Saturday, March 31, 2007

Starting off with a Bang

This is a long post but I had to start somewhere....

For almost 5 months now, I've been slowly starting to crawl out from under the clutter in my home.

Where it all began...

Over the past few months, I've been giving this some thought. At first I thought my problems began when I was diagnosed with cancer in December 2003. I was so sick from chemo and numerous surgeries that my home slid into disastrous decline. I think what made it the worst was the fact that I had two small children at the time (4 and 6 years) and my hubby worked almost non-stop. Who was left to clear the clutter? It wasn't me since I was bed-ridden most of the time. I needed help just going to the bathroom sometimes.

I think that's the point when I realized the extent of the problem. But, really, the clutter had been building up since about 1997. I was a workaholic and a non-stop person. I rarely spent time at home unless I absolutely had to. I was a firm believer that life was to be "lived" and you couldn't do so spending time at home. I'm also a people-person and HATED housework.

Where I am now...

So, after deciding in November 2006 that change was in order, I decided to correct 10 years worth of "stuff". Now, don't get me wrong--my home was "clean". I did the daily stuff around the house but I had never thrown out of the "big stuff" (e.g. old printers, children's outgrown clothes, etc.". Part of the problem was that for the longest time I was too weak to carry stuff and would suffer the consequences afterwards if I lifted anything heavy.

So, to date, I've thrown out between 20 and 30 garbage bags of stuff. Most were old clothes that I've since passed on to others. When I was sick, anyone who helped me "tidy" would put stuff into garbage bags (rather than throw out stuff) and shove the bags into the basement "out of sight".

I'm now at the point where I would glady have people over to visit. I've done the following:

My Kitchen

  • Cleared out all my kitchen cupboards (approx. 5 large cupboards) and given away all my old appliances, dishes, etc.
  • Cleared out the space under the sink and organized my cleaning supplies, dishtowels, etc.
  • Organized my recipes into a three-ring binder
  • Cleared the top of my fridge, cleaned the inside
  • Cleared all the stuff off my kitchen table and kept the necessities
  • Cleaned the baseboards around the kitchen

My Living Room

  • Washed and ironed the curtains and added some sheers
  • Threw out old VHS tapes/CDs and organized the remaining ones
  • Removed any clutter that didn't belong in the living room
  • Bought a wooden table with cubbie holes for shoes for the front door
  • Cleared all clutter from tables
  • Cleaned the baseboards in the living room

My Bathroom

  • Cleared the shelf of all unused bathroom supplies and regularly tidy this

My Bedroom

  • Removed an old broken dresser and bought a new one
  • Cleared out the bedroom closet and reorganized it so a lot of the clutter in the bedroom now has a proper home
  • Gave away tons of clothes that no longer fit
  • Cleaned fingerprints, kids' drawings off walls
Kid's Room
  • Removed 5 garbage bags of toys for recycling/garbage
  • Cleared their closet that contained lots of my overflow stuff
  • Reorganized stuff that now belongs in the closet
  • Painted their bedroom (this is a huge one since I haven't enough energy do so do for years)
Those are the major areas in my home. Now, guess where all the stuff that didn't find a home ended up. Yup, in my basement along with the other stuff that was already there.

Here are my photos of the work still left to be done.

My basement is divided into two halves separated by the stairs:

The lovely view as you walk down the stairs to the basement. Now let's turn to the left:

Did I mention that I like to knit and crochet. Those are bins of yarn, etc. Let's turn around a little and view my laundry area:

It really makes you want to do a load of laundry, doesn't it. How about now?

And now for the other half of the basement:

Did I mention that my hubby's a musician. That's sheet music, my friends, all loose and unorganized. He just had to have an organ in the basement but ask how often he uses it. Wonder why?

There's also a bathroom in the basement and, strangely enough, it's a showplace as I fixed it up many years ago and always keep it clean and tidy. Unfortunately, we rarely use it as no one can through the clutter to find their way to it.

I've joined Tackle-it-Tuesday and the 30 day organizational challenge. My goal is to continue to "chip away" at this stuff until it's cleared. There's a church sale coming up at the end of April and I'm determined to liberate myself from as much stuff as possible.

In the next post, I'll post some of the more clutter-free areas of my home just so that you know not all the rooms in my home look like this.... :-)