Did you ever have one of those days? The kind where you could imagine yourself doing all kinds of things except for the thing you’re actually doing? Today is one of those days for me. I’m envisioning myself at home gathering up all the things that need to go to Goodwill this round. Instead, I’m at work where there is nothing that needs to be boxed up to go to Goodwill. I would like to believe that when I get home from work I will be ready to run around gathering up those items. Unfortunately the reality is that I’ll go home and be tired and sit down and not give it another thought. Right now I’m sitting at 38 items that are boxed and ready. I think I’ll set the goal that when there are 50 it will be time to send it on its merry way which means I only need 12 more items. Believe me, that won’t be hard. I think there are at least that many upstairs that just need to be brought down.
I should probably take a moment to explain the pack rat hell I live in. I’m not brave enough to post pictures at this point, maybe when I get a room finished I’ll see about a before and after shot. We live in a house that we have nicknamed The Money Pit. Yes, we’ve seen the movie and while our money pit isn’t as bad as that one it’s bad enough for us. Sometimes. Our home was built around 1897 and has a lot of character. Unfortunately, a lot of the character was removed when the house was turned into a duplex and walls were put in where they shouldn’t be and removed from where they should be. The main floor has a 3/4 bath, kitchen, butler’s pantry, kitchen, living room, parlor, hall as well as front and back stairs. The second floor has a small balcony alcove, 4 bedrooms, full bath and more stairs. The attic we have turned into our master bedroom. Of the 4 bedrooms on the 2nd floor, one functions as the Little Man’s nursery/bedroom, 2 function as guest rooms and 1 functions as my craft room. I dabble in a lot of things so there is a lot packed into that room. At this point, the Little Man has acquired quite a substantial amount of stuff and we’re thinking about converting one of the spare bedrooms into a toy room. Especially if there are any siblings for the Little Man to come along.
You can walk from room to room. Getting through a couple of them is a bit on the difficult side though. My craft room used to be that way until I took out everything and reorganized. I’m still finding things that need to go in there and I’m hoping that once I get to really use it that I’ll revamp it some more. My latest project in there has been to move all my patterns (cross-stitching and quilting) into binders with plastic sleeves. I’ve gone through all of my magazines and pulled out those patterns that I want to keep and then sent the magazines on their merry way out of my house. The nice thing is that now I have 3 binders instead of boxes and I no longer find magazines stashed everywhere in the house. I had also set a goal to clear out the 2nd floor alcove and the 1st floor front hall so I can move my rather large antique secretary downstairs and then finally un-box the elliptical we bought for Christmas last year so that it can take up residency in the alcove. I’ve not gotten terribly far. The alcove is mostly clear. I had some Goodwill items sitting there that I thought I should just get boxed up. Well, that was last week. Instead I’ve been moving patterns into binders and moving photos from the camera to the computer and unpacking from vacation and quilt retreat. I really need to get back into getting things cleared out since Christmas is much closer than I want it to be at this point and the elliptical is sitting right in the way of where the tree will go.
I keep envisioning that eventually things will just fall into place like some magic dominos. I’m also hoping that once the elliptical is out of the parlor the parlor will almost clean itself. I will also admit that I don’t worry about dusting or any of the detail work because I would much rather get rid of all the crap we don’t need. Believe me, there’s a lot of it. As I pack up bags of trash and shredding (which is another large-ish project) I’ll try to keep a count. My lovely husband is planning on scheduling a special garbage pickup for December which gives us a month to really get some things done. I’m looking forward to him stepping in and helping. Don’t get me wrong. he does help out somewhat. He carries down the things that are too heavy for me, drops the stuff off at Goodwill when I give the green light and hauls boxes of paper to the recycle station. Sometimes it takes some reminding and prodding to get it done, but at least it does get done. Everything else has been me working solo. To date I’ve gone through all the boxes of clothes that we’ve kept for “someday” or “just can’t bear to part with” and sent about 400 items to Good will. Not all at once mind you, it was over the course of a couple of months. It was so nice to be able to empty out some tubs that I’m starting to wonder that as I get rid of more stuff I will suddenly have a surplus of empty tubs. Gosh, I hope that turns out to be true.
If you’re looking to get out of your own pack rat hell, feel free to drop me line. Maybe we can share some stories or tips on getting out of it. For now, I’ll leave these ideas that have worked for me.
1. Pick a place to start and just focus on that one place. Unfortunately I’ve flitted around a bit and that has left me with half-finished projects all over the house. I have done much better when I have focused on just one thing at a time.
2. Make a list of how you expect the room to be used. That way you know what to plan for with regard to furnishing or other things that need to be in the room. This worked especially well in my craft room. I knew that I had certain crafts (photography, writing, needlework, quilting, crocheting and scrapbooking) that needed to be accommodated. From there I was able to list out what was needed for each craft and see where things overlapped. For example I need a good desk for writing, quilting and scrapbooking and a good comfy chair for needlework, writing and crocheting. Once I knew what pieces needed to be there, I could start getting rid of those things that I didn’t need and rearrange my storage so that I could keep things together better. I won’t bore you with the whole process as I’m sure your needs are different from mine and you’re probably thinking this lady is a bit too anal retentive for me. The truth is that I get easily overwhelmed when I look at the whole mess and I have to work on doing it in bite sized chunks so I can still function as a human being. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even know where to start.
3. Try not to get discouraged. After all, it didn’t get this way over night. It would certainly be nice (albeit a major miracle) if it were all to resolve itself in a fraction of the time…if anyone figures out how to make that happen please let me know. I struggle with the discouragement constantly so I know that’s easier said than done. The end product is going to be worth it though, when I have a home that I’m not embarrassed by. One day. And I’m working on it now so that it will be One Day soon.