Monday, July 30, 2007

Clutter Battles - Part 4 - Turning the Tide

I forgot to take a "before" photo.

This past week was a clutter battle blitz. For a variety of reasons, the universe conspired (in a good way) to give me some space and mental capacity to get rid of some of my clutter - primarily in the area of children's clothing. So far, I have gotten 23 grocery bags out the door to new homes. Yes, I really said twenty-three!!! So where did they go? Most of them were "recycled".

* 5 bags to a friend who is having a boy
* 5 bags to a friend who is having a girl
* 5 bags to Goodwill
* 2 bags to a consignment shop (and now I have $61 credit there)
* 1 bag to another consignment shop (where my daughter got two skirts as trade)
* 3 bags paper recycling (2 of them were shredded on our new shredder)
* 2 bags to other friends (one is clothes loaned to my kids, one is clothes we are giving to someone else)

I also got my office painted and my shelving units installed. I have put my already organized bins onto the shelving units and am hoping to move my desk back into my office this week. We have a lot of work still to do but it feels so great to be making progress. It is very freeing!

Another area I am working on at the same time as working on my clutter is my health. One habit that I am finding hard to break is not eating within 2 hours of bedtime. During the week I do ok but on the weekend, especially Sunday nights, I have a hard time. I have heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Does anyone out there have any good ideas for breaking this habit or replacing it with a new, healthy habit? I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Clutter Battles - a note

Today I recieved a complementary 30 minute session with Kathie England, professional organizer. It was a great conversation and I told her all about my progress since I attended her presentation "50 Ways to Leave Your Clutter."

I told her that I had been reading the books she recommended and mentioned Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. I related that this book was perfect for me because we had moved into our house last September and had been wanting a "house blessing / clearing" but hadn't been able to make it happen. The book actually teaches you how to create your own sacred space. Then she told me that she hadn't recommended that book -- she had recommended another book, Clearing your Clutter with Feng Shui by the same author. Looking back to a previous post, I realize I wrote it down correctly but when I ordered it from the library, I ordered the other book instead. I can't help feeling like it is the perfect book at the perfect time for me. I love when that happens!

Clutter Battles and How to Win - Part 3

While this is Part 3 of a 3 part series, this particular post is only semi related to the two previous posts. What I want to share is not something I learned at the "50 ways to leave your clutter" presentation by Katie England. Instead, I wanted to share something I found it on one of my favorite blogs, rebecca's pocket. It is a post that compares permaculture zones with organizing your home. If you are on the A, Assigning an appropriate home, step of organizing, read the below article first!
Cultivating your home: Permaculture zones for getting things done

Friday, July 6, 2007

Clutter Battles and How to Win - Part 2

In my previous post, I wrote about a presentation I attended on personal organizing by Kathie England. She mentioned several books which I would like to share with you. The first is called Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. The idea behind this book had a big impact on me. She told us that sometimes we have a hard time letting go of things. But often, letting go of things makes room in our lives for new things. What was more impactful for me is that she said sometimes we hold on to things because they represent who we used to be. By holding on to those things, we can't move on. But by letting go of those things, we make room in our lives to be someone new. Whoa! I know I have a lot of things that fit into this category and I haven't come to terms with dealing with them because I know they could really shake my life up. I think I have to do some mental preparation.

Another book Kathie mentioned is It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys: The Seven-Step Path to Becoming Truly Organized by Marilyn Paul. I have this book on order from the library and all I can say is the title cracks me up.

Kathie's presentation came at a good time for me. Work on our basement was just about done which meant two things: 1) we could start to organize the basement and 2) we could start to organize the garage. If you are wondering what the garage had to do with the basement, it was the pathway for the workers to the basement. Knowing that it was the garage that was bothering my honey the most, I decided to put my learnings to practice there.

Sometimes a task seems so overwhelming that you don't know where to start. For tackling these tasks, Kathie England suggests starting small. If you spent 10 minutes a day organizing (or doing anything for that matter) at the end of a year you would have spent 60 hours working on it. She actually recommends setting the timer for 10 minutes and then stopping when the timer goes off. Crazy, huh?

The first thing I did, per Kathie's advice, was take "before" photos.

Upper left wall.

Lower left wall

Full left wall.

The first day I grabbed some empty containers and started sorting. I was sorting in very general categories such as tools, metal things to attach other things (nails, screws), adhesive related things (tape, glue, grout), weatherizing, peg board accessories (we had a peg board at the old house but not the new one), painting supplies, etc. The presentation was three weeks ago. That said, I should have spent 210 minutes (or 3.5 hours) working on the garage since then. Truth be told, I would say that I haven't spent quite that much time. I do think I have spent 1.5 hours on my own and another 20 mintues with my honey sorting. He spent 20 more minutes sorting as well. Not too bad considering we went camping for 3 days in the middle. I think we are making really good progress but I have to tell you, we are still sorting! I am thinking that if I post about this process, perhaps I will be more likely to stay with it. I am hoping that this weekend we can finish up the sorting and do some purging. I will definitely keep you posted (pun intended).