Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A New Way to Declutter

Not my basement

Put it all in the basement and then decide what can stay in the basement.  That's the long and short of it.

I'll back up.

I had a baby almost four months ago.  She joins two older brothers. I've been a determined declutterer for a while now, but it kicked into higher gear with the birth of another child in a two-bedroom house.

Suddenly, I couldn't handle the toy tubs in the living room.  They would get dumped, toy parts would get jumbled, and then, we'd just throw it all back in, too weary and/or annoyed to put the piggy bank coins back in the piggy bank toy.  You know?  I could not look at it all. I needed clear surfaces more than ever.  (This was randomly validated by a Holly Pierlot post I stumbled onto postpartum.)

Not long after baby was born, I hauled those toy tubs down to the basement.  Then, the rest of the toys in the living room (bag of costumes, musical instruments, larger toys) made their way down as well.

Soon, anything that was just sitting out where it didn't belong made it's way down to the basement.  Fun box?  Sensory rice bin?  Bye-bye.

When you have too much stuff in a given container, it all comes spilling out.  It forces decision-making.  It's that or live with things falling out of cabinets or having to move three things to get to the one thing you wanted in the back of the cabinet.  Dana at A Slob Comes Clean is very good at talking about accepting your container's (cabinet, drawer, box, house) limitations.

My house is a container.  The things that are sitting around, getting in the way, causing visual stress are going downstairs.  Sure, that's making the basement a mess, but here's the thing: unless I know where it's going, it's not coming back up.  I'm pretty determined this time.  Those things have to prove their worth.  

Some of you might cry foul: what about the kids' toys, right?  They've hardly asked for them!  They don't seem to remember what is down there.  I've been asked for a remote controlled dump truck and excavator.  I was also asked for Buzz and Woody once.  That's it!  Isn't that something?  

This positions our family nicely for a toy library, a rotating bin (though I'm leaning toward the library), and some new furniture in the living room for toys.  That's where I get stuck.  What to purchase to organize the toys.  I'd really love shelves that are neatly labeled so kids are empowered to put them back where they belong.  I don't want to shell out the big bucks for the nicer looking furniture, but the cheap stuff  

We'll see where this goes, but I think I'm on to something.  

Prove yourselves, things.  Prove yourselves.  Or be prepared to exit my house.

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