February to March Decluttering, Organising, Chores and GSD
posted February 15, 2023 12:03 PM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Wed March 15 at 8:00 PM
A follow-on from mochapickle's Apartment Therapy January Cure 2023. That was a supportive space for those of us decluttering, cleaning, organising, and generally making our spaces more efficient or pleasant; I hope this can be the same.
posted by paduasoy to Online (17 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I've been working with a virtual decluttering coach for a few weeks now and it's going ... ok I guess? I would like it to be faster and less painless but I am making progress in the Room of Doom, which is something. I've taken around 25 bags of books and other stuff to charity shops.

A couple of strategies the coach and I have worked out between us which might be useful to others. I need to spend some time on the RoD after I get home from work, and this is quite difficult to motivate myself to do. It helps to hang an apron by the front door before I leave in the morning, and to leave coffee in a thermos. I pick up those things and go up to the RoD before doing anything else, apart from feeding the cat. I only do half an hour at this time, but it feels productive to do even a small amount.
posted by paduasoy at 12:07 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]

Woohoo! Thank you paduasoy for the invitation. I would love to hear any tips you have from the decluttering coach...I myself tried to get a few quotes from professional organizers but I keep chickening out. I don't know why. Anyway, I have a bunch of boxes and stuff to get through.

In the meantime...I dropped off some posters and artwork to get framed. And I have a box of stuff to post for the Buy Nothing group in my area.
posted by toastyk at 12:24 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]

I am in the throes of a decluttering clothes moment. Last month we did a long-debated and much needed closet repair (pier-and-beam house, hatch to the underneath in closet, hatch doesn't close) after we did a bunch of house repairs that required hatch/underneath access like plumbing and HVAC work.

So as soon as I recover from what I'm pretty sure is an oncoming cold Imma gonna pull the rest of the clothes out of the closet and thank some of them for their service and send them on to someone who will hopefully get more use. For now I'm just trying to wear all the different things left in the closet and figuring out which ones Spark Joy and which ones Do Not Spark Joy. Last night spouse took me out for Valentine's and I wore a dress I hadn't worn yet. It was fantastic and I'm glad I tried it because I might have ditched it otherwise.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 1:25 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]

Ooh, framing stuff sounds good. I dug up an old photograph I want to get framed, but have had bad experiences with judgemental framers; might investigate online services.

One of the coach's big things is visualising the space as it will be like when you have it sorted and have made it into a room which fits your personality and lifestyle. She would probably say, actually, that I shouldn't refer to the Room of Doom, but find a new and positive name for it. Might talk to her about that. I will say that I continue to dread the sessions with her; it's only an hour but it feels an endless time to talk about feelings. Not that it's entirely about feelings of course but they do tend to be the focus.

That's great about wearing a dress from the pile! I've been reading books that have been buried in the Room for years. If anyone else has a book hoarding problem, by the way, there was an Ask about it a while ago: Help me break the vicious cycle of book hoarding. And here is the Ask tag for decluttering.
posted by paduasoy at 1:40 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]

And a question about decluttering paper ephemera that's not in the decluttering tag: Fewer papers please.
posted by paduasoy at 1:43 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]

paduasoy, thank you for posting! I'm still working through my January list and I'm glad to have this thread to keep things on track.

I really like the idea of visualizing the room and what your life might look like putting the room to use in the future. My little office room/guest room on the north side of the house was coming along well last year and it was a cool and comfortable haven for me during the summer months, but then this fall it ended up being a catch-all for items that didn't fit anywhere else. By this point it's taken on the mythology of Bluebeard's Room, highly secretive and forbidden to everyone, but instead of hiding a sea of murdered corpses it's just... tax receipts and semi-abandoned sewing projects.

So now my plan is to get it back in working order, getting it back to a place that's open and inspiring. I also have a small garage that is too small for a car but apparently big enough for literally everything else, and that needs work as well.
posted by mochapickle at 2:16 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]

I've somehow become the repository for everyone else's stuff. Found my sister's A Level notes from 22 years ago; I've moved three times since then so I have no idea why I have them. Found a bag of my stepfather's mother's childhood photographs; I only met the woman once and she has many other family members who could have these things. That one is going to need a tricky conversation with my own mother.
posted by paduasoy at 6:14 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]

We hired a housecleaner. It was painful in cost for the first time deep cleaning, but honestly well worth it, especially since we hadn't really done deep cleaning in months. I no longer feel disgusted by the state of our baseboards, the windows look nice, the counters are clear, and the floors feel amazing.

Next: taxes. Boxes of stuff to go through and purge.

My mom has offered to take all my old towels. She really hates waste, so I can be sure it will be put to good use as rags and other things.

Has anyone worked out a good laundry system for their family of four? I just seem to keep leaving all the clean clothes in baskets, and that's probably not a good habit to be teaching the kids.
posted by toastyk at 7:23 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]

toastyk, that's great news!

I've managed to offload the box of my stepfather's paperwork on to my mother, which is good. I did do a cull first and got rid of things like furniture bills from the 1980s and his motorcyle insurance from the same sort of time. Made the mistake of mentioning that to my mother and she said "he'd have liked to see that!". Good to get things gone though. I also found estate agent ads for every house he'd ever bought or sold. One of the ads, from probably the 1970s, advertised that the agency had a sherry party every Sunday morning from 10 to 12. Bizarre.

I've actually pretty much finished in RoD one. Not sure how that happened but took a day off to spend time on it and got rather obsessed. Need to start on RoD two, but don't have any time this week.
posted by paduasoy at 4:55 PM on February 20 [5 favorites]

So much more to do, but while waiting for tea to brew yesterday I took a scrubby sponge to the stove and the dishwasher front panels and now both look sleek and new. So excited to read your updates!
posted by mochapickle at 5:48 PM on February 22 [4 favorites]

Hi! Hope everyone's been doing well.

1. I managed to send off all our tax documents to the tax guy.
2. Having the housecleaner come every 2 weeks has been amazing. No more dustballs piling up. I am able to get the kids to help with cleanup and not feel like we have to clean up the entire house in one go. Worth the expense not to have to do floors and toilets on our own.
3. We picked out a few great frames for 2 art prints. Framing stuff was more expensive than we expected. But honestly, looking at how beautifully they set off the work, well worth it.
4. I ordered covid tests from our insurance, and am setting a reminder to do so again at the end of the month, since I believe they're ending free covid tests in May.
5. I scheduled a bunch of drs' appointments, just had one of them yesterday.
6. Next: cleaning out the linen closets and KonMari-ing (is that a verb?) the clothes. The elementary school is holding a fundraiser where they're taking used textiles to be recycled and repurposed. So I can toss all the stuff with holes without guilt.
posted by toastyk at 9:10 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]

Happy to report that the office project is underway! Last year, when I set up the office in its current permutation, I still had a few boxes of old paperwork remaining, so now it's that plus whatever doesn't succeed in making it back into the closet. Plus whatever books don't fit on shelves. Plus all the craft supplies. Today I have discovered I don't need any more craft supplies. So I have divided, and first I will tackle the remaining paperwork.

The other good news is we have window people coming in a few weeks to look at replacing one window in the office (inexplicably there's one beautiful new window that matches the rest of the house, and another window that looks possibly original, complete with paint-covered cording) and the thin window in the laundry room which weirdly looks like it might have been repurposed from an RV.
posted by mochapickle at 4:44 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]

I recently painted the inside of a built-in cupboard, and I've been putting off the job of going through the bags and boxes that were shoved in there willy-nilly. It's right next to the front door so it's tempting to treat it as a hold-all, but I want it to be... is it weird to describe a cupboard as approachable?

So I've been avoiding it but yesterday I went through the 'bike stuff' box and accepted that I probably don't need three spare bike battery-operated brake lights, especially as I much prefer USB rechargable ones, or the hooked elastic webbing that's losing its elasticity and I haven't used since I bought expensive panniers. They are out of here! I spent some time cleaning off the bike lights with methylated spirits - they were covered in sticky tape residue, because that was how I used to attach them to my bike, which was a little insight into my past self.

I also went through the camera stuff my mum gave me (in an old toaster box, so I nearly took it straight to the op shop without realising there was a camera inside) and looked up the camera on Marketplace and found I might be able to get as much as $250 for it. If I sell my heavy and bulky DLSR as well, I could buy a nice compact mirrorless camera, which was a revalation to me. You mean I have two cameras just sitting around that with a little effort I could transform into a camera I would enjoy using? Astonishing!
posted by happyfrog at 2:00 PM on March 9 [4 favorites]

I cleared out the linen closet. Holy moly...I found crib covers...my oldest is in middle school now. Anyway, that and several other things have been posted to the Buy Nothing group and there are takers for almost everything. Whatever does not get picked up will get donated to the school's fundraisers.
posted by toastyk at 8:48 AM on March 11 [5 favorites]

This is great - I love hearing people's updates.

I have uncovered some floor in my second room of doom! Only got two more sessions to go with the cheerily encouraging organiser (who fills me with dread) so am hoping to get to a reasonable point by then. I have set up my work laptop in the workroom, the former room of doom 1, and been working in there so that's good.

Had my father over yesterday for the day and we finished going through two large boxes of things from his father's house. So many photographs, going back to at least 1914, and unless my aunt does, I don't think anyone knows who lots of the people are. Found several of cats ("Tigger's baby having her first stalk", about 1938), and also a postcard from Arthur Ransome, so that was exciting.

Need to carve out some time this weekend to make more progress. And also draft an email to my aunt explaining that I'm returning a large box of Stuff to her, one that she can't refuse. We did weed out some stuff for Oxfam and the bin, and my father is keeping some, so she's not going to have to deal with the whole thing.
posted by paduasoy at 12:53 AM on March 18 [3 favorites]

I have cleaned the laundry room!
posted by mochapickle at 8:31 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]

A couple of weekends ago we went over to my FiL's house and received some things from him as part of his Swedish Cleaning effort. (Mostly around my MiL who is not in hospice care but has Parkinson's and is clearly fading, so some things for my husband from his maternal grandfather and some jewelry for me.)

We were out of town last weekend but this weekend is going to be cleaning out some things and getting rid of some outright junk so we can make room for the new things in our lives.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 8:38 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.