closet
  • Master Bedroom
    1. Night stand
    2. 6' Bookshelves
    3. Short bookshelf
    4. Closet
    5. Dresser
  • Master Bathroom
    1. Sink Cabinet
    2. Above the toilet cabinet
    3. Shower
  • Guest Bathroom
    1. Sink Cabinet
    2. Above the toilet cabinet
  • Emma's Room
    1. Closet
    2. Bookshelf
    3. Toy Bins
    4. Dresser
  • Olivia's Room
    1. Bookshelf
    2. Wardrobe
    3. Crib drawer
    4. Changing table
    5. Closet
It sounds like a lot now that I've typed it all up.  Ugh.  Some it's not going to be take too long.  I can probably do both bathrooms & the hallway closets in an hour.  And Emma's room has been de-cluttered so I just have to make sure we haven't gotten out of control there again.  Olivia's closet is going to be somewhat of a nightmare because it's basically full of stuff of mine.  Olivia's room used to be my office and when we cleaned out her room I never got to the closet.  *sigh*

I've taken 'before' pictures and I'll post them as I finish.  It's pretty embarrassing, but I'm going to show you anyway!  I worked on my desk today, but I'll post about that tomorrow since this has turned into a 70 page post already!

Here we go!

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