Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busy work. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now. Now! Not tomorrow!
Decluttering, downsizing and simplifying. Those words are my mantra these days though I am still a long way off from my goal of implementing these ideas in full. I am part of a Christian Women's Group that is using the month of January to declutter and we are encouraging one another so I feel I am making progress. The Og Mandino quote above is not so much about decluttering the house but decluttering one's life. My feeling is that one needs to declutter and simplify one's surroundings (home, office,private spaces) before one can declutter a life and focus on fully seizing the precious moments in life.
Here is a little project from the weekend that involved cleaning out my kitchen drawers and lower cupboards. It involved purging the "junk" and reorganizing things to make the drawers and cupboards tidier as well as more efficient.
The cutlery drawer was not organized as such but was cleaned. Now I'm thinking I would like a new cutlery tray. I don't even remember where I got this cutlery tray but it is truly ancient and I don't even like brown. I have a knife block but I find I like to keep my knives in their sharpening holders (the white things on the right). There is also block for knife sharpening at the back of the drawer.
I decided it wasn't tidy enough and it looked like it would quickly get disorganized again, especially when my roommate rummages around. To remedy this, I went to purchase some inexpensive plastic baskets to keep things better organized. This is what the drawer looks like now.
In the back (left) are gadgets we don't use that often. On the right, are items we use almost daily. In the fore are the measuring spoons and few gadgets that we use often. After adding the plastic organizer there was no longer room to store the blender but I kept the beaters there.
You might wonder about the blue plastic. It came as a "gift" in the plastic baggie box. It is a reusable plastic cover for bowls. I know that many in the frugal movement would not use plastic and/or disposable wraps, etc. I agree that reducing usage and reliance on disposables is an excellent idea. I do it in other areas of my life. For example, I use re-usable totes for food shopping and other shopping. Where I have to rely on store provided plastic bags, I re-use these rather than toss them as part of my overall "reduce, reuse, recycle" effort. These days I seldom have to use a plastic shopping bag as I usually have my own with me. Once I've simplified my life, I can perhaps make some reusable wrapping products or I can buy some here. At least it is something to think about.
This drawer is a catch all for hammers, screwdrivers and pliers, as well as some bungee cords and various weights of string for packing. We also keep our flashlights here for those power outages that occur from time to time. I do have a small tool box which I keep in a closet as well but it doesn't hold much and it isn't handy for those quick jobs that always need doing around the house which is why I keep the tools in the drawer.
After photo of the same drawer after adding one plastic tray. It might still look a little cluttered but everything is neatly stored in zip-log baggies (like-with-like) to keep them from spilling all over and getting jumbled.
This is what the drawers look like when they are empty. I put the ivy patterned mactac in the drawers when I first purchased the condo. I like the pattern and I also like the ease of wiping the drawers clean with this coating on them.
The bottom kitchen drawer in the Before photo below, is probably for holding pots and pans. I was using it for linens and such. Over time it became a catch all for other kitchen items that didn't fit anywhere. It had become a place where I feared to look.
It is much neater now in the After photo below. I've decided to keep my nicer damask table cloth, napkins and place mats in here. I probably should take them out of the plastic bags and find something more suitable so they can breathe. I'm thinking of trying to make something like this linen keeper (fabric not yet decided). The brown wooden chest contains my collection of better flatware.
A close up of the flatware. For every day use, I have a mismatched assortment for daily use pictured in the first photo in this blog (above). The set was wasn't always mismatched. Somehow though, cutlery pieces just seem to go astray, much like socks disappear when doing the laundry.
A side cupboard in the photo below has undergone several usages. The most recent is storage for the thermos and juice flasks, food wrapping materials (plastic, foil, baggies, wax paper), and big jugs of vinegar for cleaning.
The lower shelf has two plastic trays. I've placed one in the very back where I've put my new dish cloths and tea towels. In the front, I have my apron and another daily use table cloth, as well as the electric beater.
I have two of these side cupboards, pictured in the photo below. One on each side of the kitchen sink. I don't actually like them because they have very small doors and it is hard to reach into the back of the cupboards to clean them or to reach things you need. But I must make use of them as that is what I have. One side of the cupboard is for plastic containers, mixing bowls, and saucepans as well as glass bake ware. Other pots and pans are stored in the stove oven and in the stove drawer. A few larger pots are stored atop the kitchen cabinets.
The cupboard on the other side (pictured below) is used for food storage. The upper food shelf is for canned goods as well as dried items like legumes, beans, etc. The lower shelf (at back) is for baking items (like sugar, coconut, specialty flours) and small baskets of potatoes and onions/garlic. This side of the cupboard will need more organization but for now this clean up will do.
Whew! I think I accomplished a lot. Not only did I clean these shelves and drawers and reorganize them but I had to go out and purchase some new baskets, tablecloth and dish towels too.
I have much more de-cluttering and organizing to do in the apartment over the coming weeks and months and the kitchen is not entirely done yet. But I have made some good progress this month.
Later this week, I will tackle some of the unpacked boxes in the living room. I also hope to begin going through some of the unpacked boxes in my bedroom. Some of you who follow my blog will remember we had a fire in May 2009. We were lodging in a hotel for several months. Now that we have moved in and have a lot of new furniture (replaced by insurance) I have a lot of things I want to eliminate. I was contemplating a major de-clutter project before the fire but after the fire, I didn't have any choice! Now that I am retired I can also get rid of boxes and boxes of files and papers I no longer need or wish to keep.
As we enter into 2010, I find many people are de-cluttering. How about you? What de-cluttering projects do you have underway? If you are like me, clutter makes you feel disorganized and somewhat overwhelmed. Cleaning up the clutter frees up my mind as well as my spirit and makes me feel so good!
Good luck with your de-cluttering.