Friday, January 13, 2012

2012 Declutter: Week 1

My goals for this year include decluttering, donating, and re-thinking my apartment, car, and office space into a cleaner, leaner space. My inspiration is, as before, the wonderful quote from William Morris: "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." (Thanks to Jules at Pancakes and French Fries for reminding me!)

First up: the bedroom. The coming week I'll be tackling the basics in this room.

This is the simplest space to fix in the house, which is why I start here. The tasks for initial improvement are as follows:
  • reorganize the closet, top to bottom
  • repair the dresser and reorganize the drawers
  • hang two framed posters
  • buy a multi-plug for behind the bed; plug in phone and lamp, with extra outlet space
  • reorganize and declutter underbed storage of bed linens
  • buy a new mattress and boxspring (long-term goal)
See? Simple. Most of these tasks can be completed once I buy a few items: duct tape, a multi-outlet plug, some storage boxes. A trip to Home Depot and Michael's, and I may be done.

Let's start with the closet. What gets stored in this closet?

On the floor:
  • the vacuum
  • the mop and bucket
  • the washbasket
  • the drying rack
  • an electric fan (probable donation)
On the left side:
  • smaller, framed art and personal photographs (top shelf)
  • postcards and cards used for projects, memory boards, and creative exercises
  • baskets of extra beauty and health products
  • boxes of "stuff" (to be culled, donated, tossed)
  • beading materials and mailing envelopes, bubble wrap, postal tape
  • smaller gift bags, gift wrap, ribbon, cards
On the right side:
  • blankets and afghans, some in storage bags
  • jewelry box and extra pieces in larger jewelry boxes
My biggest issue is that none of the current storage boxes match, so right now the interior looks jumbled and cluttery even though everything is neatly packed up in a box. Second, there's no real logic to what's on what shelf, or why there are similar things in other closets in other rooms.

I like the open baskets for the beauty/health products (extras bought on sale or in multiples). They need to go on a shelf where I can see them easily, so this height is good. One basket has facial care and cosmetics, one has lotions and skin care, and one has medical stuff including sinus and allergy pills, aspirin, and the rest of the quick-grab stuff. This shelf will probably not change much.

But the boxes! Ugh! One simple idea I favor: replaced the currently mismatched photo boxes with three to six photo boxes all in either solid red, white, or black from Michael's; not only would that match the stuff in the closet, but throughout the rest of my apartment. I can also replace the clear plastic boxes with solid white ones from IKEA already in use elsewhere. You might say I am too matchy-matchy, or that the door is kept closed and no one goes in there but me... but yeah, it bothers me.

Solution: I got four white photo boxes from Michael's on sale ($8 total) and shifted everything into these. I also incorporated two IKEA Kassette boxes of approximately the same size. Much better looking, and the six boxes more easily hold what was jammed into three. I didn't really want all-white, but I would have had to wait on the photo boxes at Michael's--white was the ONLY solid color in stock--and so I settled, which turned out better than fine.

I can also pick up some relatively inexpensive storage bags at the Container Store for my two afghans; everything else has a plastic zip bag. That makes the blankets easier to store and stack, plus I can see which one is which, when it comes down to it. Both afghans were made for me by my crafty grandmothers, so storing them carefully is important.

Solution: I got two sets of clear cubes for three afghans (oops!) and one summer quilt; one large cube for the thicker summer-weight quilt; and thinner clear bags for the unhung curtains and one thin summer-weight quilt. Come warmer weather, I'll need something in which to store my large down comforter, but that's April's problem. 

The breakdown of tasks is, then:
  • buy photo boxes at Michael's and replace mismatched boxes (Goodwill)
  • buy 2 storage bags at The Container Store for afghans
  • gather similar stuff from other closets and relocate like:like
  • cull all stuff to be stored (discard, donate, relocate)
  • organize and label boxes and fill appropriately
  • redistribute stuff to be stored elsewhere
  • toss stuff to be discarded
  • set donations aside
Days to complete this: Saturday.

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