Clutter & Organization: The Discussion

Tips came home from work Friday after I started thinking about how I really, no REALLY needed to do a major overhaul of our current clutter and organization situation. I am so blessed to have a husband who seems to always be on the same brain wave as I am, because when I started to bring this need I have - he said he had been thinking along the same lines I had.

We actually attempted to do something of this nature last year - and when we do we really do find room and space to 'store' or more appropriately 'hide' our boxes of stuff. But I think we couldn't focus on it because we also had to get our financial house in order... which we did last year and we've paid off over $10,000 in debt since last September with our budget plan we developed for ourselves last year. Anyway... now that that seems to be working so well and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel (only about 2-1/2 more years left to being debt free!!!!) I think we are able to focus more on getting our temporal home in order.

And then in April I again started to think about getting our house in order. The origination of April's thought came from reciting the following scripture to my 15 month old son every morning for two weeks (which coincidentally I haven't kept up on - amazing how keeping yourself organized goes out the window when your house isn't 100% in order... I think it is all interconnected). Right... back to the scripture: "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God." (Doctrine & Covenants 88:119)

Into the second week of reciting that scripture every morning to my son, I kept thinking about how I needed to do a better job at 'organize' and 'establish... a house of order'... but for whatever reason I was too distracted at the time. I did feel the importance of that scripture and how it would bless my family both temporally and spiritually if we were implementing that scripture 100% - and so I did specifically pray about it. I will tell you, Heavenly Father does answer our prayers, it's just not always right away and sometimes we have to either have more life experiences or do more of our homework/research before we can hear the answer He's giving us.

So we started talking about it and brainstorming about what we could do with what we had.

I realized that if we can truly fix the problem of our clutter - and not just do a band-aid solution to it, then it should help me focus better on two dozen or so projects I have started (I have project ADD). I think I haven't been able to finish most of my projects because my mind is distracted by the actual clutter and disorganization my house suffers from and so I get distracted and procrastinate working on projects. Well... at least that's my unofficial psychological theory as to my current state of things.

What would be the band-aid solution? Running out to Target or IKEA and buying some fancy, shmancy shelves, containers, fabric boxes, etc and bringing them home to 'organize' our stuff on. That would solve some of the problem, but not all of it.

I'm going to list the actual problem/reasons behind our clutter:
1- it is too much work to dig out a box from underneath 4 other boxes just to put one thing away
2- the garbage can is in front of the filing cabinet next to the computer desk because we really don't have any other place to put the garbage can and we're too lazy to move the garbage can to file our papers so we let them stack up on the desktop inbox/outboxes we have until we have to go through them and file them away
3-we are too lazy to put it away because of 1 & 2 - it really is much easier to sit the paper on the coffee table, side table or kitchen table rather than putting it away
4- the true reason we have so much clutter is because we don't have a home for something and it takes too much effort to find a home - so it builds up until I can't stand it anymore and spend a day finding homes for all the crap we've accumulated in the living room/kitchen/bedrooms over the last month. Don't even ask about the office - that has its own set of issues and is usually where we dump things that we can't figure what else to do with them

In light of #4, I realized that just 'living day to day' and only reacting to clutter as we have done for the last 4-1/2 years of our marriage just isn't going to cut it anymore. Rather than waiting to be acted upon (by the clutter), we need to be agents unto ourselves and act for ourselves. We needed to become Masters of our possessions rather than letting our possessions become masters of us (VERY similar to what people say about personal finances, become master of your money rather than letting your money become a master of you).

We needed a Master Plan.

We've been married for almost 5 years and we wrote for 3 years before that - so Tips and I know each other pretty well. He knows what things are important to me and I know what things are important to him. We respect each other. We also work really well together because we have this great synergy where we feed off of each other when we are creating a workable plan and implementing it. We want to see it succeed because it is 'Our Plan/Idea' and we can see the big picture or the long-term. It really helps that Tips read David Allen's Getting Things Done last year and really understands the concept of setting long-term goals, short-term goals and then breaking it down into workable mini-goals to help us accomplish the end goals.

Anyway... back to the discussion. Since we are aware of what is important to each other and also what is important to our family (per our long-term goals/ideals we have for our family). So we sat down and listed all the things that we currently store in our apartment (I have very few toys left in my parents' storage unit and Tips has very few toys at his parents' house).

We included everything... and we thought of other categories to add the following day.

Here's the list:
*Food (long-term & short-term) - and then subcategorized into: staples, processed foods (boxed foods) and junk food.
*Kitchen Items - dishes, pots, pans, utensils, small appliances
*Media - books, movies, CDs, board/card games, video games, consoles, printed music (sheet music and books for piano, cello and voice)
*Coat Closet: coats, hats, scarves, gloves, boots, vacuum, folding chairs, table leaves
*Household items - cleaners, sponges, gardening tools & seeds, extension cords, light bulbs, toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, kleenex, laundry care items, etc
*Office supplies
*Emergency & Self Reliant supplies - 72 hour kits, sun oven, rocket stove, canners & canning supplies, dehydrator, freezer
*Paper crafting - scrapbook paper, pens, markers, crayons, colored pencils, stamps & ink, stickers, gift wrap, envelopes
*Seasonal - holiday decorations, AC, space heaters
*Sewing - equipment (serger, sewing machines, mat boards) and supplies (notions)
*Personal Momentos - journals, notebooks, school papers, report cards, pictures, childhood artwork, etc
*Long-term storage - china, chess table, baby clothing/diapers/items that Tips Jr. has grown out of, my twin bed my parents had me take with me when I was married, and other items that we won't use until we have a house we can actually use them in.
*Linens: table clothes, placemats, napkins, sheets, towels, wash cloths
*Personal hygiene items (goes along with having a year supply)
*Documents and files to save
*fabrics & craft items for my projects
*Church material (books & magazines)
*Montessori and future homeschool/afterschooling items I started to collect
*Gifts to give
*Items to sell: my Mary Kay inventory, items I make for my etsy shop, and items we want to try to sell first before we donate
*DI box - which is a never-ending rotation box. As soon as we drop the items off at the DI, without fail I come home and come across something that I had intended to take to DI


Mindy said…
I can totally relate. It is like you are telling my life story too!

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