Tuesday, May 26, 2009

where it's all at

I know there are burning questions in everyone's mind today. Questions like, DID Kristi achieve her decluttering goal over the 5-day weekend?

The answer to that question, by the by, is NO. She did not.
And, I'm OK with that.
By Sunday morning I was pretty burned out. And reasonably so, I think. I had done a ton of work the three days prior; a lot more work than I had anticipated. I knew what those spaces looked like, obviously, but somehow I still didn't figure on the sheer amount of STUFF crammed in there.
Once again I liken it to being overweight; you know you're overweight, but you have those 'skinny blinders' on. You still think of yourself as being thinner or healthier than you actually are. Which leaves you heading for a very unpleasant reality check next time you see a recent photo of yourself, or catch yourself in the mirror at that horrible angle, or step on the scale.
So I knew my house was cluttered, and I knew I had a lot of stuff, but I didn't realize the magnitude of the problem until I dragged all that stuff out and attempted to sort through it.

Another very overwhelming factor is that my house is really small. The garage sale box pile, up to this weekend, was taking up a good corner of my dining room but it was...manageable. I was OK with living with it until the garage sale.
After I'd finished the bar area and emptied the downstairs closet, and after I'd managed to fill a few more large boxes and drag them up to the garage sale pile, I began to realize that I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the rest of my house again. That coupled with the physical exhaustion of moving so much stuff left me sitting around for a good amount of time. Sitting, staring at the piles and mounds I'd created in my family room. Re-arranging boxes in the dining room, Tetris-style, trying to make it work in a way that wouldn't leave me feeling overwhelmed and stressed. (Which turns me into MegaBitch; I'd like to evict her from the house permanently, and was getting really frustrated that she was trying to creep back in.) It wasn't working. I kept sorting halfheartedly, and managed to mostly clear the stuff out of the bar side again. I even made some progress in the family room.

Last night, my husband came across me sitting at my computer, frustrated, looking up offsite storage places. He asked me what I was doing and I explained that I was trying to work out what to do with all the STUFF. Specifically, the garage sale stuff. I was looking up storage rates to determine if I thought it would be worth it to store that stuff for a month or two just to get it out of my way, or if it would just be worth it to chuck the garage sale idea completely and drag it all straight to Goodwill.
Bless his heart, I know he'd love nothing more than for me to give up on my garage sale dream and drag it straight to Goodwill, but he reigned in his impulse to fight for that option and instead discussed my feelings and needs. I have a really hard time giving up on the garage sale dream. It isn't even that I love garage sales, or that I think I'm going to get rich off my old stuff. I don't plan on trying to sell it at marked-up prices or anything. The trouble I have is that there's a goodly amount of stuff that I think will sell, even if it's only for a couple bucks, and I think we could get enough to maybe tackle one of the house projects we put off. I harbor a secret dream of finishing our laundry room area (the one 'unfinished' part of our home) so it can be a laundry AND craft area and not feel like a utility room. I'd like to make it a much nicer place, a place I'll feel good going in and working in. I'm having a hard time giving up that dream.
I don't want to try selling this stuff on ebay because I'm not really great about shipping stuff to people. I just sort of hate it.

So, I was struggling mightily last night as I was thinking that it would be better to give up the garage sale dream rather than spend the next several months overwhelmed. And I really do think it will take me several more months to finish off the house projects. For one thing, every weekend from now until SEPTEMBER 19 has something scheduled, which means my cleaning time will be drastically reduced this summer. For another, given the amount of time it took me to clear out the bar and closet...I'm really, really scared of the laundry room and the garage. You thought the areas I did this weekend were bad? You ain't seen nothin' yet.
Even though small storage spaces were relatively cheap, and I think I would make more at the garage sale than it would cost me to store the stuff, I'd still lose around $65 on storage for two months. It just didn't make sense to me to spend extra money on this STUFF. Better to just let it go and make peace with that. It was the 'making peace' option that I was struggling with when it hit me. THE DOWNSTAIRS CLOSET!

I had only put a few larger things away in the downstairs closet, and wasn't planning yet on using it for a ton of storage. I could easily take out those few things it was holding and leave THEM in the dining room for a couple of months without being too bothered. And that closet is at least the size of the storage space we would have rented; it might even be bigger. It could hold all the boxes I have already packed PLUS ones I will be packing in the future! It can even hold the odds and ends for the garage sale that were adding extra frustration. The four or five computer towers, the monitor, the blenders and the coffee maker and the bigelectronic thingie that I don't even know what it is, the speaker stands...all of that stuff can be packed out of sight. EUREKA!

So that's where we're at. I was feeling incredibly stymied and overcrowded and wasn't able to make much progress. but with this solution, which we will begin implementing tonight, I will soon feel as if I have space to work on the house again and I will be able to make a lot more progress soon.

Which is good, because we're having a party at my house this Saturday and we kind of need that space. :)

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