Saturday, October 23, 2010

Things Are Just Things (Except When They're Not)

Today I wanted to share a post from a blog I have been following on blogspot, called Stuff No One Told Me (But I Learned Anyway). The blogger is Alex Noriega.

I am struggling this week with some things from my childhood. My parents are moving from Mississippi to Alabama and are attempting to clear out their gigantic house. The plan is to buy something smaller in Alabama once the current house sells. My mother has two rubbermaid trunks of toys and books from my childhood that need to come live with me. She also has a wooden doll cradle that my great aunt made for me. All of these items have a huge amount of sentimental value- we only saved my very favorites. Some of the items are hand made (including quits for the cradle) and the cherished books are probably out of print. My closet here contains my Barbies and American Girl dolls, which were dearly loved and often played with. I know that loving homes could be found for the all of these things, and some could be sold for a profit on Ebay.

The problem is that when I think about getting rid of these items, I can't help but imagine keeping them for my own daughter to love and play with. As I child I really enjoyed finding toys that belonged to my parents and their siblings, and always wished there were more of them around.

The flip side is that I don't actually have a daughter- I may not ever have one. Meanwhile, I have no idea where to store this stuff. Living in Florida means that my un-airconditioned attic is not a good solution. I am working on clearing out my storage spaces, but I'm not sure that I want to fill them back up with things that I don't actually use.

So there's the problem. I know that things are just things, but some things are more special than others.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Put it Somewhere New

So sorry that I have been absent from the blogsphere for a while, but I have two really good excuses.

First, a sweet orange kitten named Leo has joined the family
He requires tons of cuddling and that does not leave much time for blogging. Oscar has been filling in while I'm at work

But the rest of the time I have to attend to my snuggling and petting duties.

The other reason is that I took a quick trip to Roswell, GA to attend a family gathering. On my way home, I stopped off at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. I had never been before, but I really recommend it if you're in the area. Here's a shot of the "Tunnel," where you can walk through the world's largest aquarium:

But, anyway, back to decluttering...

Aside from getting rid of stuff, another important factor in getting your space simple and clutter free is re-considering where things should go. Sometimes the "correct" location for your things is not the obvious location. For example, I started keeping lipstick in my purse, instead of with my other make-up. I just apply in on my way out the door and then I have it with me for touch ups. When I used to attempt to keep my lipstick upstairs in the bathroom, I was constantly looking for it (it was usually in my purse). Now I always know where it is.

The real majic happens when you place things to help with your repeat clutter offenses. My biggest one is the dining room table. It tends to collect whatever was in my hands when I walked through the door. Mail is the worst- I let it pile up for days (even weeks sometimes) until the surface of the table is no longer visible. Unfortunately, in my small townhouse, the dining room table is visible from every part of the downstairs. Even when the rest of the house is clean, the table can create the illusion of extreme disorganization. Also, the occasional important piece of mail can get lost in the mess.

Enter my de-cluttering heroes, Judi and Marj, authors of Scaling Down: Living Large in a Smaller Space, who changed my living room with a simple suggestion: put the paper shredder near the mail pile! Then you can walk in the door with the mail, place the junk directly in the shredder, and deal with the important stuff right then and there!

See the little, unobtrusive paper shredder against the wall? Most importantly, see the clear dining room table in the foreground?

I have to be perfectly honest and tell you that a few days worth of mail still collects on the table, especially things that need to be filed upstairs. The difference is that the table doesn't seem to get quite so covered, and the process of clearing it off (which I do every couple of days now) is much quicker and easier. I am also less likely to take everything upstairs and drop it on my desk like I used to.

Do you have a placement solution that helped you declutter and simplify? If so, I would love to hear it! I would especially love to hear a solution to a cluttered desk! More on that later I guess...
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