what I do

what I do

Monday, February 7, 2011

The big clean out

Like I said yesterday, I have been cleaning out closets and drawers and cupboards trying to make things work more efficiently. I have a fairly small house and very little storage space inside the house. I have a cupboard at one end of our hallway where I store linens and photo albums and another cupboard at the other end of the hallway that I use as an overflow for my business. Other than that, it is kitchen cupboards or bedroom closets. Well, there is an armoire in my living room that has some accessories in it that I rotate...

Hallway closet being used for overflow office storage
The box where I store special cards and things
My small but efficient office
Box from HomeGoods to hold receipts
When the kid's were little, out of necessity I utilized the garage for storage, play space and laundry. There was a time where we actually parked a car inside but those days are long gone. Now we have extra furniture to store (kids in transition) and a nice treadmill. Even though the garage is attached to the house, storing things in there is not same as having things inside the house where it is easier to access. But I am still grateful to have it.

Garage cupboards. Project on top is our future TV stand - waiting until we have the TV!
I use the garage cupboards for extra storage for my business (paint decks, wood, tile and molding samples...) and also household items like gift wrap, books and dvds. It is not ideal but it is right outside my office so it does work.

Garage cupboard
The big clean out started because I wanted to move all the things from my daughter's wedding last summer into the house. After the wedding I had everything neatly packed in boxes but I wanted to have it accessible since I will be using it for some upcoming weddings I am helping with. There was too much to fit inside the garage cupboards and I wanted it all in one place so that I can easily show clients what I have. When my daughter moved out, we were left with an empty room. That room was originally our master bedroom and it has two closets so it has ample storage capacity. It is currently being used as an extra office for my husband so the closet was just being used for extra household storage (i.e. "stuff").

Part of the wedding stuff moved inside to one of the spare room closets
I didn't think I had that much in the spare closets ... just a few frames and things I thought, but when I started taking everything out I was surprised to find SO MUCH STUFF. How do these things accumulate so fast? Personally, I think they have to multiply in storage. I found 50 unused frames at least. It was shocking at first and then I remembered, oh yeah, I used to have a large display of framed photos on the piano and I took them down because I wanted a cleaner look. And there was that photo wall with the 16 frames all in neat rows that I took down when I re-painted the family room and never got around to doing anything with the walls yet. But still.

Extra frames condensed into one cupboard!
My married daughter was gracious to come over and she took a lot of the frames and other things that I needed to let go of and that felt good because I know they will be put to good use and it is nice to help her out. The rest of the frames I was able to store in another garage cupboard after moving other things around. 

There is still a lot of refining that I 'could' do. But it is better. Staying organized is such a process. It requires a constant purging. And for me, a constant shuffling as my needs change. I am happy with the result of this latest purge and even happier that I did not spend any money on storage boxes or containers; I just used what I had. It is to my standards, perfect? Not by any means. But it is neat, and uncluttered and I know where everything is. That is what is important. Am I finished? No! (I still have to go through the tool cabinet - yikes!) But I am happy that ... I was able to go through the photos and get them semi-organized. To do it the way I want (all in order and ideally in books) it will take a lot more time than I have right now. In the meantime, they are neatly contained with temporary labels:

My husband has his own 'space' for just his things:

The children's books that I can not part with and the DVDs that have no room inside are easy to see:

My laundry 'room' although not perfect is neat and clean and functional:

Laundry bins are empty because the laundry is piled out of the camera's view!
My dream? To have just what I need and nothing more. I am not there. It will take a lot more purging and letting go.  So what is my best advice? 1. Start today and just get rid of fifty things! 2. Stop bringing more stuff into the house. 3. For every one thing you do bring in, take one thing out!!! 4. Need help? Call me! 


Robbie said...

What a worthy goal to have only what you need. Will be calling you soon for HELP to achieve that goal.

Mary Ann Pickett said...

Ahem...I know that trick of moving the laundry out of the camera's view! You are a very organized lady!
Mary Ann

Carole Poirot said...

Wow! It all looks very organised, tidy and de-cluttered to me. Well done ;-) Have a lovely week. xo

paula said...

looks fabulous! kind of jealous of all your storage space, wow.

Prizler Photography said...

Get rid of fifty things??? Humm, let's see...
Can that include people?

Unknown said...

It can include people as long as I am not one of them! ;.)

annie@mostlovelythings said...

I agree with...for every one thing you bring in, take one thing out. Having a basement for so many years spoiled me, but lately I have been organizing like crazy...not sure if it would meet your standards?!!

Unknown said...

Just looking at what you have already done with your house and the way that you entertain, Annie, I would think that anything you do would be wonderful! ;) A basement ... I can't even imagine the possibilities with that!