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What a Mess!


Grab a beverage, find a comfy chair, and catch up with what we have been doing. You can read it all here on our blog page

What a Mess!

Ann Stoll

Last week we talked about clutter and what a mess it can cause in your life.

Remember that? (Feel free to click here to go back and read it if you missed it.)

I asked you to identify one area that is really bugging you; a small area that you would like to take on and de-clutter. Did you pick a project?

I told you what mine was: the cabinet currently serving as my “office” — well, part of my office, anyway.

The First Step: Stop

It can be challenging to make sure every part of your home is set up to serve you the way you feel it should. It takes creativity, patience, and sometimes even money to get things organized.

But first, let’s stop collecting so much stuff! (Unless it’s goats, of course — you can never have too many goats!)

When making a purchase, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. How will this item serve you?

  2. What is it replacing? (Meaning, when something comes into the home, something should be exiting the home.)

  3. Is it something that will make your life easier?

  4. Will you use it frequently or is this going to be an object taking up space most of the time. (Might want to rethink this one.)

So many decisions!

Sometimes, we don’t think about why we are buying what we are buying, which means it is an impulse buy, which then leads to buyer’s remorse.

Many times, clutter occupies more than physical space. It can also clutter our minds and cause us to feel bogged down and affect our creativity. Photo by  Onur Bahçıvancılar  on  Unsplash

Many times, clutter occupies more than physical space. It can also clutter our minds and cause us to feel bogged down and affect our creativity. Photo by Onur Bahçıvancılar on Unsplash

The Second Step: Purge

I strive to live as minimally as possible, but It’s hard when you have so much stuff.

I just purged my closet again today! I was able to pull out four more articles of clothing that I don’t wear. This is my mission: To purge our home of all this stuff clogging up our lives and minds.

Did you know that having too much stuff requires more work? We don’t really think about this, but it’s true. The more stuff you have, the more time it takes to take care of it. Let me break it down in a different way.

Right now, my shop is very crowded with stuff.

  • Boxes are stacked to the ceiling.

  • Boxes are piled under tables.

  • The tables occupy most of what’s left of my floor space.

I basically have a narrow aisle to move around in. (BTW, this is the second half of my shop. My production area is pretty clean at the moment.)

Having all these boxes clogging my space causes me to stop and move them when I need to get to something they block. Or I have to climb over them to reach something else.

There is a constant shifting of boxes in this space. It takes up time and space to have all these boxes. It’s just not efficient!

The same is true of too much stuff in your home. You have to store it, move it, clean it, take care of it, find it, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of all that baggage? Of course it would!

Just looking at this causes me anxiety. What about you? Photo by  JF Martin  on  Unsplash

Just looking at this causes me anxiety. What about you? Photo by JF Martin on Unsplash

The Third Step: Eliminate

Life is too short to spend it worrying about stuff. So how can we handle this better?

I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan and follow his spending ways. While I’m not talking about finances today, there is a cool principle he teaches at the beginning of his classes: Baby Steps.

The Baby Steps are principles to put into place to get out of debt. Debt is like having too much stuff. Both aren’t good.

The first Baby Step is to save $1000. This is your hot water heater money, so to speak. An emergency fund. Later, instead of putting the new hot water heater on your credit card (bad) you pay cash for it (good).

So how does this apply to what I’m talking about today? All this stuff you purged could be sold to obtain that $1000 for emergencies.

I’m a big believer of donating my clutter so someone else can benefit from it. But if you’re dragging around a bunch of debt, selling your clutter and saving for an emergency fund make complete sense.

I could make a very long post talking about the Baby Steps, but I’ll spare you. I will say that I know they work, though!

I’ll let Dave Ramsey himself tell you about his program. You can pick up his book, Total Money Makeover, from your local library. (See what I did there? You don’t have to buy the book, just go to the library and borrow it! No extra book to find a home for and it was free to read!)

The Fourth Step: Organize

Now that you’ve cleaned out an area in your home or office, what are you going to do with the items that need to go back into that area?

I strongly urge you to not put things back the same way. This may encourage you to create piles again.

How about finding some cute bins and labeling them? Target and Home Goods both have some really cute organizational containers to help with your project. Put like items together and label the bins.

It seems to help maintain organization when items are sorted into their own containers and the containers are labeled. You are less likely to put an orange in the apple box, so to speak. Also, at a glance, you know where everything is.

  • For your pantry, get some of those crates, whether plastic, wood or rattan, to store like items. Chips go in one, snacks in another, nuts and seeds in another, etc. Potatoes and onions can have their place, too.

  • If you have wire racks in your pantry, like I do, find some trays to organize canned goods and spices.

  • Always keep your canned goods “faced” (keep the labels pointing forwards, so you don’t have to dig to look for things).

  • Rotate your stock (put newly purchased foods behind items you purchased last time, so that your food is always “fresh.”

  • Get rid of foods that have been sitting around for a long time or have gone stale. Throw them out!

Here are some great places to find organizational helps:

  1. Amazon

  2. Home Goods

  3. Target

  4. Wayfair

  5. Container Store

  6. Office Depot

  7. Staples

  8. Dollar Tree

  9. Good Will

  10. Your local resale store

There are so many options!

Don’t go shopping for anything until you’ve cleaned out your space. Take measurements of your space and plan for the individual containers you may need. Do a little research online to see what’s out there.

If you only know the size of the total space, it can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed once you start looking at all the different-sized containers available.

Set your items into piles ahead of time, before shopping, so you have an idea of the size of container you need for each section.

I use to love these! My how the digital world has changed the way books are organized.

I use to love these! My how the digital world has changed the way books are organized.

What a Mess!

So where am I with my project, you ask?

Not far.

I went shopping today to look for a few items to help with my paperwork.

It was a total fail.

Shopping is hard for me. I wanted to show you all kinds of cool finds! I did see many things, but I hate spending money, even when it will help me out in the long run (and I need all the help I can get).

NOTE: Redoing a small area in your home shouldn’t be an expensive endeavor.

I had something specific in mind and I just didn’t see what I was looking for. I will share with you what I decide upon, once I find it. It will be soon, because I can’t wait for it to be done.

I will get this accomplished. Mission accepted!

But first, it’s time to go play with my four new goats!

Share Your Storage Ideas!

Do you have a favorite storage container? Maybe you use odd-shaped baskets or clear plastic bins. Whatever you use, let us know! If you’d like to share a photo, you can do that over on our Facebook page.