Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Downsizing Move in Florida

I'm in Florida preparing an elderly friend to leave her condo and move into a local retirement community. I was here in March for a few weeks to get started; the move is now upon us -- September 21, to be exact.

De-cluttering is a process that happens in stages. In March, we went room-by-room to decide which large pieces she was taking and how she wanted to dispose of what she was not taking. Then we purged, tossed and sorted items for a moving sale, took trips to thrift stores to donate items, went to the recycle center. It was a busy and very productful March. The moving sale was a great success.

Now we are at a deeper level in September. Another moving sale is set for this Friday and Saturday; the garage is set up and full of antiques and other items to sell, all marked and ready to go. We have appointments with antique dealers who are coming here to preview before the sale and there will be relatives and friends here all week to review what my friend wants them to have.

Packing to move? Yes. One room is done and a second is partially done. We are on schedule. My friend is mentally ready to move so the purging and decision-making come realitively easy. Items get added to the moving sale just as they are about to go into a box. Well done!!

Each trash night is an adventure. Good thing they pick up trash here twice a week. Tonight's pick up will be a doozie - six huge trash bags and the recycle bin.

Letting go is an adventure I wish all of you could experience with the gusto and determination as this woman. She feels so good about giving to others the treasures she has so they, took can experience their joy. How about you?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Time Flies . . .

Did you ever start a major project and need to set it aside to go to another project that is more time urgent? That's where I am. I am flying to Florida tomorrow so the last four days have been geared primarily to preparing to fly. The last packing alert concerning carry-on luggage has changed my usual packing plan, so I have as of last night, starting packing following updated guidelines.

Don't get me wrong. I still am cleaning out the office but it is with the attitude of being sure everything is in proper order before I leave. I am doing little office things to be consistent with the office project's lower priority.

I am also getting a head start on change of season wardrobe purging. Because it is hot in Florida, if I am not taking an item of summer clothing on my trip -- and I take very little -- I am able to either give away summer and early-fall clothing or store summer items away.

When I travel, I do not dress to please. I dress to toss. Most of what I bring never comes home with me so I have suitcase room for new items, like fresh fruit, without adding another suitcase. Since this is a business trip and I am preparing a lady to move into a retirement community, I really only need work clothes with one presentable outfit. That's my plan.

So the next time I write, it will be from the sunny south. Meanwhile, tell me about your change of season habits and how you go about packing these days. WOW there is always so much to chat about when the topic is de-cluttering and organizing, eh?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Joy of Another Point of View

It can be overwhelming sometimes to unclutter and reorganize by yourself. Have a buddy help with some of the work -- physical or mental. I needed some mental help, another set of eyes to help me figure out furniture placement -- especially that bookcase. Yes, I had moved it, but I still was not happy.

I asked a friend to come look at my progress and give me her point of view on how the office should look. She made a suggestion that I never thought about! I loved it and implemented it --- get completely rid of the bookcase, cull more books and put a mini book case on the back of the filing cabinet desk (see previous posts). I'd gain more floor space, get the unsighly bookcase out of the way and have a reason to further sort through books.

I hated looking at that bookcase. It gave my office a cluttered feeling. But I was stuck without an idea of what to do about it. I'm not ready to purge all of my books so I thought I had to keep the book case. I never thought of putting the books on the back of the desk.

My friend told me she was just following my advice to use wall space -- go vertical! I got a small 2- shelf bookcase, weeded out more books and the large bookcase is gone -- donated to a non-profit organization.

I'm thrilled. Yes, I am still tossing and teaking and settling in. That takes time, but I see the end of the whole project now. What a great feeling that is to know the office organizing project is coming to an end. By the time Labor Day weekend is over, I will be done.

Don't worry, I'll find another project. Meanwhile, let me know what you have learned from my experiences.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Office Saga Continues

Yesterday, my friend Ellen came and we put together my new smaller computer desk. She re-assembled my technology and I am up and running again. My large old computer desk is in the area of my apartment between the living room and office waiting for a local charity to pick it up this week. The desk is a large, sturdy desk that someone who needs one will enjoy. I am glad to give it a new home.

After Ellen left, I emptied, then moved my two two-drawer filing cabinets and desk top to the opposite side of the office and put them all back together - after a thorough cleaning, of course.

What happened to the contents of that old desk? I mentioned in my last blog that I had purged the one file drawer from the old desk and gotten its contents into these four filing cabinets by de-cluttering them. Also in that old desk was a small drawer I used for supplies - pens, pencils, small notepads, staples, paper clip holders, etc . Yesterday, after an hour sorting and tossing supplies, I have consolidated the contents of that one drawer into my larger supply cabinet and have it all in one. On my much smaller new computer desk, I have one pen. That's plenty. Last -- but not least -- the old desk had two book shelves on its right side. Those books are piled on the floor. Fortunately, I had purged them so each shelf was only half full.

I still have work to do. I must clean off and move my 3-shelf bookcase to another wall far from my desk. I don't like to see open shelving when I am working so I want it out of everyday sight. In addition, anyone (including me) walking into my apartment could see the bookcase and its books. I want to change that, too. From now on, anyone coming into the apartment will only see the side of the bookcase (painted to match the wall color so it blends in) and not its contents. That will be a much cleaner, uncluttered look.

Before putting the bookcase in its new home, I must move a small chest out of the way. That chest will be placed just next to the new computer desk because it has paper supplies in it -- business brochures, handouts for workshops, large pads of paper, etc. It will go under my reclaimed window. My laser printer and its stand have been in front of the window blocking the view. They will be moved to the wall where the bookcase was located. The small chest will fit nicely under the window without blocking access. It will also help hide one unsightly black cord.

So I will be living with stacks of books on the floor for a while. I plan to once more cull through all my books to get another bag full for the library, then re-shelve the remaining books on the bookcase -- including the ones from the two shelves on the old desk. A joy of living an uncluttered life is I have room to stack books on the floor without interferring with anything else.

What are you doing to organize or re-organize your space?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Office/Paper Organizers

It's back to school time - for us clutterers!

This is the best time of the year to purchase organizers for the office. Retailers bring out new products, including organizers. There is the best variety of everyday needs, like folders and labels and good prices due to heavy retail competition.

What do you need to become better organized at work or in your home office? Labels, a new filing cabinet, folders, gadgets, equipment, furniture -- you name it and it's here now. Don't delay. Make your list and shop for your organizers and office supplies - soon.

Calendars are plentiful, too. Most are organized by school year, but January-December 2007 calendars are in, too. Be careful you choose the correct format. Your favorite calendar might already be in -- go look.

I'm heading out in a few minutes myself. I am donating my large 54"W x 27"D computer desk which has two bookshelves and a file drawer. I no longer need or want such a large desk. I want more open space in my office.
  • I've already purged all of my 5 file drawers so I can fit the contents of the desk drawer into one of the other four drawers.
  • I have purged my 3-shelf bookcase and these two book shelves so I can fit all the books on the bookcase.

I am purchasing a new corner computer desk only 38"W x 19"D. On the bottom shelf will fit the printer which is on the large desk and the CPU that is on the floor next to the desk. I will save space, consolidate equipment, reduce the need for long cords and prevent early morning sun glare on my monitor since the new desk will fit in the corner.

Check back for the further adventures of office re-organization.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Magic of Guests

Clutterers usually stop inviting guests when the clutter reaches the embarrassing stage. Having been a clutterer, I have found one way to motivate myself to do the work of uncluttering is to invite a guest over. It's human nature it seems that we will clean up for company, but not do it for ourselves. That's sad, but seems to be the way it is.

I am in the process of reorganizing the furniture in my office. I want some help and asked a friend to come after she returns from her vacation. The evening I invited her, I found myself doing some "tweeking" of my space. I've put out an extra bag of garbage, wrote a couple of notes I've been putting off which had inserts to enclose (now they are gone) and even ate up some left-overs for dinner that night. Now I am working on purging my books and getting a bag full to donate to the library. The bookcase is in my office and I plan to move it.

Consider this: the next time you're tired of your clutter and need a boost, invite a guest to come a few weeks down the line. You'll make the time to unclutter. It's a process that works.

Let me know your experience.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Just One More Thing

Friday is apartment cleaning day. I am fortunate to live in an apartment complex where we can have our apartments cleaned every other week. Friday is my day. Because housekeeping is coming, I make an extra effort to " pick up" the place, and put out more trash. That has helped me keep living simply -- that little effort each week on "garbage day." Although housekeeping comes every other week, I've gotten into the habit of doing the extra effort each Friday.

Have you thought about making your garbage pick up day an opportunity to get rid of just one more thing? That is a great night to put the mental and physical effort into ridding yourself of clutter -- they take it away right away. No second chances while the item sits around.

Quick places to check include: old take-home food in the back of the refrigerator, unrecognizable frozen items in the freezer, "junk" mail you haven't read that week (don't worry -- you'll get more next week and if you were really interested, you would have read it by now). Be sure to shred your address.