Thursday, February 21, 2013

Start small

Well THANK YOU for all the comments on my mouse post. :) I’m serious, it helps that I’m not the only one who has dealt with it. I mean, I knew we weren’t the only ones, but it helps to hear that I’m not the only person who was completely overwhelmed with the situation and the messes they left behind.

I’m about a third of the way through the storage room clean up so far but I’m at least through the worst of it (I think), so that’s encouraging.

So speaking of conquering messes, you know how you look around some days and all the sudden it feels like NOTHING is organized, everything is out of it’s place, things are overflowing everywhere? OK, maybe it’s just my house. ;)

Well it feels like that around here lately, and without fail it happens when life is crazy – we’ve had so much going on over the past few weeks that I feel like I’m playing catch up in the house.

I mentioned last month I’m determined to get the house better organized this year, one little project at a time. The thing is, I feel like we’re thisclose to truly having a place for everything (OK, well that’s just crazy – most everything) in this house. The new basement cubbies are a HUGE step in that direction. But I have storage projects to finish up in the basement bathroom, the laundry room, the dining/library – and of course the storage room. It’s like I can’t get one spot just right until I get another one just right, you know?

So it gets overwhelming – I’m only one person and can only tackle so many projects and decrapify so much in one day. :) The other day I walked by a spot in our family room for the 50th time that week and decided I just needed to start somewhere. It was just a little mess but at least it was something!

I told you about my slight magazine/catalog obsession here – and I’ve been much better about them since! MUCH. Well, you may not think so after this photo, but really, I have:

ugh

We have a little Target basket on the subwoofer in the family room (an effort to hide it a bit) for magazines. Well, we started adding more than magazines – like school papers, books, random mail and of course, a treasure box. Why not?

So I went after it. I tackle big messes the same way every time. Sit on the floor and make piles. I’m a piler, but sometimes that’s a good thing. ;)

I started sorting them out – there was a TON of stuff in there (and spilling out the sides), but keep in mind it had built up for the past six months or so:

organizing the clutter

Lego books went to the basement, the Bub’s books and workbooks went upstairs, the trash went to recycling, shred stuff to the shredder, and my small “keep” pile too. Believe it or not, I hadn’t read some of the magazines in there. ;)

And of course, there’s that I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-you pile. I hate that pile. But I always make one just so I can get through it all quick. I address that one after the rest is put away.

What’s funny is it took no time at all – maybe 30 minutes or so? Now the only things in the magazine basket are -- get ready for this…magazines!:

magazine basket

OK, and catalogs. I can’t quit them.

Isn’t that a beautiful sight? So clean and decluttered and you can almost see the bottom!

It was just a little spot, but getting it in order cleared up my mind a LOT:

magazine basket

Paper and magazines and mail and booklets and manuals continue to be my biggest clutter issue. I’m making progress, slow but sure. What’s your’s?

Now, you’ll find me in the basement for the next few hours. I power on!!

36 comments:

  1. Good for you! We are dealing with this very same thing ourselves!! Now if only I could find a really cool, big basket for really inexpensive.... something to put the blankets/throws in. I love a couple from PB but they are out of our budget. Any suggestions? HAve a great day!

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  2. YAY you! I, too, am a catalog/magazine junkie. I have a basket at the end of my family room sofa, under the end table, where I stash them. Then, on the rare occasion that I sit and watch TV, I leaf through them, cut out what I want as inspiration and throw the rest out. It only happens once a month, but it seems to work. The things I clip out I paste into my inspiration books, which are 8 1/2 X 11" hardbound artist sketch books. I now have 5, which reside in the bedside table. (If you ever want to know who I REALLY am, look in there and you will know LOL!) Anyway, I am taking the "one small step" journey with you to get organized and declutter. Thanks for your posts! It's so great to know I'm not the only one who feels over-run with "stuff". Have a great day!

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  3. I am having just that feeling today....there is messes everywhere in this house.....so overwhelming! Thanks for a little inspiration!

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  4. Good job! I Always feel better when I do jobs like this!

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  5. I have been tackling closets lately, and have made serious progress on my master closet. It makes me sooo happy and so much less stressed to have things organized! But that pesky pile of stuff that doesn't have a "home" makes me crazy too! Baby steps, right?

    http://evolutionofstyleblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/master-closet-progress-and-plans.html

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  6. between having stuff in 2 houses on 2 continents 4,000 miles away we have piles everywhere. we are trying to ready one house for sale and one house to move into. some stuff we don't need or have room for in the house we are selling bubt will want it in the new house. its not like they are close and i can just run them over to the new house! Oh yeah, and i am still painting rooms in the house for sale... those small victories are the best sometimes!

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  7. I'm an English teacher, so paper seems to follow me wherever I go and perpetually pile up in my house. Whether it's bills, books, catalogs, coupons, or whatever. I've made my dining table my "landing strip" and I have a wicker hanging wall basket in my kitchen which is where the bills go. I clean it out monthly and do my shredding, and I've become ruthless about the little coupon books and catalogs that tend to pile up. I really need to start recycling again (a big issue in our area...with no recycling center!).

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  8. Those little things help us feel alot better! I try and do this once a month, but I have such a hard time throwing magazines away, I end up giving them to family members that don't have subscriptions. The best part is when you find something you though was lost! Thanks for the inspiration as usual!

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  9. As far as manuals go, I am making an effort to find it on the internet, download it to the computer (if possible) and save it there. It is so much less clutter to keep them in electronic form and they can be "zoomed in" for easier reading! I have been slowly going through the paper manuals and doing this. Give it a try! I am down to two magazines and it is freeing, I tell you. Don't miss them!

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  10. I am such a piler. It is a disease. For which there is no cure.

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  11. Confession -- I have magazines stored everywhere...and by everywhere I mean, the family room entertainment cabinet, my office, the guest room dresser, and yes, I even have some in the kitchen cabinets. I need an intervention. Lately, I have been forcing myself to reduce my collection. They are all design magazines and to me they are timeless. And so like you, I power on! Thanks for the great post.

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  12. Gosh, I love that feeling of getting something organized and tidy and DONE. A little task like that can make me feel so powerful. (: i tackle those things as I see them - today it was Hubby's dresser. I noticed the drawers weren't closing all the way when I was putting up a mountain of laundry, so I did a mini organize of that. Clean smelling clothes that are neatly put away...makes me smile.

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  13. Sometimes I think if I were to just stop with the endless projects and changing of decor, then I'd be better about managing the day to day general things. Seems like I just got the house to the way I wanted it, deep rich fall colors, dark woods, etc, and then I've started changing it and forcing in the trendy grays and and blues. I'm starting to think it's an addition in the way that shopping is. Sort of "If I could just get all these things updated, then I'll be happy." But because I can't pay for a contractor to come in and just do it for me quicker, I have to do all the changes myself, and it takes forever. By the time I should be done, the styles have changed and I want something different. I feel like I'm in a vicious circle, and it never ends.

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  14. I have a magazine hoarding problem too.. ughh.. I try to go through them every once in a while. I pitch them before I can even think about keeping them another month longer! ha!

    Kayla
    www.lovelucygirl.com

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  15. I know that same overwhelmed feeling so well!! And their knowing where to start because every mess feels interconnected - glad to know I'm not the only one!! I too find if I just make one small start it's not so bad to tackle more. I'm in the midst of tacking a corner that has not Si affectionately been called my pile of crap for the last year and a half. It's currently in sorted piles all over the floor - thanks for inspiring me to finish putting all those piles away aven if I don't have perfect places for all of them!! Good luck with the rest of your decrapifiction!

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  16. FlyLady calls those "Hot Spots". My worst one is next to my purse. I leave it on the kitchen counter, and it seems like all the papers and coupons and what-not just pile up next to it and then start taking over the countertop. I always feel better after I sift through it and get it cleaned up.

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  17. I love this post and we all go thru the same thing and feel the same way at times. I loved it and all your solutions.. WONDERFUL blog and beautiful how you word things.. Blessings, Sherry @ The Rusty Pearl

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  18. You're doing a great job. Just take it one space at a time. What I do to keep my magazine addiction from overtaking everything is I tear out the pages I absolutely love and put them in idea binders. I do it the minute I finish reading it and then put the rest of the mag in the recycling bin. Works for me.

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  19. First of all I have to say that I am in love with your term "decrapify" and am definitely stealing it! It seems like mail and paperwork are the big clutter in my house too. I've bought countless containers/files to organize, but I think the real issue is just using all those tools properly. Your story has motivated me to work on mine!

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  20. I have been reading your blog (LOVE IT) for sometime!! Just a thought, how about making a list of your favorite catalogs and instead of receiving the physical catalog, you can browse online. If that is too cold turkey, maybe keep your top 5 in catalog form and the rest online?

    Believe me, I need to organize like crazy so there is no judgement here!

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  21. OMG. This is totally my issue too. Piles develop at the end of my kitchen table (the end where we don't eat) and then on my mantle/bookshelf thingy that I have no idea how to decorate, so it just ends up with junk to go upstairs, books, canning jars to go down stairs, wine to be racked and so on.

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  22. Good luck! I have a HUGE problem with magazines in my house -- I never seem to be able to get rid of them! There's always something I want to save. But now that I have a Kindle Fire, I hope to subsribe to the digital versions of the magazines I like instead of the paper versions -- then I can save them on my Kindle without any clutter!

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  23. What is it with the paper??? I am super organized (to a fault...my hubby will tell ya that if he sets the newspaper down for more than a minute, it has already been scooped up and put either in the bin in the family room or in the recycling bin, LOL). But, it seems it multiplies the minute I turn my back. I swear there must be a relation to rabbits!!! I unsubscribed from most magazines and catalogs, but it still keeps coming. I am trying really hard this year to toss, shred or put in its place the minute it comes in the door.

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  24. Ok - now I'm scared.... can you see into my house!?! Yes, I am also de-cluttering AND I have a mouse problem. The mouse problem presented itself the night before your latest post about the mouse story!!! NOW, today, I am in the process of tackling messes... I say mess(es) because, I can't focus. I currently have the "clothes that don't fit any of the four kids" mess, the kiddo-craft room mess, the "sort the legos" mess and of course the "Shoe closet (room - blessing and curse)" mess!!! UGH, but like you said, one affects the other! Good luck with your projects!

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  25. You made a great start! From experience I know how hard it is to weed out magazines, catalogs etc. - I love them! But I am forced to do it since I am a full time RVer and live in a small space. Enjoy your blog!

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  26. I turned a shoe rack into a magazine rack for my upstairs sala (living room; sala is what we call that here in the Philippines), and every two months I put on it the magazines for the current two months. For example, January and February issues are on the "magazine rack" now.

    However, any magazine that is going to turn 5 years old this year is immediately looked through, and all the good stuff is ripped out and placed in appropriately file folders marked "window treatments," "tablescape ideas," sewing projects for the kitchen," etc. Anything that I want to keep is kept and filed and the rest of the 5 year old magazine's thrown away.

    And I buy no more magazines. I made a vow that I would stop. I glean sufficient ideas on the Web from sites like your own and a bazillion others who feed my eyes with creative pursuits and inspiration.

    Happy cleaning! I've been doing the same!
    Kelley~

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  27. You should use the chalk label on the front to keep tally the number of days/weeks you go keeping it clean. I bet that would motivate you more to keep it that way than labeling it what you'd like to store in there. Oh and keep in mind that you can always take your newspapers to GoodWill - they love them for wrapping breakables & it gives me a reason to pop in there. Good job Sarah! ~ Dee

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  28. Why in the world do we have these little "piles" pop up all over the house. I seem to have them in almost every room, ugh!

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  29. Oh my goodness, magazines/catalogues...I suffer as well. I call them one of my 'dirty little secrets', as I had them stashed everywhere! I blogged about how I got to the bottom of my problem here:
    https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=4148465244192903985#editor/target=post;postID=6845269691885557538
    You are such an inspiration Sarah. Keep up the great work!

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  30. We have basket on a table in our mudroom that ends up overflowing onto the table and the seat in the bay window next to it. Piles and piles and piles. Kid's homework and art projects, magazines, junk mail, good mail, random toys and crap. I try to keep up on it, but it inevitably ends up a big old mess. And like you it probably only takes 20-30 minutes to go through it all. I don't know why we can't keep up with it as it comes in!

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  31. Good for you! That spot looks so much better. I had to laugh when you said you had a basket on the subwoofer. I've done that on top of speakers and my husband hates it. He says his speakers are not end tables. Glad that I'm not the only one to think they are. I mean they are huge and take up space, we should be able to pretty them up a bit with a basket here and there, right? :)

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  32. My biggest problem with organization is figuring out where to store project supplies. Some things I work on in the (unfinished) basement. Some upstairs in the office/sewing room. Some on the main floor living room. No matter where I store things, I'm running up & down stairs to get supplies. And no, I can't dedicate one space for all projects. arg!

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  33. One small step at a time...we are waaaay too hard on ourselves. I too hate the don't-know-what-to-do-with-it pile so it gets moved to the basement. All in good time. I keep telling myself that I will be organized when my son is out of the house and on his own, he's only 10 and only young once. There are much more important things to focus on. But this rational doesn't help my anxiety.....

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  35. I love the feeling of being organized. I find I don't really get magazine very much anymore (thanks to Pinterest) and if I see something in a catalog I like, I pull it up on-line and Pin it. Then I don't have to keep the catalog, it goes straight to recycling!

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  36. I do this to organize my manuals and receipts that go with them. It has been amazing!! If I need something or instructions to something just go right to the right book.

    Would work good for the Bub's lego books too! :) You could even cut off the front of the box showing the completed project and file it all together.

    http://thefrugalhomemaker.com/2012/10/05/how-to-organize-user-manuals-and-receipts-day-5-of-31-days-of-pinterest-pinned-to-done/

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