Perhaps I've watched too much of Peter Walsh and "Clean Sweep" or maybe it's my perfectionistic tendencies, but I am addicted to decluttering and organizing. I swear at least twice a year, I pick a room and just start throwing things away. I move furniture around, clean every bit of floor and baseboards, windos and ceilings. The problem is, I just have to do it again sometime in the future. I often find myself simply overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff that I own! I have a 1900 sq ft, 4 bedroom house (much of which I rarely see) and I live alone with 2 cats. Clearly that is MUCH more space than I need. (I bought it for the resale value. Or at least that's what I tell myself.)
Most of the time, I can keep most of the clutter in check. It's easy since I live alone and there is no one to come around and mess it up. The problem is that I have simply been too busy lately and if I'm going to do something, I want to do it right. I hate the phrase "for now" ... as in, "Oh, we'll just put this here 'for now'". All that means is that you don't want to make a decision about something right now and eventually you'll have to not only deal with that thing, but also the mess created by not doing it the right way the first time. Argh! Very frustrating!
The bain of my existence has always been my office/den/craft room. I swear it is the place where all papers go to die. This small room (probably about 14 X 13) contains all of my yarn for crocheting, pictures, paper and stickers for scrapbooking, my treadmill for working out at home, books for leisure reading and all of my bills to be paid and filed. That's a lot for one room to function as! I have two other rooms that I could use downstairs in the finished basement, but it somehow feels depressing to relegate myself to the basement for crafting when it's my house and I should get to use it as I see fit. Unfortunately, that leads to a very tiny room being stuffed to the gills with....stuff.
For a long time, I've wanted to REALLY organize it (as well as my scrapbook supplies, which is on my list), but I just couldn't seem to figure out the best way to configure the room and the stuff in the room. So, that leads me to do nothing. For me, the Perfect can be the enemy of the Good and the consequences are the "BEFORE" pictures of the room. I'm mortified that I let it get that bad. I sometimes think that on those cleaning/organizational shows, that they must stage those rooms. There is no way that people can have THAT much stuff on their floors, dressers, beds, closets, etc. Unfortunately, I am living proof that they are not staged. There was yarn, books and papers that needed to be filed simply covering the floor. It was so bad that I couldn't even get to the treadmill if I had wanted to. (It's a good thing I have that gym membership!)
So, I decided to just do it! To just organize the room the way that I really wanted it organized. Troy was away for the weekend working on his motorcycle and I have National Scrapbooking Day coming up, so I wanted to get REALLY organized. My plan was to spend Friday evening and all day Saturday really gutting the room and finding a place for everything so that everything could be in its place. Fortunately for me, a little inspiration (aided by some internet searching for craft room makeovers) and a big win at poker ($230) helped bring my plan to fruition.
I knew that there were a few things that I wanted to make sure were part of the room, so after work on Friday, I set about putting my plan into action. I have a fabulous Bonde bookcase from Ikea that I knew would hold much of my supplies as well as quite a few boxes, etc for holding smaller items. My mom and I have made a bit of a resolution to more consistently work on our scrapbook (once a month, minimum) and she comes down to my house for that. I wanted to make sure that my room had a space for each of us to work. We usually work in my backroom of my house where we set up two 6 ft tables, but it's not well heated and I hate for her to have to drag all of her stuff all the way back there. Besides, I don't like having to move my stuff either! A few years ago, she gave me an old desk that was hers, so that would work for one desk, but I needed another. My solution was to pick up two white cabinets ($24.99 each at Target) and combine them with a white melamine board I already had for an instant desk. I think it turned out quite well!
I also needed something to put all of my pens and paper into so that they were handy. My thought was that if I can see it, I will use it. Otherwise, out of sight, out of mind, right? So, I also scoured a thrift store to come across several items that would fill those needs nicely without putting a dent in my pocket.
So, with my supplies gathered, I started gutting the room. By about 1 AM on Saturday morning, I had moved the big white Ikea shelf to the other side of the room (not an easy task by myself - it's a good thing I have carpet in there!), put both of the new cabinets together and placed the board on it for my makeshift desk. It was starting to come together, but I was exhausted, so I headed to bed. I actually slept in until about 9 AM on Saturday, but got to work as soon as I woke up.
On Saturday morning, the mess in the room had seemed to multiply overnight. Now, not only was much of the craft room still a mess, but now there were discarded boxes in the front room, boxes of yarn in my bedroom and a chair full of stuff blocking the hallway. Were things really getting better? What had I gotten myself into?!?
I had previously kept all (most) of my scrapbooking supplies in the little closet in the room, but I knew that that would be the future home of my HUGE stash of yarn, so I cleaned it out and moved the bookshelf near the other one in the corner of the room. Now that the big furniture was basically in place, the real work began. For me, I hate the fiddly bits of life. The paperclips and pens, notepads and stickers. All of that stuff seems to multiply if it's not properly contained. So, I set about containing it. I slowly filled (and cataloged) the books on the bookshelves. I organized completed scrapbooks and supplies ready for future use. I interspersed cute chachkis in amidst the bookshelves. It was so nice to get to take my time. There was no one there to roll their eyes when I took my time putting all of the paper in a certain order or to complain that I had the TV up to loud (it was room away). It was simply amazing to roll around in all of the compulsiveness that is my perfectionism.
And now that it's done, I am overjoyed. I know that this week as I prepare for National Scrapbook Day, all of my work will pay off. I know exactly where all of my photos and memorabilia are. I know which paper and stickers I have at my disposal. My pens are at my fingertips and ready to use. There is no excuse now for not getting those projects done.
Speaking of which, a friend of mine got married about 4 years ago and I was in the process of putting a little wish book together for her that contained all of the well wishes from the people who attended her bridal shower. While I was cleaning, I found the nearly finished book. So, this week, with my space all clear, I will FINALLY finish that little book for her. It should make a excellent anniversary gift, right?