This past weekend we had our second Christmas celebration (out of three), and the only one that was at our house. Almost immediately after my parents left, I started to take down all the decorations. It took all of 10 minutes to take down Christmas. It took more time to get into the attic to put everything away than it took to take everything down and box it all up. I have an extremely small house, so when everything was taken down, it shocked me at how big my living room was. And my how empty it was. I love it!
This past year has been all about simplifying my life. About figuring out the important things and purging the non-important things. It's been about downsizing. I've stated before that I'm a recovering hoarder (OK, not hoarder so much as pack rat). I always think, maybe I'll use this some day. This past year has been about letting that go. There are still things I can't part with because of the "maybe I'll use it" part of my brain, but it's a lot less.
Recently, I've been reading a lot of organization sites. First thing I found is that the majority of these sites are for people with larger houses than what I have. One great idea I found is storing my sheets in their own pillowcases. Well, I can't do that because my linen closet is too narrow. I've found tons of great closet organizers, for bigger closets than what my son has. I've found a ton of laundry room solutions, for people who have an actual laundry room. Places for shoes in a mudroom or hallway? Found those ideas, but no mudroom and very narrow hallway. So, it's up to me to make the most of my space because, obviously, everyone else who organizes lives in a place bigger than mine, or they have no kids.
My organization technique has mostly been downsizing. What do we really need? What are we going to be needing in the near future? In the past year, I have probably given away 50% of my clothes and shoes. I've given away all but a couple articles of clothing from each child. I've given away clothes Husband just doesn't wear anymore. I've gone through toys and have gotten rid of a huge amount. I've donated many, many books to the library or posted them on Paperbackswap.com.
It's funny then I when I read sites that the first thing they tell you to do is downsize. And then they take you day by day or week by week. I do half the stuff they say at least once a month, and I can still find more. It doesn't take me a full day to clean everything out of my kitchen. I only have 12 very small cabinets. Clean out my bathroom? No problem, only one of those. The kids drawers and closets? Well, that one is the easiest. In order to fit all the clothes they have, I must constantly go through and just get rid of stuff at random.
I'm on top of it. I'm ahead of the curve. I've been downsizing for a year. So why is it I still feel unorganized? Paperwork. It all boils down to paperwork. The computer room/playroom/office is insane. There are piles of papers everywhere. There is so much that it hurts my head, which is another reason why it's taken me so long to write this. Every time I step foot into this room, my brain immediately goes haywire. I can't focus. Even now as I type that, I stop, swivel around in my chair, look at the room and make mental lists of everything that needs to be done.
My problem with this room is two-fold. Time is an issue. I literally need a good solid four to six hours in here to go through everything. There is two and half years of paperwork that has just been shoved in drawers. Husband and Kids just throw things in random bins when cleaning up, and that doesn't work for me. (As a side note, I did start to make labels for the bins, but the lack of organization in here has stopped me since I can't think of what goes in the bins until they are organized) The other problem with this room is that even if I did get a day to work on this room, it's where the kids play. It's where the toys are. Unlike a lot of people, my children do not have toys in their rooms. Rooms are for quiet activities. This gets into my whole issue with sleep, so I'll leave that for another day. The computer room is the only room with toys. So I would have to have children that just sit quietly and do nothing all day. That's NEVER going to happen!
When I get brave enough, I will take a before and after picture of this room. It will get clean and organized. I will get rid of the majority of stuff in here. (Again, after typing that, I stop, look around, and think of all the stuff I can get rid of) It may literally take all of 2012 to get this room organized, but, the rest of my house is depending on it. If I downsize things from anywhere else, we're going to have no furniture.