Thursday, June 23, 2016

Books Glorious Books!

So it has been a little while since I have made time to update Our Untidy Life.  Since my last post my children have ended their school year.  It has taken me a bit of time to figure out our new summer routine.  I think we are on track and I have figured out a block of time for writing and decluttering!  Which believe it or not is trickier than it sounds!
All my books piled up in the living room.
The next category I worked on was books.  I went on a book hunt through out the house for titles that belong to me.  This is trickier than it sounds.  My husband and I have quite the collection of books.  He made a point to tell me not to discard any of our "shared" books or books that were "his".  I feel his pain!  We both love to read! Our children love to read! Discarding books is truly a challenge for us.  It seems almost blasphemous to discard books.  But to live the tidy life that we truly want and deserve we must discard those things that do not spark joy any longer; even books.

Discarded books ready for their new life.
Just like with the other categories, I piled up all my books in the living room.  I did not realize how many titles I actually owned!  A grand total of 112 books that were truly mine.  Of the 112 books, I discarded 57; just over half.  Some titles I let go of because I did not "need" them any more.  For example my knitting for beginners book.  Since I purchased that one I have done many, many knitting projects and don't consider myself a beginner knitter any longer.  Other books were duplicate copies of old Girl Scout manuals; once people find out you are a GS leader you get all sorts of old manuals-true story!  Still more of  the books were titles that I just never even read in the first place, and had no desire to now.

Since I was on such a roll with my books, I decided to move on to the children's books.  As with clothes for Willy, I have horded children's books from all over and hid them in Willy's closet.  I had hidden away three large boxes of children's books!  Most of the books were from my two older children and from friends that moved.  Some of the books were even from my husband's childhood!  I pulled out all the boxes, and dragged them downstairs.  I cleaned out the children's books from the toy shelf in the great room.  It was interesting to see all the children's books that I had collected.  Just like with my own books, there were duplicate titles-what child really needs three copies of "Snowmen at Christmas"?  There were also books that were so well loved that they were falling apart beyond repair.  After touching each and every children's book I was able to discard 72 titles!

In all I carried four good sized boxes out to my van. I then drove them to our library to donate for their book sale fundraiser.  Decluttering tally thus far, 12 trash bags and four boxes.  Not too shabby!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Reflections on Stage One Declutter: Clothing

Looking back over the past few weeks of my new adventure makes me feel proud.  The dressers and closets are beginning to look better.  I feel less rushed in the morning before school because I can actually find clothes for the kids and myself.  I don't have to spend extra time routing through clothes that don't fit to find the ones that do. I can easily see what the choices are for the morning and help the kids choose something quickly.  The new system for clothes is really working for us!
Hannah's tidy dresser drawers.
I have made progress in the bedrooms but the main living spaces of the house still feel weighed down and cluttered.  Books, papers, arts and crafts items, toys, movies, (and the list goes on) are still everywhere!  The next few days are going to be focused on the next two stages of Marie Kondo's system for tiding: books and papers.  Stay tuned for more decluttering adventures and shocking photos!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Abandoned Random Bedding

With the clothing category crossed off my list I was thinking, "which category should I tackle next?" I decided that sticking with "soft" items in the house was a good idea.  So on to bedding; how many sets of sheets and blankets does one family really need?  We are a family of six but my oldest has moved out and has established his own home.  So we are now down to five people under our roof.  We have a total of five beds in the house - two queen sized and three twin.  So i it really necessary for us to have so much bedding?  Probably not!  

Of course some of this bedding was not chosen by me or my husband.  Sounds strange right?!  But the truth is that we have had some family move in the past few years and give us bedding they could not take with them.  I have a hard time saying no to anything free that still has a useful life (remember the bags of clothes in Willy's closet?).   The result was bedding scattered in closets and in several under bed storage containers.    

I decided to tackle the bedding challenge the same way I did the clothes-pull it all out and dump it on the living room floor.  Anything that didn't fit the beds in our house, was badly stained, or just plain ugly was going to find a home elsewhere.  But I still needed enough bedding so that each family member would have two sets of sheets, a blanket and a comforter.  As a family we also love to snuggle up under afghans and watch movies on cold winter nights so I also need to keep a few throw blankets.

All the bedding in the house dumped on the living room floor!

The bedding purge took about an hour.  It was pretty funny some of the things I unearthed; abandoned random bedding!  I found a king sized fitted sheet, one flannel pillowcase with no sheets to go with it, a very badly stained comforter (I was going to try to get the stains out I swear), and the list goes on.  I was able to discard four more bags!
Four more bags ready to be discarded!
The sheets that I kept, were folded neatly and placed inside their pillow case.  (That is an organization idea I borrowed from Peter Walsh.)  Also, instead of having sheets and blankets scattered around in random closets, I put the sheets in the rooms where the bed is that the sheets go on.  So trucks and Cat in the Hat to Willy's room and unicorns and Tinker Bell to Hannah's room.  Extra throw blankets will be stored on the top shelf in the guest bedroom/office until winter.

Total bag count is up to 12!  I am still feeling pretty positive about my results and hope I can keep up the momentum of the past couple of weeks.