Monday, March 26, 2012

40 Bags - bags #27-29

I think we can agree that I didn't succeed with the "40 Bags in 40 Days" challenge. I didn't make it to 40 bags in 40 days but I am completely okay with that. The parameters of the challenge were created by someone else, and I'm willing to change it to suit my own needs and my own life. I'll get rid of 40 or 45 or 50 bags in however long it takes me to do it. I've seen some other de-cluttering challenges on the Internet that I thought were intriguing, but for now this is what I'm doing.

I am avoiding the garage where I am probably going to get the last 10-12 bags that I will be permitted to clean out. (Mr. Dub's closet remains off-limits to me. That's okay though.) The garage is dirty. It's overrun with daddy long legs spiders. It has things stored in it that will be more complicated to dispose of. It's a big, sweaty job. Right now in my life I need small, easy, cool jobs that won't take 2 or 3 showers to recover from. Jobs that I can finish quickly and feel productive, successful, and accomplished.

Today I tackled the "spare room" closet. It's not exactly "spare" right now because all the kids are living at home. My Pretty Girl has all her clothes hanging on the rods in the closet. On the floor of the closet are piles of kid stuff which will be sorted and removed from the house as the kids get out on their own. On the shelves, as you can see in the photo above, is a variety of things, some of which is here on purpose, some of which has been shoved/stuffed/crammed here. What I want for these closet shelves right now is storage, but organized and sensible storage.

I took everything on the shelves out of the closet and made a decision about every single item. Have you heard this quote by William Morris? "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." He was an interesting guy, William Morris was, and I would have liked to have had the chance to know him and understand him. Which is quite irrelevant to this topic.

So I decided, item by item, which things were useful or beautiful to me and got rid of the rest. Some items didn't belong in this closet and have been relocated to their proper place, and most of the things that are going out of the house are tired old holiday and home decor items. It's okay to get rid of things because I'm tired of looking at them or my taste/aesthetic has changed. I don't have to keep things just because I made them or because I've had them for a long time. Two bags are going to the trash and a box full of things that are still good is going to the Goodwill.

While I was going through everything I got to see my things again. I have some fun holiday decorations that I really like that I haven't used in years. Know why? Because it was too much of a hassle to climb over and dig out and then sift through the boxes it might be in. It has been so much easier to skip the whole ordeal than to try to find them and put it all out. I think that's sad.

I was reminded today that that is the point of the challenge. To make living in my home fun and enjoyable and peaceful by purging the excess and arranging what's left in a way that makes sense to me and helps me get to it quickly and easily. If decorating my home for a holiday makes me miserable and cross because of what I have to go through just to get the decorations out of the closet, it sort of defeats the purpose! I am a spontaneous person, and when I decide that right now while I'm waiting for something else to happen is the time to set out all the Easter decorations, I won't have time if I first have to unearth them from the closet. So it doesn't happen. For years it doesn't happen. Another thing I've realized while going through things is that sometimes I spend money because I am impulsive. It is a waste of money and space to buy and keep things that I don't love. I am still trying to figure out my relationship with money, spending, and shopping. Some of the things that I'm getting rid of today I bought because I was in a store with friends who were buying things, or it was on sale, or I was in the mood to spend or acquire. I'm trying to figure out why those situations make me temporarily lose my focus. What is it that I really want, anyway?

Here is the after photo:
In the box on the left are Valentine's Day and Easter decorations. In the middle is a box with the Fourth of July and Halloween/Fall/Thanksgiving decorations. Around the corner we have bottles of propane and a one-burner stove (in case of hurricane/emergency) and not in the picture but definitely on the shelf are some reference materials for Church. In my lofty plans, all of this stuff will belong somewhere else in the house when this room becomes a "spare bedroom" once again. Wouldn't it be awesome and amazing if I had an empty closet for guests to use when they stay? For the immediate future it will all stay here.

Here is the other side of this closet which is already organized and didn't need any sorting or rearranging. These things will move to another room when we rearrange bedrooms later this Spring:

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