Bedroom Rearrange and Book Purge

As I mentioned in my last post we decided to rearrange our bedroom this past weekend.   We are jumping back into the decluttering so we can have an easier time when we are able to move to a new home.  I concentrated my efforts on my books since there were so many.  Instead of just looking at the books on the shelves in my bedroom, I ended up going through all of my books.  I had some pretty good success and was able to cut out nearly 70 books!  For the upstairs shelf, as I put back the books on the shelf I held each one in my hand and asked myself if I was really ever going to read it and how long I have owned it without reading it.  For the other shelves, I didn’t take all of the books off but I looked over each one and asked myself those same questions.  Some were duplicates that I gave to a friend, others I will be able to sell for a bit of money, and the rest will be donated to our town’s annual hospital auxiliary book sale.  I didn’t take photos of all of the books but here are a bunch of them.

I have been collecting the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon for about a year now.  I started out with all of the mass market paperbacks but decided to also get every edition I could get my hands on.  I now have 12 different editions of the first book alone.  And the complete set of US trade paperbacks so I decided to let my US mass market set go to my friend who also loves the series and has been borrowing them from me.  I also gave her my mass market copies of the first 8 books of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.  I upgraded those to hardcover and she loves that series as well.

I am still getting used to the new bedroom setup but Ethan has said that he likes it better and that it feels more open.  So without further ado, here is our new setup.

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Our bed is now up against the wall of our office.  Since we are planning to sell our house next year we decided not to make any more nail holes for artwork.  We had to take down the artwork above our bed to accomodate the TV and bookshelf but we will not be putting them back up on the empty wall.

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Now on the shared wall with the neighbor we have my dresser, bookshelves and tv.

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The room feels a lot brighter and even a little bigger now!

After decluttering my books a bit, I am back in the mood to declutter the rest of the house so stay tuned for additional purges!

Getting Back to KonMari

Wow!  I have seriously been neglecting this blog!  Sorry about that!  Things have been so busy in my personal life and between that and my book blog, I’ve let this one slip.

I hit a road block with decluttering my house.  In fact, everything I did before seems to have been for nothing because my house has never been more messy than it is now!  But I am determined to get back into the zone and KonMari the heck out of my house.  It’s kind of the perfect time for me now because we are having to rearrange our bedroom all because we have really crappy neighbors who like to blast loud bass music.  I’ve asked the guy to turn it down and he did… slightly.  On Wednesday night, we were woken up in the middle of the night to the thump of the bass.  I ended up sleeping downstairs on the couch because I couldn’t sleep up there.  Ugh.  We are hoping to be able to sell this place earlier next year but for now we will have to deal with this neighbor until at least October-ish when their lease runs out.  Anyways, enough with the rant and onto the details of the rearrangement which will lead to KonMari work.

Our bed is currently up against the shared wall with the neighbor, hence the need for the rearrange.  We will basically be flipping the furniture in the room 180 degrees.

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This is our current set up on the shared wall.  I don’t have a before picture of the other wall but it has a bookcase, a shorter bookcase that holds our TV, and my dresser.

Last night I started the process of taking the smaller things off of the bigger furniture items.  I began by taking all of my books off of the bookcase and stacking them on the window seat.  When I saw the end result of that, I knew I needed to get back into KonMari.  Incidentally, I am also challenging myself and others to concentrate on reading all of the books they own but haven’t read yet.  So earlier this year I took an inventory of all of my books and marked the unread ones.  You can see my stats here and why I think a book purge is necessary for me at this point – My Home Library.  More than 50% of my books are unread!  And considering how many books are unread compared to my average of books per year, it would take me over 3 years to finish them all!

Here is the photo of all of the books stacked on my window seat for the rearranging.

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So after we get all of the big furniture pieces moved tonight or tomorrow I am going to go through each book and purge those that don’t “spark joy”.

Stay tuned for photos of the final arrangement 🙂

 

KonMari Update

Since I last posted I worked on a lot of things.  I have now completed the clothing category which was perfect timing because in Minnesota we have a charity called the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota that occasionally has pick-up days.  You’ll get a postcard in the mail announcing when they will be in your neighborhood.  All you have to do is bag and/or box up whatever you want to donate (as long as they are accepted items) and set them on your curb, label them with the postcard or a paper that says EF and they come around and pick them up.  Lucky for me, they are coming today!

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I had 8 bags full of clothes, outerwear, and even some stuffed animals.  The printer box is full of shoes, at least 10 pairs.  The small box is full of cookbooks.

My biggest success this weekend was my husband wanting to go through his clothes in the closet!  On the floor of his side of the closet he had a ton of pants that were in a very very messy pile.  We were able to donate almost every single pair because they were too small.  We were going to go through his dresser too but ran out of time.

On Saturday I pulled several books off my bookshelves that I had not read.  They were the kind of books that I keep around for a quick read, mostly Nora Roberts and Robyn Carr.  I felt I could easily get rid of those whereas most of my other books would be nearly impossible for me to give up, even the ones I haven’t read yet.  Then I pulled up two boxes of books we had in the basement to sort through.  One was a book of mostly coffee table type books.  I have a great love for Ireland so I have a few Ireland books that I was not able to get rid of.  I did pull out an old high school history textbook and a really old cookbook.  In the other box was all of my late childhood-early teens books.  I was able to pull out all of them and put them on shelves except for the American Girls books.  Those I was able to put in the box with the remaining coffee table books though.  I was able to eliminate an entire box out of our packed storage room!  I also started to go through the things in our office.  Some of these things are hard for me to pull out by category because I’m not sure exactly what I have.

Yesterday I worked through all of our paper mess.  I was able to pull a large stack that needs to be shredded, and an even bigger pile that could just be recycled.

Even though I am far from being done with this process, my house is already looking more clutter free than it has since we moved in!  It’s been a lot easier for me to put things away when I am done using them because I am loving the way it looks!

The next three weekends I will be out of town so I won’t have much time to work on KMing my house but I feel as though I’m at a good place right now.  I may work on it a few nights after work here and there.

KonMari Method: Day 3

Last night I went for something small and easy (for me) because I had other things going on yesterday and didn’t have a lot of time to devote to KM.  I chose to do makeup and jewelry.  I don’t often wear makeup and when I do it’s only mascara and eyeshadow.  Maybe eyeliner depending on the occasion.  I don’t like lipstick or foundation or blush (which I don’t need because I have no problem blushing lol).  I don’t wear a lot of jewelry either, never have.  The only jewelry I wear 24/7 is my wedding ring and my little silver hoops.  I take my ring off when I do dishes, garden, and put lotion on otherwise it never leaves my finger.  I take my earrings out to clean them and clean my ears but other than that I almost never wear any earrings besides these unless it’s a special occasion.  I’ll wear a necklace occasionally and have a couple of favorites when it comes to that.  I used to wear beaded bracelets that I had made but one of my cats was obsessed with biting on them and pulling it so they stretched out and got annoying.

KonMari Day 3

Before I kept my earrings in one of those small clear tackle boxes that you can see in the top left photo at the bottom of the picture.  My other jewelry I kept in the bottom of one of those three tiered snap containers from Target.  My makeup fit in the next two tiers.  I was able to fit all of my jewelry in the bottom tier of the snap container and my makeup and tools in another, leaving one completely empty which I will probably use for hair accessories after I KM those.  I’m not quite sure what I will now use the little tackle box for now and who knows, maybe I won’t even need it!

I still had a little time left before I needed to get to bed for work in the morning so I decided to go through my chapstick and lip balm collection and my little Victoria’s Secret perfume sprays.  Two years ago I was going crazy ordering things on VS around Christmas time and they had all kinds of freebie deals going on.  So I wound up getting probably 4-5 packages of their mini perfume sprays for free.  I gave a couple away as gifts but kept two for myself.  I went through each one and smelled them to see if there were any that I really didn’t like.  After that I had only gotten rid of 1.  So then I decided I would just keep one of each scent (I had 2-3 of certain scents).  Then I moved on to my chapstick and lip balms.  I love chapstick and have to have it with me at all times.  For many years my favorite was Burt’s Bees.  That place has now moved to the EOS lip balms.  They’re a little awkward to have on your person though so if I’m every going anywhere I don’t have a purse I will bring a Burt’s Bees with me as the next best thing.  After I purged my chapsticks and the mini perfume sprays I was able to fit them all in the awesome bowl I used to hold my chapsticks.  This is a bowl I could never ever get rid of.  I got it when I was in France in 2009 at a place called Taize which is basically a non-denominational monastery.  The monks there make this awesome pottery and have so many different colors and types of pottery.  I loved this bowl the second I saw it.  I also bought a votive holder that they made too in a different color.  Those two items spark joy without a doubt in my mind!

kmd3Stay tuned for more progress!

KonMari Method: Day 2

On Tuesday I did not have as much time to work on KonMari as I would have liked.  But it was my mother-in-law’s birthday so we went out for dinner to celebrate.  We didn’t get home until 7:30 so I just dove right in and got done what I was able to.  I pulled out more socks and underwear, not much but better than nothing.  Then I decided to tackle my tank top drawer and my work-out clothes.  I have a lot of tank tops that I use for layering and for sleeping.  I get really warm when I sleep so I always have to sleep in a tank top.  I started with 45 tank tops (this did not include my nicer tank tops that I have hanging in my closet).  Many of these I never wear and probably never would.  I was able to cut that number in half.  Most of those I will be able to donate but there were a few that were too stained or holey (thanks to my cats) to pass on to someone else.

KonMari Day 2 Tank Tops

Before I KMed this drawer, I had to push down on the piles to get the drawer to close!  Now I have plenty of space to add my t-shirts that I have hanging in my closet.  I can’t believe how much room I have now!  It feels so great!

Next I went to my bottom drawer where I kept all of my work-out clothes.  I had sports bras, racerback tanks, pants and capris (along with my large collection of lotions).  I didn’t really have a lot of work out clothes but the drawer was just messy and in need of some KM folding.  I started with 8 work-out tops and was able to get rid of  4 that I just really didn’t like and have never worn.  I had 10 bottoms and only got rid of 1 pair.  I might re-think that and pull out one more but I haven’t quite decided on that one pair yet.  I did not get rid of any sports bras (of which I have 7) but I am also thinking about revisiting those.

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The best part of KM folding these clothes was that they were all able to fit in my smaller top drawer where my swimming suits had been.  I was able to free up the entire bottom drawer!

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I can’t wait to get started on my closet so I can remove some of the things that are hanging that shouldn’t be and KM fold them to go in this bottom drawer and my tank top drawer!

I did not do any KonMari on Wednesday because I was working on finishing a library book before I have to return it today after work.  I am hoping to start KMing at least one of the categories of clothes in my closet today.  I’m just really glad that it is getting close to the weekend so I can have all day to KM my things!

Stay tuned for more progress!

KonMari Method: Day 1

Wow!  It has been a LONG time since I have posted anything on this blog!  So sorry for the neglect but I’m back and working on what could possibly be one of the biggest projects of my life.  I’m sure many of you have heard of the latest decluttering trend called the KonMari Method which was created by Marie Kondo in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

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I’ve been seeing this book floating around for a few months but didn’t really start thinking seriously about it until the last week.  I started doing some research online trying to find before and after photos and testimonials from other bloggers who have tried it.  I was able to find a few that basically broke down the gist of the book with a few photos of their progress.  I decided that if I were going to do this I would need to document my progress from the beginning to the end to help me realize just how much stuff I had.  So as I go along and work through the different categories I will be taking photos and posting updates.  When I reach the end (which could be anywhere up to 6 months from now) I will post a summary of what I was able to accomplish.

The book breaks down into the different steps of the process.

1.  Visualize the lifestyle you want.

2.  Work by category, not by location, and in the order she provides – Clothing, books, paper, miscellaneous, sentimental.  She wants you to work from what she feels is the easiest to the hardest so you can get the hang of the decision making process.

3.  Gather every item in one category in one place so you can see exactly how much of that item you have.

4.  Take every single item into your hands and ask yourself if the item “sparks joy” – sounds a little time consuming and weird but it works.

5.  Store items vertically, not horizontally – especially when it comes to folding clothes.  She has a special method to folding clothes and it allows you to see each item.  Rather than having to search through a stack of t-shirts to find the one you’re looking for, you can just scan the rows and find it right away!

6.  Do it in as little time as possible – many decluttering methods say to do a little bit every day.  Kondo believes that if you follow that approach you will never complete the decluttering process.  She wants all of her clients (yes, she helps people tidy their homes for a living!) to take no more than 6 months to complete the process.  Out of all her clients who have completed the process, 100% of them have continued to have a clutter free home.  After this process, there will be a place for everything so the only “tidying” you will be doing is just putting things back in their place when you’re done using it.

The best part of this method (for me) is that you don’t have to buy any kind of storage tools!  Kondo believes storage experts are basically hoarders because you aren’t really doing anything besides hiding the clutter.

Now you might ask why I am going to spend so much time on this project.  The simplest answer is that I have way too much stuff.  My husband and I live with two cats in an 1167 townhome that is very cluttered.  It’s hard for me to feel completely comfortable and relaxed in our home because I just look around and see all of the clutter.  I am (and my husband is too) one of those people who holds on to things they don’t use in the present but feel they might need them at some unknown point in the future.  I am also a sentimental person so I hold onto things that have a special meaning to me even when they are long past use and are just packed away in boxes.  I’ve been feeling incredibly overwhelmed by this, especially more recently and it makes me hate living in my house.

I purchased the Kindle edition of the book yesterday and began reading it even though I felt like I had the gist of the process down from my research.  I’m glad I did buy it because even though I’m only 40% of my way through the book, I’ve already come across other tips like hiding the garbage and donation bags from your family so they don’t feel the urge to look through what you are getting rid of and try to keep it or guilt you into keeping it.

Despite my having read that particular tip yesterday I decided to start the process with my husband around.  He was watching TV in our bedroom while I decided to tackle my socks and underwear drawers.  While I was able to significantly decrease what I had, it was a mistake doing it in front of him because he was getting a little mad at me for throwing away so much.  He said I was pouring money down the drain.  Needless to say I will be doing this alone from now on.  But don’t worry!  I will only be doing this with stuff that is 100% mine.  Kondo believes that if you are in a family situation trying to do this but one or more of your family members isn’t on board, you should leave their stuff alone and just continue doing your stuff.  Chances are they will be thoroughly impressed by your progress and will want to join in on their own.  No conflict that way and no forcing someone to do what they don’t want to do!

So, as I said in the last paragraph, I decided to tackle my socks and underwear drawers.  I was so excited to start that I forgot to take before photos but I can tell you that both drawers were filled to the brim.  After I had pulled everything out of the drawers, I couldn’t believe how many I had!  I started with 68 pairs of underwear.  68!!!!!  I couldn’t believe it!  I was able to throw out 50% of them.  I plan to go through them again when my husband is not there to comment on what I’m throwing away.  I had even more pairs of socks!  102 pairs!  That is such a ridiculous number.  I was able to cut out 40% of those without too much grumbling from my husband but I am definitely going to go through them again to weed out some more.

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My sock drawer (top left) now had room left over for me to put my 3 swimming suit sets!  I was hoping to combine my underwear and socks together in one drawer but that didn’t work last night.  Perhaps after I comb through them again I will be able to achieve that goal.  As you can see, I still have too many of both socks and underwear but I still feel as though I did a good job with what I was able to do.  I love the KonMari way of folding too!  Look how nice it is to be able to see all of the different colors and patterns without having to thumb through stacks.

I can’t wait to start tackling the rest of my clothes!  I didn’t get much done yesterday after work but I am already starting to feel some of that stress lift away!  I am not looking forward to the book category after I complete the clothes.  That will probably be one of the hardest categories for me.

Stay tuned to see more of my progress!

Project Packrat Update #1

I had a successful first weekend of Project Packrat!  I didn’t actually get to start when I had planned on it.  Spontaneous dinner plans with friends are a much more pleasing thought than spending my Friday night sorting through my crap.  Then I had forgotten about our plans to see The Hobbit on Saturday and then grocery shop afterwards.  We decided to go to a theater we hadn’t been to yet.  A friend of ours raves about the seats there so we decided to give it a try.

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We went to the Marcus Theater in Rosemount.  It’s not like any other theater I had ever been to where you sit wherever.  When you buy your ticket, you reserve your seat.  And the seats you can see in the middle right of this photo!  They recline!  So awesome!  Definitely will be returning to this theater again in the future!  I loved being able to fully relax at the movies!

I finally started working on clutter when we got home and then all day on Sunday!  I got so much done!  I concentrated on our office because that closet holds a lot of crap.

Saturday my tasks were to purge my magazine and nail polish collections.  I had subscriptions to Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Better Homes and Gardens (it was cheap!), Prevention, National Geographic, Smithsonian and Cook’s Illustrated.  The only ones I kept were the Nat Geo, Smithsonian and Cook’s Illustrated.

Onward to the recycling bin!

Onward to the recycling bin!

My nail polish collection is probably the girliest thing about me.  I was always a tomboy growing up but I do love painting my nails with all kinds of different colors.  When I’m at the store I love looking for new colors but Ethan always drags me away.  He just doesn’t understand 🙂  But I was able to purge this many!  And the best part is that I will be bringing them to Christmas Eve to see if any of Ethan’s cousins or aunt want any of them.  Whatever is left will be thrown away.

The sad thing is I still have double this many left!

The sad thing is I still have double this many left!

On Sunday I was able to really get down to business!  I put on some Gilmore Girls and just went to town.  My first task was to start pulling things out of the messy closet and try to make sense of the chaos.  What I don’t show in the following picture is that our card table is usually shoved in there as well.

IMG_20141221_094428I already had a bunch of papers in my to-shred box but by the time I was done, it was overflowing!  I still need to actually shred everything though.

PicMonkey Collage2While searching through my keepsakes I found this gem from when I was growing up!  I don’t remember where it was taken but I do remember it being taken!  It was so hard for me to keep a straight face!  And the dress was actually meant for a woman so it was super long!  I look a tad ridiculous!  But can’t beat those awesome family memories!

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At one point, Enzo decided he wanted to “help” but his help mostly consisted of him sitting in this box I was trying to use to sort things.  Oh well!

IMG_20141221_102511I finally got tired of sitting on the floor to sort things so I set up the card table to make it easier.  And then it was also easier to see my Gilmore Girls!

IMG_20141221_131426By the time I decided I was done for the day, I was exhausted.  I ended up taking at least 3 boxes full of recycling down to the recycling bin in our garage and at least 2 bags of garbage.  There is still plenty to do in that closet and the rest of the house but I feel like I got a good start!  My kitties got exhausted just watching me do everything!

IMG_20141221_131135I’m hoping to attack some more on this weekend before my brother gets here but we’ll see how that goes.

Project Packrat

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So anybody who knows me personally knows that I am a packrat. I have a problem getting rid of stuff.  What makes it a bigger problem is that my husband is a packrat too (You know it’s true, E)!

We live in a 1167 sq ft town home and it is just full of stuff. I am exaggerating a little but the biggest problem is that everything is cluttered. It has slowly been driving me bonkers.

We will be living there for a few more years so my goal is to make it more liveable and less cluttered. Whenever I search on Pinterest for decluttering ideas, I continually see the same message: clutter = stress. So true!!  When I come home from work, I want to be able to relax but when all I see is clutter I can’t. I start stressing and think about how much I hate it in my house.

Well, it is finally time for me to do something about it! I am determined to declutter my home by the time spring comes, which will give me plenty of time because winter in Minnesota is looooooooong. I am calling this stretch of time Project Packrat. I may not be able to get E to downsize his stuff/junk but I will admit that at least 60% of the junk in our house is mine.

If I can stick to my guns and not question myself when I decide something has to go, I should be able to significantly lessen the amount of clutter in our home.  I will periodically post updates on my progress.
Here’s hoping this project is a success!