Thursday, September 30, 2010

Operation Minimalize Progress #2

Well, we sold everything listed in my last post plus a trailer of Jerad's. Now we have more room in our driveway! Last night I listed more things.

1. An amp and sub that have been sitting in our basement forever. The one in my old car broke and Best Buy replaced them but the sub takes up so much room in my trunk we never bothered installing them.

2. Martini glasses we never use.

3. A white dresser. This was in the guestroom but got moved to our room to make way for the desk that was in the nursery. Yeah, it confuses me too. Its cute but too big for our teeny tiny room.

4. A bistro table and chairs. We loved this when we lived in our templeton town house. We put it under the picture window and would have breakfast every morning. Oh the days of having lots of space!

5. All of my Paris Decor. We redecorated the living room last year and ended up moving most of the Paris stuff to our bedroom but it is WAY too much stuff for a bedroom. Someone else could get a lot more use of it.

6. Laundry Hamper. This matched our old bedroom set. Its nice but made of wrought iron so too heavy to carry to the laundry room and the canvas liner is a pain to take out. I'm going to replace with something I can cart to the washer.

7. Lavender stuff. This was in our bedroom and bathroom. Tired of dusting.

So far the table and chairs have been picked up, 2 people are thinking about the Paris stuff, and there is a 6 person waiting list for the dresser. Its crazy around here! I still can't believe we got rid of everything from the last post. Our house is feeling much more peaceful.

I know exactly how I want to decorate the living room... right now I'm just hung up on picking the right wool rug. I would be fine with no rug, but Jerad is rug obsessed. Which is odd because I'm always barefoot and he always wears shoes, so you'd think it would be the other way around. A nice rug will be a good investment since Marshall will be crawling soon and all we have is wood and tile flooring.

Our goals for today are to de-clutter the kitchen, living room, hall bath, our bedroom, and the three hall closets. We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Operation Minimalize Progress #1

Okay, we made some progress! Last night I took pictures and posted items on Craigslist of anything that immediately jumped out as something I could live with out. This is what I came up with (sorry for the bad pics, I did this in like 15 minutes):

1. The bed frame in our room. Its a nice, solid oak piece but MASSIVE. I bought it on CL last year with the plan to put it in the guestroom and move the headboard that is in there to our room. Except the lady that sold it told me it was for a full size bed and it is a queen. So, we got it home and were forced to put it in our room. But its huge. Also you can't push the bed all the way against the wall and Marshall sleeps with us so he has to always be in the middle and I stuff pillows between the bed and wall. Not ideal, out it goes!

2. My jewelry box. Someone gave this to me. I really don't need all the storage and I'm sick moving it to vacuum around the legs.

3. Little white table thing. This was in our bathroom with towels on the bottom, extra TP in the drawers, and lots of cute stuff on the top that I had to dust all the time. I bought this when I was 17 and working at Hallmark. Its been in 5 houses and almost every room. I'm going to replace it with a small storage bench that I can put towels in and also sit on when I'm giving Marshall a bath.

4. Living Room Rug. This I bought because we needed a rug, and it was on sale. The pattern is so busy it dominates the room and makes it hard to coordinate things. If this one doesn't sell, then we're going to move it to the back patio (it's an outdoor rug) and bbq in style. See ya!

5. (2) Chairs. I needed dining room chairs and bought some on Craigslist. I needed 2 but the lady would only sell all 4 so I took them. 2 had arms, 2 didnt. I don't like the ones with arms for inside. The plan was I would paint them the same red as our front door and put them on the porch. Lets be real, its never gonna happen. Out they go!

6. Glider and Ottoman. We bought a blue glider for the nursery and it was in our living room for a few weeks while we were finishing the room. We both loved sitting in it so we bought (from Craigslist) one that would match the living room too. We used it a lot, but now that Marshall doesn't want to be held 24/7 I'd like something a little more stylish. Plus the one in his room is much nicer if he does want to be rocked. See ya!

7. Dresser. This one was hard. This was mine when I was a kid, and my mom's before that. Its oak and antique. I wanted to put a changing pad on top and use it in the baby room, but Jerad thought the lines were too "girly." Also he hates it with a passion because the drawers are hard to open (they need to be waxed--it was made pre-drawer slides). I painted it white last year and was planning on distressing it, replacing the glass, replacing the drawer bottoms, and waxing the drawers so they'd slide. Clearly that didn't happen and there is really no place to put it. It doesn't hold enough clothes for us to use it in our room. I'll get over it.

8. Wooden stool. I took this out of my dad's shop, painted it, and used it as a side table when I first moved out after high school. I've repainted it to match every place I've lived in since and recently repainted it AGAIN to match our new living room decor. Its been a side table, nightstand, stool, and accent piece. I'm tired of moving it around.

I posted everything around 10pm last night, and by 9am this morning the jewelry box, white table, blue stool, glider and rug have all picked up and paid for, and someone is coming to see the bed tonight. If the guy doesn't take the bed, there are 4 other ppl in line already. I priced everything very low so that it would move. It was more important to us to get rid of things than to make a killing. I'm sticking to my guns about donating whatever doesn't sell, but at this rate everything will be gone today!

Our house is 1100 sq and built in the 50's so the layout is wonky. Just getting rid of this stuff will create a ton more room. I'll do another pass tonight and maybe venture into the basement.

One of my big issues is dealing with the "what if's." What if we buy a bigger house next year and need more stuff to make it homey? What if I painted it (soooo guilty of this one) and it looked really stylish? What if I change my mind and miss it? I am also guilty of getting things that I don't necessarily have a place for. Like the rug up above. It was a great deal and had some colors that matched our house. But it was just waaaaaay too busy.

Maybe one day when I don't work full time and Marshall is old enough to occupy himself I'll actually have the time to refinish and re-purpose pieces. If Jerad and I do buy another house next year, it will be fun picking out new things together that fit that space!

As we rework THIS house I am going to go room by room, and finish them one at a time instead of trying to do everything at once which stresses me out. I found this awesome website which should help me stay on budget:

I also found this site which gives you the plans to build furniture featured places like Pier-One and World Market. Now, this is a slippery slope. Jerad LOVES doing stuff like this, but his free time is few and far between. I think as long as it was only one piece here and there and something that could be finished in a weekend it would be okay.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Clean Slate

I am SO SICK of having so much stuff. I've really been trying to declutter and get rid of stuff over the last year. We had a couple of yard sales, put a lot of stuff on craigslist and really pared down. BUT, we still have sooooooo much crap. Every room in our house has literally twice as much stuff as it should. Its stressful and hard to put stuff away because there isn't room. On the one hand I think I'm pretty good about getting rid of things, but then on the other hand I always think "oh, I could sell this" or "we could use this in a bigger house" "I could paint it/turn it into something/" or "it would cost $XX to replace this" "I might use this later."

I'm ready to just get rid of it.

It doesn't matter if our extra bed sets are expensive and they would look cute if we changed the decor in our room. Its ridiculous to be saving sheets for a twin bed when WE DONT HAVE ONE. I can't fit anything in the linen closet!

I am also very guilty of holding onto things for Some Future Yard Sale. Basically half of our basement is stuffed w/ "yard sale" boxes. I was reading a thread about what the minimum amount of money ppl would have to make to consider having a yard sale. Most people said nothing under $250 because the hassle, time, and storing the stuff in the meantime just wasn't worth it. There were a few ppl that were super poor and said $50 because they would be able to take their kids out to eat which they could never afford otherwise. That got me thinking, we don't need the money, its absolutely ridiculous for us to be storing stuff in the basement for a yard sale that isn't even planned. Not too mention that if Jerad worked on a weekend he's make way more than we'd make at a yard sale which would be just as much "work."

I want us to be able to walk through our house and love every room instead of being stressed by the crap.

I want a space that works for us. Right now we have a beautiful guest room, but the only thing it gets used for is me piling laundry on the bed (because our closets and dresser and so full its a pain to put the clothes away). We nixed the office to create a Nursery for Marshall and we need office space way more than we need a guestroom. We're planning on getting rid of our guest bed and turning that room into an office/playroom with a sleeper sofa so that we can still accommodate guests when we need to.

This weekend Jerad and I are going to go through every room, the basement, and the shed and throw everything we don't want in a trailer, donate what we can, and trash what's left. On the one hand yes it sucks to get rid of that we could probably sell, BUT is the money really worth all the hassle of trying to sell it, letting a stranger in our house, and not being able to put our rooms together until its gone?

Our new rules are going to be
"don't buy anything that I don't have a place in mind for it to go"
"one thing out for every new thing in,"
"get rid of anything that hasn't been used in 3 months."

The only exception would be stuff that only gets used infrequently but we "need" (like christmas decor and camping stuff), baby stuff we will use for future children, and a few keepsakes like the porcelain doll from my grandmother.

I know I could cut my crafting stuff and books waaaaaaaaaaay down too.

Our space needs to be functional and relaxing not be stuffed to the brim. How nice would it be to have a basement that had ROOM in it? Anyways, that's my plan for the weekend.... to Clean Sweep. I'll list the big ticket items on CL this week and whatever doesn't sell can just be carted off.

That all sounds fine and dandy but then there's Christmas right around the corner. I'm getting nervous just thinking about it!

I'm writing this here so that I don't chicken out and change my mind. We're planning on getting rid of probably 30% of our stuff without [hopefully] looking back.

Everyone told me I'd stop caring about cleaning as much once the baby came. Um, NOT TRUE. I care just as much, yet I don't have the time I used to. Before I was able to dust every knick-knack and decoration weekly, and keep everything organized. Not so much anymore.

I am determined to not have more stuff than I can take care of.

Here is the list that we'll be using to decide what to keep:

Good Rules of Thumb:
* get rid of anything that requires you to purchase some kind of organization item for it. chances are, you don't need that crap to begin with.
* anything that ends up covered in dust--if you really loved it that much, it would get more attention.
* anything you can always find at goodwill for under a buck that you hardly ever use anyway.
* Get rid of duplicate things you have from when you got married that you thought you'd keep both of in case one broke
* Get rid of that box of stuff (or basement/garage of stuff) you might try to sell someday.
* get rid of stuff that just never seems to find a "home".
* get rid of "some day" things, as in "SOME DAY I'll use this for xyz".
* Get rid of things you would NOT want to pack up and have to move if you were moving to a different home.
* get rid of all of the boxes that haven't been unpacked yet from the last time you moved.
* things that "can be fixed" -if you haven't fixed it by now, it's probably not going to happen.

* Consider taking a photograph of a momento then getting rid of the actual momento.
* Get rid of ANYTHING that does not bring you some joy when you see it or use it.
* Get rid of gifts you don't like and things you keep out of guilt or obligation
* Get rid of anything that reminds you of someone who doesn't make your life joyful
* Get rid of thank you cards, birthday cards...that don't really have special meaning
* Get rid of things that make you feel like you're not the person you want to be (those reminders of things you'd love to do but never have time to and that only drain your spirit/energy)
* Get Rid of Anything You Don't Need or Love, things that aren't "you".
* If you pick something up and wonder whether you need it, you don't. The things you truly need and love - you know that without hesitation.
* Ditch all your dried flowers.
* Get rid of balloons that no longer stay afloat

* Get rid of kitchen appliances you use less than, say, once a month
* Anything in the kitchen cupboard (dishes, canned goods, utensils, you name it) that haven't been used in a year. (Other than the forspecial china and silver).
* Get rid of all but four pot holders
* all the extra measuring spoons and cups
* All those knives that don't really do it. you only really need 2.
* the cookie cutters that are never used.
* Get rid of food in the pantry that has sat there for a yr (find a new owner or toss it with an expired date)
* most of the tupperware can go

* Get rid of clothes you don't look good in, don't fit right, or you don’t love.
* Ugly, stained, ill-fitting, maybe someday I'll wear it again, itchy clothes. (keep one set for painting and crud)
* Get rid of clothing I won't wear or haven't worn in 2 yrs
* Get rid of the orphan socks and pairs of socks with holes in them - they're useless!
* Undies with holes even if they will last another year
*Get rid of all towels that are holy or frayed or excess (keep enough for 2 per person and 1 for the pets)
*Get rid of all bedding sets (keep 1 for myself and 2 per child)
*Get rid of your fat clothes, your skinny clothes ... dress the body you have and love it
*Get rid of hand-me-down clothes that you don't even like!
*Get rid of the 8 or 9 boxes of fancy baby clothes that will never be used

* Get rid of books/magazines you don't read all the time, will never read again, or no longer interest you (what's a library for after all?)
* Get rid of outdated reference materials
* Get rid of pictures and artwork you have no place to put - if you like it, then find a place for it - take something you like less down, but if it doesn't have a place what good is it?
* decorations you don't love
* craft supplies you aren't using
* Get rid of scrap wood from that last project, unless you have an actual plan in mind for it.
* Get rid of scrap fabric.

* all the extra markers and crayons. keep one set of new.
* Get rid of dried up play dough.
* Get rid of happy meal toys, toys that are overflowing out of the toy bins, toys the kids don't even know they have, noise-making toys that require batteries!
* all but 25 favorite toys for each kid (sets count as one thing). This one is hard.
* Stuffed animals. They are nasty and collect dust. Keep one or two special loves. but not 50.
* Get rid of poorly written, insanely annoying or duplicate kids books.
* Get rid of broken crayons (yes, I know you can melt them to make block crayons. If you were going to do that, wouldn't you have done it already?).
* Get rid of things you have been collecting to do "recycled art" with your kids, unless you actually plan to do it this week. There will always be more.

* that bunch of random floating pens--give em to the grocery store clerk
* All those screws and nails that are leftover from everything. Can never find the one you want anyway.
* Get rid of blurry or bad photos (especially if they're duplicate prints), unless it's the one shot you have of a momentous event.
* Get rid of at least one rubbermaid of the Christmas decorations you don't like that have been heaped upon you because your inlaws can't imagine that maybe you want a simple Christmas.
* Get rid of the 9 extra cameras that haven't been touched since the digital camera was purchased.
* Get rid of the two "spare" computers that barely work, take 10 minutes to boot up, and sound like jet engines when they run.
* Get rid of the "spare" furniture (that entertainment center) that has been sitting in the garage and storage area since move in day, extra furniture, the ugly chair in my bedroom
* Get rid of junk mail!!
*Get rid of all outdated toiletries and make-up, products (cleaning and body) that are unsafe and lotions and potions you no longer use
* Get boxes loaded with books, DVD's, cd's and clothes OUT of here, before I start going through them and "finding" things I "need" to keep.

**Toss it means get rid of it in some way--thrift store, friend, whatever. The garbage can is a last resort.**

If it makes you feel bad in any way, toss it.

If you can't find a home for it, toss it.

If you have a nicer one already, toss it.

If you don't have an immediate need for it or a real future need, toss it.

If you have to think about it too long, toss it.

If you don't love it, toss it.

If you wouldn't buy a replacement if it were lost in a fire, toss it.

If you're holding onto a gift out of obligation, toss it.

If it'd be really easy to replace it should the need arise for it in the future, toss it.

If it's broken and you don't want to repair it, toss it.

If it doesn't fit your vision of what your life should be like, toss it.

And, of course, everything MUST have a home. Even things that are not put away very often, CAN be put away. If a thing doesn't have a home, it becomes a nomad. Nomads create visual clutter, and visual clutter will very quickly become actual clutter.

And one more thing ...

Get rid of stuff you hang onto just because you spent a lot of money for those things, or someone else spent a lot of money for those things. If it doesn't work for you, get rid of it, even if it was expensive. Keep the lesson but not the item.

If you made it this far, congratulations!!! I'll post an update soon and pics of our new, simpler spaces. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010