Today is part two of Conquering The Messies. If you missed part one, you can read it "here."
When I determined I was going to somehow dig myself out of the mess we'd made, I decided to start with the living/dining room and the kitchen. Why both? Because the living/dining room was the first thing people saw when they came into the house. It's also where we spent most of our time.
Why the kitchen? Well, we really did need to eat. Have you ever tried to cook a meal in a messy kitchen? No room. Seriously!
Also, I figured if I did two rooms (technically three, since the living and dining were connected) I could switch and have a change of scenery when I got bored with the first room. Bored? Seriously, bored?? How could you get bored with all that junk? Disgusted, frustrated, overwhelmed, sure...but, bored??? He-llo!!!
So, let's get started:
First, you need to get all that clutter under control. Grab four boxes (or bags) and mark them KEEP, GIVE AWAY, THROW AWAY, and UNDECIDED. As you sort through your clutter, begin sorting it into these four boxes.
Don't take a walk down memory lane here or you will never finish. If you must, give it one last hug for the road and let it go. If you're keeping it, you can reminisce later, so put it in the KEEP box and keep moving.
Ask yourself some questions: Why am I keeping this? Do I love it? Am I ever going to use it? Is it "me (us)?" Does it reflect our taste, or someone else's? Do I need it? Am I keeping it because someone gave it to me and I don't want to hurt their feelings? Am I keeping it because I am the "keeper of memories" in my family and I feel a responsibility to it?
If I get rid of it, can I easily get another one if I find that I do need it? Does having this validate something in me? Does keeping this remind me of a special time in my life? Am I keeping this for sentimental purposes only? Can I take a picture of it and let it go or pass it on to someone else who will appreciate it? Is this even mine, or am I storing it for someone else?
Just for the record, I am not saying there is anything wrong with keeping sentimental things. I certainly have some of my own. Some people keep maternity clothes or baby clothes as a reminder of a precious time in their life.
Do you have to keep every single item? Could you keep just one or two instead? Could you take lots of pictures of the baby clothes and then keep the pictures but pass the clothes along? (This said, I DO have a baby outfit or two floating around somewhere....)
This might be a good time to start a memory box for your child if you haven't already. Just get a fifth box and label it MEMORY BOX and put the appropriate items in there as you go.
Does keeping the baby teeth of your beloved dog (now long passed away) meet a need in you? Don't laugh, I once found a plastic bag with our dog's baby teeth in it, neatly labeled and dated. That dog has been gone for about twelve years now. Twelve years! In our defense....o.k., there is no defense.....we just thought it would be funny to save them. I can hear you laughing, you know.
If it's broken, ask yourself : Am I ever actually going to repair it? Will it cost more to repair it than it would to replace it? If I repair it, will I ever actually use it?
Items need to earn their place in our home. They shouldn't be a place where we store other people's stuff. If they didn't want it enough to store it, then why are we doing it? Now, obviously I can understand storing your child's things when they go off to college. But if said child is now thirty with a home of their own....I say it's time to reclaim your space!
Now is the hard part, stop thinking and start moving. When you've asked yourself the tough questions, start placing the items into one of those four boxes. If you are placing most of your items in the "Undecided" box, you probably need to stop and ask yourself some questions again. You may find it easier to make some decisions if you have a friend along side you saying "Are ya kiddin' me? Why on earth would you want to keep that?" (insert appropriate horrified face here).
Tomorrow I will cover what to do with those boxes of thoughtfully chosen items!
(Edit: this post is taken from the archives as I am on bed rest due to my bad back flaring up again. I am in a lot of pain so am borrowing from my archives this week! I DO have pain pills and will also be going to PT for several weeks which I hope will help!)
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