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Out with the Old…

July 30, 2012

I love organizing. I get a real kick out of getting rid of things.

I have a two bedroom apartment with my partner and we both work from home often, too. It can be challenging to find space for everything, but we’re good at it. We have only what we need – well, ok… there’s some stuff we definitely don’t but that’s what this post is about. Getting rid of the old.

Some people have storage units in addition to their apartment closets. We do not. I suppose we could – an area does exist in the basement – but we don’t need it. We also don’t have things stored with others at their places. This is good.

We have a lot of closet space in our place which is excellent. All of our clothes fit in the bedroom. Most of our music equipment rolls into a closet. We have a kitchen closet for brooms and back-up appliances. Wait… There’s an area we could look at in terms of getting rid of things. Back-up appliances? Really? Ok, *one* of them is really important – a coffee maker. We’ve had to employ it many times so that I’m partial to keeping. It does fit in the closet after-all so it’s not like it’s in the way.

My main problem is paperwork. Every year I shred a year of it, but it still manages to get unwieldy at times. I just went through an “Archive” file and got rid of some stuff from there. If it’s really archive worthy, I have a leather portfolio for that. Things like posters or press items or things around my music career that I want to keep for posterity. At the moment, my filing cabinet is full which means that if I want to keep more paperwork, I have to go through and cull what’s in there. This isn’t too big of deal since at the moment, everything is filed. After next years tax filing, more room will be made when I shred the oldest year’s stuff. You’re supposed to keep 7 years, but I keep 8 to be safe. So, right now, I have paperwork from 2004 on. And a giant pile of previous to shred. I always shred if there’s personal information on it. I have a tiny shredder so I have to do it little by little. I should buy a new one so it can be done faster and not pile up on me, but I haven’t. When I have an office job sometime I take some of it there to put in the shredding bins. That’s handy!

The other issue is clothes. Too many that I don’t fit into anymore, and that even if I did – wouldn’t wear them. Got rid of 12 items like that yesterday. Felt great! My closet is less squishy and now maybe I’ll wear more of what I have. I have a rule that I can’t buy clothes unless I’m replacing an item. I’m also reducing the number of types of items I need. Like shoes. I only need a few kinds and I have them so I’m good. I just replace as they wear out. This way I’m not bored of them, either. I wear the same things mostly anyway so I don’t really need the selection I think I do. Mike’s closet is presently over-flowing with clothes but I try not to let it bother me. πŸ˜‰ At least they’re in the closet, and not on the floor!

My main way to organize other items is baskets. I love baskets! If stuff’s in a basket, it’s easier to find, and it doesn’t end up on the floor or the table or whatnot. We have lots of baskets, and enough for our things, but sometimes, when we get rid of something, we end up with an empty basket. I put them to use inside drawers or closets. It’s easier if you have to move, or just want to move the items to a new location. I really try to not buy more baskets but I did buy a bunch at the dollar store last year to contain some items that ended up all over the living room otherwise. We really do have enough of them now though, so I only buy them if they need to be replaced from cracking. I still have closet organizers and baskets from when I was 13! My parents re-decorated my room as a grade 8 graduation present. I had them go to a closet organizing store and buy those wire drawer units… Looking back now that’s pretty hilarious. What kind of kid wants that kind of present? Nerd much? hmm. Point is – still using ’em and they’re holding up just fine. When they finally fall apart, I get an excuse to go to IKEA to replace them!

Speaking of baskets – I had culled my cd collection a few years ago, moving ones that I didn’t really listen to, to some – yup, baskets! – under the couch. Last week, I went through them. I’m keeping one basket only – they are cds I want for reference that I don’t listen to often but might need. Since they’re in a basket under the couch, they’re not in the way. The other 38 are going to Goodwill. A bonus from that was more room under the couch for the extra bedding for it, plus – I freed up a basket for Mike! He has computer stuff everywhere in the second bedroom. He is culling it – using it, selling it, or recycling it. Baskets are useful for sorting. He moves slower than me with this stuff though. We want that room to be only the recording studio/guest bedroom. So far it can’t be used as either since it’s full of computer junk. But – we do use the room to store our giant cart full of music equipment – drum kit, amps etc. It rolls right into the closet! The previous tenant had removed the closet doors. Since it’s a small room, it makes it bigger, and it means you could put a bed or a couch right in there if you wanted to. For us, since we don’t need it for clothes, we just roll our cart right in there and it’s out of the way! Awesome.

My goal is to only have things in my life that I actually use. This way, I figure I could live out of a suitcase if required, or be able to downsize to a really really small space. I think these things, but I am really partial to the space I have now, so the goal is really just to have more of it. Space. Peace.

I limit myself to two boxes for memento type objects like cards, ticket stubs, and whatnot from people. Every year or so I go through the boxes and throw out or recycle the things that no longer have any meaning. If I like the thing enough, like a postcard or a particularly nice looking card that’s more like art, or that is in fact, art – I put it in a frame and move it to an everyday area so I can enjoy it.

It feels good.

A side benefit of getting rid of old physical objects, is the getting rid of the emotional weight they carry with them, too. The mind feels much lighter when it’s not weighed down by stuff. I feel like I have more free time, plus I absolutely love my place. It’s peaceful, functional and organized! It’s home.

So as I throw out my old version of self, along with old items attached to it, I can begin anew with a fresh and clean slate. An optimistic and uncluttered outlook on the future, and therefore on now. I can live in the moment here at my kitchen desk, by the window, surrounded by things I love – my plants, artwork, things on shelves and not piles on the floor or elsewhere.

Another benefit of less stuff is it’s easier to keep everything clean! Which means my home is always “clean enough” for company, and can be made almost spotless in under 30 minutes. Not that people drop by unannounced – that’s not my thing, but – they *could*, and I hope they would feel just as peaceful and wonderful as I do in my home.

Got any nifty organizing tips? Please share!

gigs – cds – mp3s – news – blog

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