Sunday, November 9, 2008

A change I really need

I have always been a disorganized pack rat. Even during the brief period of anal retentiveness when I did have a very clean home, I was still a boxer/stacker. Boxes of notes from high school and clothes I would never wear again were shoved in closets. Halloween costumes and out of season (and outgrown) clothes were in my toddler's dresser. And mail would be piled in a basket for months.

I've always had an irrational fear of getting rid of things, while lacking the motivation to put things away properly. Because maybe I would need last season's Children's Place catalog at a moment's notice or have a reason to spend $50 at LL Bean and get $10 off before the expiration date or completely forgetting I have the coupon. Or the fact that I'm cheap and like my Target jeans.

Paper is probably my greatest organizational weakness, and school papers have always been the worst. Trying to decide which pieces of my child's hard work to keep and which to deem literal garbage is something I've always hated to do. And homeschooling has made it even harder. Now I have to judge every. single. piece of paper anyone touches.

So, I procrastinate. The piles grow. Odds and ends get mixed in. Two months into homeschooling 3 children, I'm left with this:

The worst part is, my front door is just to the right of that table.

I did do something right. This table is (supposed to be) devoted to things used on a daily or nearly-daily basis. Everything else is kept in a separate spot that I'm not brave enough to show right now.

I've struggled with finding the motivation to straighten up areas that require a lot of effort to keep straightened up. In other words, just about the whole house. But this particular area was especially bad, and a fellow homeschooler recently inspired me to get my act together.

Jennifer at Halving It All has committed to halving all of her belongings and all of her bills in order to double what is really important in life - experiences.

I'm not sure I can really cut my "stuff" in half, but I'm determined to see how close I can get. The most appropriate place to start was with the homeschool table that greets everyone when they walk in the door.

I started out by dividing everything into "keep", "garbage/recycle", and "does not belong."

Everything to the left of the shelves, minus the printer, was to go somewhere else. Items to return to Target, Halloween costumes to be re-homed in dress up bins (once the current dress up clothes are culled), a chair that was in need of repair before the matching chair and table were disposed of and the remaining chair forgotten in the pile (behind the printer, turned upside down, with books and binders on top), table sleeves to be stored in the loft closet, and non-daily-use school items that hadn't been put away properly. Among other miscellaneous junk.

There was also a pile of papers to be disposed of when little eyes were not paying attention.

And everything else was to be filed in appropriate binders and arranged neatly.

While sorting and filing, I even took the time to wash the tablecloth, which had a spot of jelly on it from who knows when!

And now, our corner looks like this:

Okay, that's what it looked like on Friday. Today, it looks like that with the addition of a package for my sister and grocery bags to be returned to my car. And guess what. I'm going to go put that stuff in my car as soon as I get off of the computer!

I didn't truly get rid of half of the stuff from my table, but I'm very happy with what I've done, and it has motivated me to keep going. I tackled the top of my microwave and kitchen counter this morning. I've also begun going through my maternity clothes, now that C is 18 months old.

I feel like I'm on the right track. And that is a Big Deal!


Jennifer said...

Great job!

I haven't "halved" everything, either. But at least the concept gets me motivated to really look at everything with a critical eye, and I always feel better when a space is neat and "roomy".

kwr221 said...

"I've also begun going through my maternity clothes, now that C is 18 months old."



I'm tryong to do the same. I only got as far as culling through one of my many magazine and book piles. But it was a big one. I'm taking a break and taking dd to the movies. :-)

Lorrie Veasey said...

YaY YoU!!!

Let me know when you feel you need a challenge: I've got a closet with your name on it.

Judy M. said...

You know, at one point, my house looked like that table. Be careful, though--getting rid of the clutter makes you want to move around your furniture. :) And, really, while I don't do it any more (Flylady was too anal for me--which is scary, isn't it?), a few days of 27 Fling Boogies makes a BIG dent in it.

P.S. I did NOT read this before I blogged this morning!!