Thursday, February 2, 2012

Living a Clutter Free Life ~ 2

Well now that you have looked at how much space you have in your house to store things you probably have the Space Bags commercial running through your head. You know "too much stuff, not enough space." But that probably isn't true, trust me, I have lived in some TINY houses, and no matter how small they were we have found a way to store what we needed to in a way that was organized and logical.

The first house that DH and I lived in was a 500sq ft two bedroom home in England. It had fit him just fine, bedroom for sleeping second bedroom filled with wardrobes, because closets don't exist in England.... at least not in most places. But when I moved in keeping everything put away proved to be a but of a challenge. I struggled with finding a place for my clothes, for my cooking supplies, the kitchen wasn't real big on cabinet or refrigerator space. It's amazing how much more cabinet space you need when you eat more than Hamburger Helper. Even with the tightness though we never had clutter everywhere. We had what we needed and nothing else, there was no room for lots of stuff we "might use again someday" or for pretty things that only came out once in a blue moon.

Living in our tiny house after my years in dorm rooms really helped turn me from the clutter bug I once was into someone who not only doesn't mind organization, but who thrives on it. After a stressful day I can frequently be found taking everything out of a closet to reorganize it and get rid of anything that I don't really need. This is probably hysterical to my family and my first roommates who had to deal with the cluttered messy me.

Anyway back to the matter at hand. Now that you know how much room you have it's time to pare down your stuff until you can fit it into the space that you have available. I like to look at things in three major categories. 1) Use Frequently, 2) Use Seasonally, and 3) Sentimental. So the first step is to divide your stuff into those categories. You can either pull everything out and actually separate them into the three piles, or you can do this step mentally. The next thing that you need to do is look at each pile. Do you actually use these things or did you buy them with the intention of using them and never have. For example the kitchen. I own 7 Mix n' Scrapers this may seem like an excessive amount, but since I frequently have 4-6 of them in the dishwasher on any given day, they are the right amount for me. Because of this though, I was able to get rid of a large number of my wooden spoons. They looked nice, and every kitchen is supposed to have one right? Wrong, if you don't actually use it you probably don't need it. This method is most effective for evaluating your frequent use pile.

For the second pile, the Seasonal one, you can look at it in terms of amount of use each item gets, but also if you really love it. For seasonal clothing, you need a winter coat, and a swim suit, but how many of each do you really need? For example I live in Las Vegas, so I need 1 winter coat, but a couple of lighter ones. I also need like 3 swimsuits because in the summer the girls and I are in the water When I lived in England I needed multiple coats, for all sorts of weather and various amounts of rain, but didn't own a swimsuit at all. Be realistic about your lifestyle and climate. You might adore cute winter scarves and hats, but if you live in a desert where it never seems to get below 50 you probably don't need 30 of them.

For seasonal decorations, well this is one of my problems. In my dream house I would have a fully changeable house with a neutral background and changeable accessories for every season. However, I just don't have the room to store pictures, throw pillows, curtains and other decor for every season and holiday in my house. So I have limited myself to the room that I have available. I have just enough Christmas stuff to decorate the house I live in, if we move to a bigger house in the future AND have the storage space to handle it, I will probably get more.

Wow, this post has gotten WAY longer than I intended. So break time for today. I'll be back later with a little advice for how to deal with sentimental stuff. One of the hardest areas to declutter in. Until then smile!

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