Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Conquering The Messies, Part Two

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.  

Evaluate your need for space versus your sentimental need
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?

Our homes should be a haven for US.

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! 

So come back tomorrow for "part threeof  Conquering The Messies (a four part series).

(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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  1. Wise instructions here, Nan! Wish I'd had this to read when I got married. It's never too late to learn some time-saving ways to get it all done.

    1. No, it's never too late to learn! I'm still learning stuff! I wish I had known all this when I got married too, lol!

  2. oh honey...feel better! I remember this post from a while ago...you always make me smile and get me moving!
    I am off bed rest finally...my A$$ was growing just laying there with pneumonia...I hope you feel like a million bucks as soon as possible...so you can get busy and clean up the mess that the house is sure to be in while mom's out of commission! My kids really tried and did a great job...but it's always nice to know it was done MOMs way! lol
    big hugs from albera canada!

    1. Pneumonia? Oh you poor dear! I am glad you are finally up and around and hope you're feeling better.

      Yes, my house is pretty bad, lol! My hubby has helped with the dishes and keeping up, but I myself have quite a little pile of books and an assortment of things that I pile all around me when I'm sick or on bed rest, lol!

  3. I'm sorry you're in pain with your back. I cannot imagine having to be on bedrest due to pain. I will be praying that your PT helps and things can mend.

    These are great tips for purging the home. I should write them down and do them!! Now it's time to GET MOVING! :)

    1. Don't write them down. Do a screen copy and then print them out and save yourself the time, lol!

      Mostly I have been watching t.v. or reading to pass the time. It hasn't been too bad because of course, I haven't felt like moving around much due to the pain. My kids are old enough to take care of themselves so that helps.

      Although I do have to get up and help my mom now that she's back from the hospital. My family is gone during the day so it's up to me to help.

  4. I'm taking this post to my attic and the garage attic (just as soon as it warms up!!) and start purging the junk!! I don't know how the stuff gets into the house!!

    I hope you get feeling better. I don't remember why your back often flares up??

    Have the most wonderful day...just think...you are pampering yourself for all those busy years...you can write a post on the importance of taking good care of yourself so your family has a healthy Mom.

    1. I don't know why it flares up either. In fact, I asked my physical therapist the same question. He said it's just one of those things.

      You have a weakness and then you bend or move the wrong way and bam! It goes out or you tweak something.

      He is giving me exercises to strengthen it because THIS time it really was just too painful and I couldn't walk or anything without extreme pain.

      Usually I can have back pain for a day or two and I'm fine. This time it lasted over a week and I had to lie in bed and take pain pills to get through it, as walking just hurt so much.

      So I am anxious to keep up with these exercises and see if they will help in the long run.


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