Monday, February 9, 2009

Cleaning up my act

This weekend, I put together a four-shelf storage unit in my basement to store extra toilet paper, my canning supplies and bits of my greenhouse with room to spare. After I put all the items on their shelves and was happily grateful for more space to put my extra supplies, I started wondering about packing it all up and moving it. Then I had a different picture of all my stuff--a big chore to take care of.

I have talked about decluttering and owning fewer things. However, action on this good idea is another beast all together. I had an interesting realization at my first estate sale. To learn the layout of the city I purchased a house, I often visited garage sales that first year, and thought I would try an estate sale when I saw the ad in the newspaper. Just the sheer amount of stuff that the family was trying to sell was overwhelming. One woman told me that her mother (grandmother?) had 21 more boxes of Christmas stuff in the basement. Yes, they were having an estate sale without all the estate out--and the house had a large assortment of items. Two years later, the house is still for sale.

One thing I do not want to leave to my heirs is sorting through all my crap. Despite this desire, I still have a lot of stuff cluttering my house to sort through. If I do not do it, who will? I need to get serious about choosing what stays and what goes from my home. I have bought many things, usually with a purpose, but have not removed items from the home the new items displace or I just no longer use.

The first step is make a plan of attack. Each weekend, I will sort through the stuff in or on one item in one room. For example, the papers stuffed in the drawers of the commode in my living room or the books on my homemade bookshelf. Taking on an entire room is too much and I would likely lose focus before the project is done. Since I spend much of my time in my living room, this is an ideal place to start. The less stuff in that room, the more relaxed I will feel. To keep me honest, I will report on my progress and hopefully, making real inroads into the overwhelming clutter I have.

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