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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Downsizing... Part 2

So here are my two main organizing/downsizing strategies.

The first is that I pick one spot in a room, then I go around the room as though it were a clock and I'm the minute hand just moving from the beginning of the hour all the way around until the end of the hour.

It makes it seem doable as opposed to looking at the room with that "deer in the headlights" look.  It's easy to see an overwhelming amount of "stuff" and just freeze into inaction.  The clock method helps.  It's like putting blinders on and staying focused on task, even if the immediate task is just little... just that one little spot in front of you... then moving to the next tiny spot.

The second thing I do is compartmentalize.  I take between 3-10 boxes (depending on the task) and label them.

Sometimes they're labeled with the names of other rooms: Bathroom, Bedroom, Garage, etc.

Sometimes they're labeled with categories: Papers, Not This Room, Clothes, etc.

Those "category" boxes can be further sorted later.  But in the interim, if you have to find something this gives you a better chance of finding it.  For example, I needed my DMV registration form and it was so much easier to just grab my one box of papers and go through that until I found the letter than it would have been to search through every nook and cranny of the house for a letter with piles of papers everywhere, stuffed in drawers, laying on top of book cases, etc.

This "downsizing/cleaning/organizing" that I'm doing is being done in my spare time, which for someone who takes care of 3 acres, a senior citizen, a 2000 sq ft house, and 3 cats... while trying to run a business that includes working at a gallery, teaching, making jewelry, marketing, and running a jewelry makers' organization (whew!) is kind of a joke.  But we do what we gotta do, right?

At least that (the above) might help to explain how things tend to get out of hand.  I just finished two shows.  One was three days, the other was two days.  I was prepared for neither so lots of last minute creating and packing.  Which means that a lot of other things didn't happen... like baskets of clean laundry didn't get folded and put away, mail didn't get sorted and dealt with, labels that didn't work didn't get sorted for salvage, accoutrements for sending out orders didn't get put away, etc.

As I said yesterday, nothing's really dirty or dangerous... just stuff ends up piling up into a center of the rooms like a magnetic vortex or something.

So here's today's progress.  Unfortunately I don't have a good "before" photo of the computer corner, but here's a bit of it...

So I took everything out of that corner of  the room, one at a time, cleaned each item (I do have a dust problem) then put back only the things that belong there.  I put my new power strip down (yay!), removed some electronics I wasn't even using, taped some of the cords to the back of the computer desk (I hate all that stuff on the floor)...

... and here's the corner now.

I added some aloe plants because I have no plants in my room and I don't mind having something in there that produces oxygen.  Aloe is supposed to be an air purifier too (see NASA's clean air study).

I moved my label printer and my postage scale to much more convenient locations (get a surge protector with lots of holes!).  Actually, let me show you which surge protector I got.  Aside from lots of holes, the holes are in different directions for optimal use AND there are two really nifty latch holders on the end that keep the cords down.  Really spiffy.

And notice that thing on the wall to the right of my desk.  THAT is perfect for tiny homes.  It's a 2-dimensional (okay, not really, but nearly) file cabinet!  All my important and often used files are there.  I got them on Amazon.

 WAY better than this...

And while it's true that the traditional file cabinet will hold more, it takes up way too much space in my prime real estate.  I keep my 3-dimensional file cabinets in the garage, while all the papers I deal with frequently are on my wall at my fingertips and out of the way. 

This one I did yesterday.  Took some of the things that I wear frequently so don't want to "put away" (I hate putting things away... so much work) and here they are... again, at my fingertips.  This was a bit of empty wall space in my living room so I just put some Monkey hooks into the sheet rock and voila!  I don't have to LOOK for this stuff that I use every day and they aren't cluttering up my bedroom.  IMO there's no point in putting things out of sight if you use them every day.  This is neat enough a solution for me.

Here's something I spent about five minutes debating about.  It's a set of glass coaster that you can put photos into.  But I can't justify keeping them because I've HAD them for over a year and never did anything with them.  Ugh!  I was originally going to put poppy images in them then give them to my mom, but I think she's already got coasters.  I don't need coaster because I have a glass table and if I did want coaster they wouldn't be glass... my glasses and coffee cups would be lethal with glass coasters.  I'm NOT a gentle person.

So now they're in the give-away pile.  Yay me!

Oh, look what I found when I moved my computer desk out.  A Labradorite and a Moonstone.  Whoohoo!

So here is (a side view) of the couch in my bedroom.  Well, it's just a little love-seat but I call it a couch.  It's not FILTHY... I just end up piling stuff on it.  In this photo I see clean clothes, winter things (that I ended up putting on those Monkey Hooks), my surge protector, mail that I have to deal with, and stuff I use to wrap out-going packages.

And here's the couch after I dealt with that stuff.

I still have a short stack of books I need to deal with, but at least a person can sit down now.

Watched a couple more episodes of tiny house stuff while I was doing this organizing.  There are some cute ideas.  I think the "tiny house" aesthetic can (and should) be utilized everywhere, not just necessarily in 200 square foot living spaces.

To see the start of this journey, go to PART 1.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Downsizing... But Not Really (part 1)

I recently got a desire to watch some of the "tiny home" shows on tv.  For those who don't know what a tiny home is, it's a home that is very small.  Very VERY small.  Usually around 200 square feet.  Sometimes they're on wheels so you can be mobile.

It's very trendy at the moment so there's lots of info about it all over tv and the internet, etc.

Here's just one (of many) Facebook pages dedicated to them.

And other sites:

While most seem to be on the extremely small side of things, some tiny homes are as big as 500-600 square feet.

My first home was 827 square feet.  Lived there as a family of four, so not sure how 600 qualifies as tiny.  I guess it's all relative.  They say the average home in America is 2300 square feet.  To me, that's ginormous... and that's just the average.  That means a good portion of these houses are 4000, 6000, 8000 square feet.


I can see why people want to downsize.  Maybe some are learning, however, that a true "tiny home" was too much of a change for them.  After watching a couple of the tv shows on tiny homes, I know it's not for me.  And the thing is, at one time I could have thought it'd be up my alley.

I can easily see how there are many like me... who thought, "Hey, what a great idea.  I can do this!"  Ah, the bane of being an idealist.

That being said, while I can't see myself ever by choice living in a tiny home, I can fully embrace the idea of downsizing.... my stuff.

My kids and I have had some living conditions that could be similar to some of the things a tiny home owner has to deal with.  For over a year I had no bedroom, but opened a sleeper sofa every night and closed it back up every morning.  There were also a couple of years where I slept on the couch and my daughter slept on the floor of the living room.  I spent three years sleeping in a cot in my workshop too.  I currently cook (fabulous meals so I'm told) using 2 on/off burners and a toaster oven.  These are the kinds of things you do out of necessity and they are generally temporary.  I have no desire to make a sofa bed every day for the rest of my life or to sleep on a living room sofa.

So that's part of my reasoning for not wanting to consider a tiny house.  One of the other reasons is that I run a business and with that comes "stuff".  I can't "downsize" my workshop.  Well, I can, and I have been, but there's still going to be a lot of stuff... and continually more and more stuff.  It's a business.

Also, I like to entertain.  I want friends over... I want family to stay the night, etc.  That is SOOOO hard to do in a tiny home.

So my plan is to go through my current living conditions and "downsize" my stuff.  I want a clean, clutter-free living environment and I want to be able to find anything I need within seconds.

Follow along with me as I begin.

I'm starting in the bedroom because that's where my computer is (yes, I still use a desktop for 99% of my computing).  A couple months ago I bought a high end surge protector because I live in a rural area and when we get storms, we sometimes lose electricity and/or have brown-outs and none of that is good for my computer.

But that surge protector has been sitting on my couch waiting... waiting... waiting.  I can't GET to my computer plug.  Ugh!

And so it begins.

If I get up the nerve to let you see before pictures, I'll post them when I get to the after pictures.    You see... I run out of time... and then I put things down and say I'll deal with it later.  but later doesn't come because I'm still pressed for time.  It just goes on and builds up.  And while it's not dirty or dangerous, it's clutter and inconvenient.

So let's do one issue at a time.

This is a good example of how my thought processes get me in to trouble. The cotton robe on the left is the one I use every time I take a shower.  The one on the right is similar if not nearly identical, but I don't need two... I can only use one at a time, right?

But then my brain says things like, "But what if you have company and they need to borrow a bathrobe?"

Oh seriously?!  I'm supposed to store a bathrobe indefinitely on the off chance that someone may someday say, "Hey, do you happen to have a spare bathrobe I can borrow after my shower?"

Then I argue, "But it's 100% cotton and really good quality.  You can't just throw that away."

Wrong. I need to learn to get rid of things that serve me no purpose EVEN IF THEY ARE GOOD QUALITY.

The blue thing in the middle... I guess that would be referred to as a housecoat.  How often do I use it?  Hm.... If I'm running around in my pajamas (which is often) I could put it on if I'm cold.  but I could also put on a sweater (and I have several of those).

Does the housecoat serve an important role?  I don't think so.  And it's butt ugly.

Remember that rule we've all heard? If you haven't used it in six months, you don't need it.

I'm sure I haven't worn that housecoat since last year.

How about if I put BOTH of those things in a box and put the box away for a year?  Then if I don't need either of them, I can get rid of the contents of the box after a year.

But I think I'd rather make a decision now and not store a box of stuff for a year.

Okay, they both go.  I'm trying to downsize.

Oh, two comments regarding that photo... the walls were NOT my choice.  I inherited them and just haven't gotten around to doing something to cover-up/remove the wall paneling.  Also, hooks... are awesome!  I need more hooks and shelves everywhere.

New Jewelry Creations at Bracken Designs

Just catching you up on some of the pieces I've made in the past few months.  The ones that are still available are listed on my website so if you want to see more info about any piece, just click here.