I've done a little research on decluttering. I've read the books, joined the programs, made the schedules, purged the extras. Either it doesn't take (the program) or it all comes back (the extra).
Now, that's not to say such things were worthless for me, or that I'm hopeless. I've learned a lot about managing clutter and making a home from my intermittent immersion in the organizing industry. And I have come to the conclusion that what I need is a buddy.
The Internet is a wonderful source for ideas. Mom blogs are really wonderful sources for ideas that are relevant to my vocation. And it's so much more fun to do things when you have a little company! So, periodically I will be sharing ideas, big or small, that I find helpful in tackling the beast of clutter in my home. These are things I will be doing myself, and posting the before-and-after pics to prove it. (Or maybe just the after. :-))
Now, if you do the same thing, because you got it from the same place I did, or because you saw mine and thought, "Hey, that could work!"... or if you do something totally different and want to show off a little...come on over and we'll have a little show-and-tell. This is a work in progress. I'm not a guru. I just want to get a little encouragement started over here, and I hope maybe you can be one of those who finds some.
With that, I give you my little project from last week...
(Yes, I know a valet is typically for a man, but I like the term.)
This may not look like much, but let me walk you through why it is so helpful.
First, there is this eyesore...
...which is what it used to look like. We put the tea cart in our room to hold our supplies when we were preparing for a home birth, and since then it had become a magnet for all things homeless. Not to mention those supplies, still perched below. Well, that all had to go, but I wasn't sure how to avoid piling the space up again with clutter. It needed a function.
Next, I wanted to address the rocking chair by my bedside. It had a function--several, actually: for rocking the baby, sitting at the vanity (you can see part of it in the picture, begging to be a future project), laying my clothes out for the next day. I cannot emphasize enough how much easier it is to get ready in the morning if you already know what you are going to wear and have it prepared and waiting for you. And if I put the clothes for the morning on my rocking chair the night before, it didn't interfere (that much) with its other functions.
The problem was that it became a catch-all for my coat, my wear-again jeans, the dress I changed out of after Mass, the kids' clothes.... Don't know if I want to wear this sweater again tomorrow? I'll put it on my rocking chair until I decide. Soon, five layers of decisions were taking up my rocking chair.
So I cleared out both spots. Sent clothes to the laundry, moved my beautiful Southern Living magazines to the bottom of the tea cart (you can't see them but they were under the little pile of clothes on top), put away a bunch of stuff. Then I set up a finite space to keep my day's outfit and fluffed the cushions on my rocking chair.
Voila. I eliminated two chronic clutter spots and eased my daily routine.
You can buy a fancy clothes valet (I think it may also be called a suit stand), and at one point I found that very appealing, but I decided to save the money and use what I had. The basket was recently freed of paper clutter, and the cloth underneath it is actually an old, square pillow sham that belonged to Jason's grandparents. (I trimmed the stringy fringes after I made sure I wasn't likely to damage it.) Other things you could use are a quilt stand, a hat rack, or maybe just a robe hook over the door. Think about your bedroom's (or bathroom's) layout, your morning rhythms, your personal taste, what you already have or can easily obtain, what you wear--you will come up with something.
If you do, leave me a comment (or a link!) and tell me about it!