Tuesday, October 03, 2006

De-clutter

When you enter our house from the back door, the door that everyone uses except the door-to-door politicians, Jehovah Witnesses, and UPS, the first room you come into is the back porch. After walking through the back porch, you come into the dining room. When we first bought the house, we thought it would be neat to utilize a pool table as our dining room table instead of a traditional table. So we bought a rather large pool table, and then we purchased a ping pong table top to go over the pool table. This gave us a multifunctioning apparatus - a pool table, a ping pong table, a dining room table, and a dumping ground for everything in our house that doesn't have its own place. I am ashamed to say that in the six years we have lived in this house, the apparatus functioned as a pool table or ping pong table for the first year, and for the last five years, except for a couple of parties where the table was actually used as a dining room table, it has been a dumping ground. When I come home from work, I drop my keys on the table. When Jason comes home from work, he puts his keys, wallet, and the mail on the table. When the kids come home from school, their backpacks go on the table. After I dig out the papers from the backpacks, I put them into piles - things to be returned to school, homework, and papers for Jason to look over. After Jason goes through the mail, it goes into piles - bills for him, magazines for me, family mail such as wedding or party invitations. The newspaper ends up on the table, and so forth. Even though the table looks much more attractive without the ping pong table top on, we keep the top on so we can dump our junk on it without messing up the pool table felt. After many days of "dumping," either Jason or I cannot stand it anymore, and we de-clutter the table. However, negative things can happen when this occurs. Last week, Jason threw away a stack of magazines my mom had given me to look through for Christmas presents for the girls because it just looked like more junk. Where else was I supposed to store those magazines? At times, I will find invitations to birthday parties, weddings, or home parties that were two weeks prior - I had them in the very important stack, but that stack keeps growing, too. Yesterday, when I walked in the house after work, I could not stand the atrocity on the table anymore, and I made a commitment to not only de-clutter the table, but to clear it. So I began. I couldn't believe what all I found - Elizabeth's report card from last year. Doves from the inside of a silver dollar that were stored in a butter containter. Elizabeth's basketball evaluation from summer basketball camp. A wedding invitation (whew, that hasn't happened yet,) a printout from the computer with some Christmas ideas for my mom (that I printed out last summer,) lots and lots of hair ties, the Magic Bullet box with some attachments still inside, a VCR that doesn't work, a ton of artwork created by the kids (had to throw that away at the bottom of the trash can,) McDonald's toys, gymnastics pictures, my library card, a wallet sized family picture with Jason's side of the family taken over a year ago, last year's dance pictures, a half written story by Elizabeth about learning how to play tennis, snapshots, snapshots, and more snapshots, an invitation to a toy party (I had already told the hostess I couldn't make it,) Family Camp crafts from our cottage at the campgrounds that we had to clear out because we sold the cottage, and lots of other odds and ends. Yes, all of this stuff was on the table - the first piece of furniture someone sees when they walk in our house. What a first impression.

Well, after clearing the table, I got inspired. If I can de-clutter the dining room, I can de-clutter the whole house. The rest of my house wasn't nearly as bad as the table - I do like to have things in order. But there were things laying around the house that didn't belong where they were - three drawings Elizabeth had done for Jason to take to his office that were still at the top of the stairs, 2 Junie B. Jones books on the end table in the living room, scotch tape on top of the microwave, canning jars and pint containers on the countertop, once full of garden goodies but now washed and waiting to be stored until next summer, a popcorn tin full of popcorn from Christmas 2004, receipts on my dresser from last Christmas (I don't think at this point anyone will be returning anything.) I reorganized our shoe rack - I discarded of several pairs of kids shoes and designated each of us a shelf. (Jason has to have one and a half, but he shares a shelf with Anna.) Some things I just left - like the energy saver Reindeer that sits in front of our never used front door to keep out the cold air. He's been there for two Christmas's in a row - and he stays even during the summer even though he's also a Christmas decoration. Hey, it's less than three months now until Christmas. At least I took down the "Congratulations Daddy Mommy Elizabeth and Anna" sign that Elizabeth made six months ago and hung in our kitchen. No, we aren't having another baby, she was just congratulating all of us on being a happy family. It hung right below a golden foot of Elizabeth that was made in preschool. I know, not your typical kitchen decor, but she wanted it displayed, and there was an empty hook in the kitchen. We only meant for it to stay up that night, not for 2 years.

By the end of the night, I felt pretty proud of myself. My house looked pretty good. However, all that clutter had to go somewhere...you should see my closets. That will be another project for when I have another inspiration.

Confidential to new blogger T.T. - I was able to get on your site last week and I left a comment, but I can't access it any more. It says I have to be invited. Suggestions?

14 Comments:

Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

Deb, Your post excited me! It was all I could do not to call up and ask to come over and help. I LOVE de-cluttering and organizing. Can I come over and help set up systems? Pleeease? Just for fun...

October 03, 2006 4:49 PM  
Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

Besides, Elisha asks about every day if he can go to Anna's house. I think he is in withdrawal after all of the time we spent together this summer.

October 03, 2006 4:52 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

You know I won't turn down that offer. The question is when??? Our weekends are shot from now until after fall break. Doesn't Jim work in the evenings some? It would be hit and miss throughout the week in the evenings.

October 03, 2006 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deb,
I have several areas that you and Jaena both can take on. Just let me know!
Mom

October 03, 2006 6:14 PM  
Blogger Kelley said...

I totally relate. I'm a dumper too. My kitchen table is the dumping ground as well as my desk and the spare bedroom bed. When I can't stand it anymore, I declutter and start the cycle all over. ;)

October 03, 2006 7:52 PM  
Blogger Joel said...

You know, in my mind, the hard part about the clutter problem is that wonderful phrase that Deb used early in the blog: "everything in our house that doesn't have its own place." It's just that making a place for everything takes time!

Last week, I'd finally had enough with one of my kitchen drawers. It's a deep one, and because I'm short on storage space in the kitchen, it houses every cooking implement imaginable (except for the few that fit in the crock by the stove).

So I pulled out the drawer organizing kit that I'd bought at the Container Store about 6 months ago (literally) and blew off the dust (literally). After about an hour with a tape measure and a utility knife, I had a custom-designed four-compartment kitchen drawer! Woohoo! It still feels good to open that drawer, even if I'm just unloading the dishwasher. And of course, I'm showing it off to anyone who will look. (They smile and say something polite and noncommital, but they don't seem to be as excited as I am.)

Anyway. I can totally relate. Now if I can just get inspired on the rest of the house, like Deb . . .

October 03, 2006 8:16 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I should find this encouraging and motivating--BUT--I am so lazy! The need to just sit and not do anything wins out 99% of the time.

October 03, 2006 8:20 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Ah, the Container Store. I should send away for a mail order magazine. Don't they have one of those at Keystone? I could probably solve a lot of my problems by putting some stuff on my Christmas list. Even though I can't see your drawer, I am envisioning it, I am very impressed, and I am excited for you.

October 03, 2006 8:38 PM  
Blogger Toevs Family said...

I love to de-clutter! I have been working on my basement... start from the bottom up, right? I gave someone a HUGE bag of clothes that no longer fit my girls. I emptied out 3 plastic bins, and 2 cardboard boxes by purging and consolidating. It felt good! Now if only I had the time to do the rest of the house...

October 04, 2006 8:27 AM  
Blogger Anon said...

Deb,
I tried some of that new oatmeal crunch.....did you buy some of that? Anyhow, I de-cluttered myself today. After you cook the oatmeal, you "add the clutter". No kidding. That's what the instructions say. So, I ate clutter and I actually liked it. So, yeah, I guess I can relate to your post. :)

Once TT finally lets you access her blog, will you let her know a former music teacher that she used to work with during those "baby years" has been trying to access herself to see how she's doing? Thanks.

gotta get the kiddos and yours. :)

October 04, 2006 2:24 PM  
Blogger Keetha said...

Someday maybe I'll tell you about my Christmas clutter - - - - and I have an energy saver Christmas Moose, which I DO put away - - - but the Christmas village stays on my mantle year 'round.

October 04, 2006 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Jen Avery said...

Deb,
I am so glad out table is not as big as yours! We have a limit to the choas. however, I am famous for shoving and cramming stuff in drawers and making "piles" all over the house, which drives Scott crazy. My desk is like that at work. Scott does his share of leaving orphaned screws laying around and post its from work with passwrods on them. What do I do with them? Anyway, we tackled the task of cleaning out the closet in the nursery last night. It's been our "misc" closet since we moved. Now we have to organize and make room in other places. A lot went to the attic and yes I bought plastic containers to organize. They're expensive when you add it up. Good luck containing your de-clutter. It's easy to fall back into old habits.

Jen

October 06, 2006 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Deb!

My new blog (the public part anyway) is http://360.yahoo.com/thetaylors06
You have to be invited to see my photo albums. Then sign up with yahoo account for password. Hope to see you over there!

Love,
Teryn

October 07, 2006 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. Need your email to invite you. I read a little bit on your friend Anon's blog to see why she was anon. I wanted to have some security on my blog.

Teryn

October 07, 2006 7:12 PM  

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