Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Been Too Busy Cleaning to Blog Much...

But (countdown please...) TA-DA!!! The study is actually done.

Seven months later.

Blog followers will remember that I started on the study back in April, as I was trying to follow Regina Leeds' One Year to an Organized Life. I did pretty well for the first three months, but then I got stalled by the massive, humongous mess that was our study...the black hole of the house.

My mother-in-law arrived last week for her annual visit, and Mike and I were both bound and determined to finally get that damn room clean!!! And not only did we get the study cleaned out and organized--with wide open spaces and empty floors!!!--but I also tackled the utility room and what we call "Chai's room" (a storage room off the utility room). I would like to spend a bit more time organizing the cabinets in the utility room, but it's vastly improved. In addition to that, we cleaned the rest of the house from top to bottom in preparation for her visit.

Chai's room (so called because our cat used to sleep, poop, and eat in there) was full of old toys, cassette tapes, art supplies, seasonal decorations, tools, batteries, chairs, wrapping paper, baskets, etc. Now it's neat and clean and organized (and you can see the floor in there too!). I've been told I'm not to purchase any more baskets!

With all the organizing we are doing, we have a plethora of those clear plastic boxes, because we've emptied out so much stuff that was in them. We have so many of them that we've taken a lot of them out to the garage.

Next on the room organizing list, after my mother-in-law leaves and our 13-year-old can move back to his bedroom, is the family room.

I will post some before-and-after photos of the study when I have enough courage. I even have a cleaned desk to work at now!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Oh, the Guilt!!

In the past week I've been working on cleaning out our storage room in the basement. Even though our cat, Chai, died about 5 years ago, we still call it "Chai's room," because she slept there.

It is one of our home graveyards--with boxes of Asian masks, vases, and statues (some that we haven't unpacked in the 10 years we have lived here!); seasonal items; empty cardboard boxes for things we've bought (in case they need to go back to the store); batteries and tools; boots; old baby things; art supplies; and other various items.

In the past few evenings, I've consigned to recycling, trash, or giveaways the following things:
  • Cardboard, paper, and other junk
  • Stacks of children's drawings, homework, and schoolwork
  • Old cassette and VCR tapes
  • Christmas cards and decorations we've never used
  • Styrofoam pieces and pellets
  • Toys, toys, and more bits of toys
  • Old pens, crayons, and paints
  • A brand-new "cookbook holder" and a juicer my dad gave us that I couldn't figure out how to put together
I've posted dozens of old children's books on Paperbackswap, had Mike take some good-condition floor puzzle pieces and a few other toys to donate to Nick's preschool, and put some things away to take to the resale shop.

As I've been cleaning out the storage area, I've found dozens of baskets and cleared out bunches of plastic boxes--we have more than we will ever need, given all the decluttering I've been doing.

The guilt is mostly because of the hundreds of little pieces of children just do not do very well with toys that have many pieces. They get lost and spread all over the house and become useless. Because they are so spread out, it's not even worth the effort to try to reassemble the toy to be able to give it away. So I have been filling bag after bag, not only to donate, but for the dump.

I know it must be done. Our house actually has a lot of storage areas--if only we were better organized, we would have plenty of space for our stuff--and it will be great to have this storage room organized. But I'm feeling massively guilty about the quantity of things I have to throw away. We are good environmentalists--I do not like to have things end up in the landfill!

I asked Mike if he is feeling guilty, too, and he said no. He's just feeling relief. Granted, his major role has been carting the bags off to charity and the dump--he's not really seeing what's going into the bags.

This year I am going to try to give the children experiences for Christmas instead of toys. And do everything I can to encourage other people to give them experiences or if they must buy toys or other items, avoid the small pieces! :) We do not tend to be very acquisitive--and I realize that the things I'm throwing away and donating are from years and years of buildup--but I want to do what I can to minimize more clutter and unused items coming into our house.