As it turned out to be a vacation day for the Husband, he agreed to help me tackle an area that would need a lot of his help/opinions. So, instead of me tackling an upstairs room, we tackled the Library/Reading nook/China hutch. This area was easier than I thought it would be. It helped to have the Husband right there to agree/disagree with me and sort through his books.
First thought: The Library purge wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. As it turns out, I still have my favorites, my duplicates (“but that’s the first version of that book I bought” or “my mom gave that one to me”), and my to-be-read books. I donated all of the books I haven’t read that no longer sounded interesting, the books I wouldn’t read again, and books I liked enough to keep but not in duplicate form.
Second thought: The china hutch isn’t one anymore. Ninety percent of what we used to store in there is gone. There was an amazing set of random glassware we never used along with the specialty serving ware we got as wedding presents. We used it for the first five years of our marriage on special occasions because it was beautiful. However, it was not dishwasher safe. In fact, the dishwasher destroyed a couple pieces. After a while, we stopped using it—even for special occasions. Mostly because it was all handwash. Who has time for that?
Instead, the bottom part is for all of the serving ware we do use (also wedding presents) that are dishwasher safe—pretty, white, simple boats, plates, and bowls. The top part is now home to my antique occult literature book collection. It’s so much easier for me to get to it now. I do have to fiddle with the sorting of the books, but they all fit.
Third thought: There is an amazing amount of crap that can be stuffed behind a couch. Everything from empty packing tubs to rolls of crushed wrapping paper to many lost cat toys to mailing boxes. It was good to purge all that stuff and now know there is nothing behind the couch that shouldn’t be.
Fourth thought: The “warranties and manuals” side table was in definite need of help. We had stuff in there from appliances we no longer own and services we no longer have. It was paperwork that needed going through. As I said last time…it is a pleasure to shred.
Fifth thought: Random keys no longer bother me. If we haven’t used or needed a key in the 5-10 years they have been in the side table, we don’t need them at all. If we do, I know people with lockpicks. Failing that, I know how to use a screwdriver and a hammer. Bonus: we found an extra key to our mailbox.
Final thought: I am still weak (and that's okay). There are some things I could not part with. A couple of duplicate books because each one had its own story. Also, there was a beautiful, black, empty notebook I kept because it just felt so good in my hands. It might become a new journal. It might become a story I tell myself. I don’t know. I just know I wasn’t willing to let it go.
It was good to have the Husband helping me today. We got everything done that we wanted to get done and that makes us both happy. Next week, back to working on the upstairs… the hall closet and my bathroom.
This Declutter Monday was dedicated to the Cat Room AKA the Bonus / Exercise / AIP Book storage Room. This “catch all” room has been the eyesore of the house since I moved in. It got all the extra stuff—LARP, travel, storage, whatever. It is also where we lock the cats up when they need to be locked up. Thus “the Cat Room.” (Notice how hard I'm working to not say "junk room"?)
This room was hard to start. Most of the stuff outside the closet needed organization rather than strictly decluttering. Especially the Apocalypse Ink Productions shelves used for the AIP office, travel, storage, and records. We moved the sturdy cabinet from downstairs to upstairs and shifted all the AIP stuff onto it.
Also, full disclosure, the declutter of the Cat Room started on Sunday with the Husband helping because some of the stuff outside the closet was all him or needed his opinion/muscles. This help included a much-needed dump run.
Still, decluttering, cleaning, and organizing the Cat room was rough. It even took a sacrifice in the form of ripping one of my gel nails off. I didn’t feel it. I found it on the floor. Good thing I had a nail appointment scheduled for Monday.
First thought: It is a pleasure to shred…. I overheated my shredder on twelve-year-old house / tax documents. I’ve never done that before. I couldn’t just toss/recycle most of the documents due to the sensitive nature of them. Also, I don’t mind using the shredder. Though, it may have a few choice words for me after today.
Second thought: I ran into more—surprise!—pictures and a sentimental collage book from college (I think). I’m shocked at how many pictures I have stashed all over the house. I know I didn’t put together the scrapbook. I don’t know for sure who did. I think it might have been my mom. It, along with the photos, are now in my sentimental drawer. I hope by the time I get to it, I’ll have a decent handle on how to declutter sentimental things. To be fair, I’ll probably put a lot of it in a “treasure box” and limit the sentimental stuff that way.
Third thought: This was a hard room to declutter/organize. There was too much stuff that needed the husband’s opinion/help. I felt guilty needing it. He didn’t sign up for that part. He signed up for moving the trash bags to the trash, taking the donate piles to the charity shops, and when (IF) I get the eBay store up and running, he’ll help me mail everything. I appreciated all the help he gave me and he did understand why I needed it. Sometimes decluttering means you’re going to need help.
Fourth thought: If you didn’t know me or the Husband and you decluttered the Cat Room, you might come away with a very odd impression of us. A lot of old LARPing and Dance costumes, accessories, and tools got downsized. A bunch of it was odd. Even to me. The weirdest thing I found: a bag filled with a wig head, wigs, a wig brush, and wig de-tangler. All of it unopened. That was next to two empty rifle cases and a couple of walkie-talkies. Hmmm, I say. Hmmm.
Final thought: Even though this was harder than I thought it would be and it was a LONG day—we finished at 7:20pm—it was so worth it. We can open the closet to get to our suitcases without something falling on us. The AIP shelves are clean and organized. We even labeled some of the boxes to help keep it that way. There’s a floor in the room! The cats have sprawled all over it. There’s enough room that I can do my stretches in there instead of the hallway. For the first time in over a decade, the Cat Room is actually clean.
Next week… the upstairs hall closet and my bathroom.
The first “Declutter Monday” of the new year is complete. I tackled the parts of my bedroom I hadn’t actually gotten to in the last quarter of 2018. This meant today I tackled my closet, my bedside drawers, and my dresser.
• In the closet, I tackled all my drawers and the shelves at the top.
• For the bedside drawers, this included the top and all the drawers.
• For the dresser, this meant “only” the two slender “stuff” drawers, the top of the dresser, and all my jewelry. (I tackled the main dresser drawers in 2018.)
In essence… a lot.
First thought: I owe Marie Kondo an apology. The thought that I need to thank things as I decluttered them was weird to me. I understood the animistic approach, but I thought it was a bit much. I was wrong. I was so wrong. I ran into not one, but two, boxes of stuff from my past. In my early twenties and thirties, I was a dreamy, fantasy Jenn. I don’t know how to explain what I did, other than to say that I collected a lot of stones, rocks, runes, and other fantasy accoutrement.
I was thrown back into a time of “just dreaming” before I worked to realize my dreams. It was a lonely time where I took much pleasure in my fantasy lives—mental, spiritual, and gaming/LARPing. It hurt my heart to get rid of these things. And, in truth, I kept a scant few items I just wasn’t willing to part with. The rest I thanked and said good-bye to. I felt better saying, “Thank you for giving past me so much joy. I will miss you. Good-bye.” as I put each thing in a donate or trash pile.
I always joke I’m an intellectual magpie. I used to be a physical one, too, collecting every shiny bit and bob I could find. Most of what I had packed away was trash.
Second thought: It is perfectly fine to “nope out” of decluttering sentimental items. The bottom bedside drawer is now designated “sentimental.” When I ran into the piles of letters I’d kept from when I went to boot camp, I knew I wasn’t ready to tackle them. After considering reading and shredding them, then maybe selling them (there is a surprisingly robust market for personal letters and journals on eBay), I decided I just couldn’t do it. Same with the surprise! more pictures to sort—from my wedding no less. I labeled it sentimental for tackling in round 2 (or 3) of decluttering.
Third thought: There is real satisfaction to be found in decluttering and getting rid of old things. Of looking at something and knowing it needs to go elsewhere. I’ve got three bags of trash and one full basket to donate waiting to go out.
Fourth thought: The method of sort-purge-organize is best. After sorting and purging, you can see what you need to organize and what organizational things you need/want. Right now, I know I want a dresser tray to hold my hair pins, mirror, and perfumes. These are things I want out because I use them a lot.
Final thought: I’ve already decided/realized that I’m going to need to do at least one more full round of decluttering in every place I declutter. Round One is to hit the low hanging fruit and do as much of the clean up as possible. Round Two will refine this and tackle the sentimental things and to re-examine all the things I put in the “maybe” pile because I wasn’t willing to part with them yet.
Here’s to a good start to 2019, The Year of Decluttering.