December 3, 2015

Getting my house in order

A little post about tidying.....

There is that saying "it takes a mess to clean a mess". It certainly has been true for me lately. I have been struggling with having a suitable place to create. I have been living in the same place for quite some time, and without a studio to create in. Mostly I convert my kitchen, but not any more. A good friend of mine recommended a book which helped jump-start my motivation to "get my house in order" and I want to recommend it here because it has really made a difference in my life in a short period of time.
This little book, "the life changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo was around $15 on Amazon and worth every penny. I began reading it the day it arrived, its an easy read, I completed in a leisurely 3-4 days in between tidying spurts. Some of the advice she gives if you follow are habit changing, for the better.
First step Discard! It all started with respecting the things I have and discarding what I no longer need. Here are 2 of the 4 bags of clothes I donated, I still have too many clothes in my closet to process.  I also filled my garbage can 2X with irrelevant things that just kept hanging around. I was surprised by the amount that was easy to get rid of immediately after reading the first bit of the book, this ignited the flame and kept me going.
Then I started in on my drawers. The book recommends getting rid of stuff first then re-organizing. It works. It explains how to fold and store clothing efficiently. You can see what each thing is because it is standing on its side. I managed to not only clear out this drawer of unwanted clutter but I was able to add in a box of hankies, pocket squares and all my ties rolled up, my box of watches (I got rid of 3 watches for various reasons) and my extra wallets and day timers. I enjoy opening it to this pretty sight.
I closed that drawer and moved down to my socks. She calls those little rolled up balls that stretch the elastic band potatoes that roll around. I have been doing it that way my entire life. Up until this point I had such a full sock drawer it was difficult to close. I turfed every extra sock I had, and only have new zombie, dress and soft winter ones now. These too are folded on their side to maximize space and so you can see them. I managed to create 2/5 more space where I took my previously hung up scarves and neckerchiefs and got them in the drawer too. I continued down the remaining drawers and still have the bottom most one completely empty at this point. It works!!!!
I started in on the closet, which is not done yet as I got out of my room to tackle some larger areas next.  She recommends doing stuff quickly. Piling everything of like category together in one room, hence all the boos are getting stacked on my empty shelf for now but will be dealt with soon enough. My biggest burden is the thousands of books I've read but still store. Back to the closet, I have a lot of suits and tailored shirts. It is recommended that you hang the longest clothing items to the left and then allow it to gently rise with shorter stuff tot eh right. In this way, my suits are hung far left, followed by jackets, sport coats and blazers. Then sweaters, dress shirts to jeans etc.  I cant wait to show the finished pic.
My studio space. Until now, I could not get in here let alone paint in here. It is basically a place where I store art supplies so I am ready when inspiration comes to me. It is still pretty disorganized even though I have clear labelled bins, I still want to get this area handled.
One thing is I am a Lego maniac, and I have all the boxes from my many kits. I decided I had my fun with them and I doubt I'll sell any of these so I might as well reduce the cardboard the pieces are delivered in. I was surprised how much room this freed up once I flattened them down and put them in the recycling.
All of this allowed me to move a shelf I had in the room into the newly cleared closet space in my studio. It was a squeeze but it fit. I had to take out the make shift clothes rod. It was put up so poorly I nudged it and it fell out on its own. i also took out the shelf that rested on it which housed my empty Lego box collection.
Oh yeah, in order to do all this I also had to empty out 5 totes of miscellaneous stuff. Admit it, we all have it. I returned these plastic bins to their owner, washed out and empty. Boy, am I glad to be rid of that excess. I am beginning to feel happier and freer, which further motivates me to continue this "spring cleaning" type journey. Its been log overdue but at this point the challenge is becoming quite enjoyable. i want to see what else I can get rid in the process.
I slide back in the totes that were on the shelf, the contents of which I will sort and discard and refill with other things at a later date. Some stuff here like all my paintball gear can be sold on craigslist, while the paperwork etc will have to be discarded at a later date. For now this clears up a tonne of room and then that leads me to clear off the metal shelves and completely re-arrange the studio layout entirely. I like the clear bins because you can see what is in them.
I discover a huge box of DVD's and CD's which is falling apart and I don't care whats in it so rather than open Pandora's box, I gift the whole thing to someone who appreciated this sort of thing way more than me and has a fantastic library to choose what is wanted and throw the rest away. My disk drive on my laptop has been dead for a year so there is no point in me keeping these. Besides, I rarely watch a movie twice as there are new things to see, plus I have Netflix, who needs hard copies anyway?! I am sure there are treasures in there, they have gone to a good home.
It gets difficult deciding what is worth keeping etc. The book really lays it out well. I decided to invest in about $160 of matching clear bins from Ikea for all my creativity supplies. I like everything to look uniform and match so to me it's worht the cost. It is no secret I collect all sorts of art supplies, often when it is on sale I pick it up.You never know when inspiration will take over and I want to be ready to be able to make anything at a moments notice. I have every manner of creative tool. Now its a matter of getting it organized and into the right place.  While doing this I decide to challenge myself to get rid of 1 of the two shelves and everything on it. Concentrate. Thank goodness for portable audio.
Here is where the studio has gotten to this fine morning, awaiting more. It's been tough at points. Piles of stuff to be sorted everywhere. You have to make a mess to clean one and I can tell you its good I have a rec room and a living room to spread everything out. The book is all about lightening what you do have to essentials and things that bring you joy. Why else have the stuff?! It has been a lot more work that it looks and I didn't take pictures of every shift, every step, every piece of furniture I moved or dismantled.What I can say is that there is a noticeable life improving shift that I have been experiencing since I began this project. I highly recommend the book and tidying up to change your life.

I'm on a roll still, much more to come!

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