25 June 2008

I'm not OC, I just have too much stuff....

Familiarity doesn't breed contempt. It breeds blindness. A strange thing has been underway at my house since I got back from my trip. I realized my house is packed! It was like I couldn't see it before. But after a month away, it stood out like a sore thumb. My house is full of CRAP! Maybe in some alternative universe I needed this stuff, but I've been living in a big pile of filth of my own making.

It all started when I sold Bek my dining room suite. I intended originally just to sell the table and chairs, but ended up dumping the buffet and hutch as well. So, here I am, just in from a collecting trip, facing an empty room full of art glass, collectibles, and table linens. A week later, that crap was still sitting on the floor. I like the art glass. The collectibles....meh...they could go. I really only want the sentimental stuff. After my divorce, I realized that I had spent an extraordinary amount of money on....nothing, and I vowed to never get caught up in that again. And for the most part I haven't. But over time, the buying "mistakes" tend to pile up and you don't really see them until they become a problem. They had become a problem.

You have to understand, I live alone in a two bedroom house with a 2.5 car garage. I have:
a walk-in utility closet
shelving in the utility room
an incredibly large clothes/linen closet in the bathroom
an oversized closet I have converted to storage in the spare bedroom
my exercise equipment stored on the enclosed front porch
a large dresser for clothes in my bedroom.

But the real storage monster is my kitchen, where you might even say I have two kitchens. I have the normal set of kitchen cabinets, which includes three large base cabinets, and three large above-counter cabinets centered around the sink. Those store the everyday dishes and a lot of stuff I never use. The base cabinets are not particularly easy to get to behind the kitchen table. In addition, I have a walk-in pantry with another complete set of base cabinets, upper cabinets, shelves, and a food pantry. This is my "real" kitchen area. I have all my countertop electronics (Kitchenaid, microwave, coffee pot, toaster, and canisters), pots and pans, food, and coffee cups in there.

So when couldn't find room to re-integrate my travel items in this house...oh man, that sent me over the edge. So for the last 3.5 weeks, I've been on an organizing bender. I started with the utility closet. I put away crap that I had just been tossing in there to get it out of my way. I boxed up the art-glass, collectibles, and seldom-used dishware from the buffet and stacked it up inside. Then I came outside and started dealing with the clothes I had in the laundry area, which led me, inevitably, to the bathroom closet. Decided I didn't really need 40 towels in my bathroom, so they went into the storage buckets in the garage.I sorted and purged the unwanted/unused toiletries in the bathroom. Last year, I had purchased a series of small, cheap plastic baskets, so there was no cash outlay, just a spring cleaning, you could say. End result: more room in the cabinets and I have a big bag of travel size shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions, and medicines to give away to friends and family.

On to the bedroom. My bedroom is small to say the least: 11.5 x 9.5. It is dominated by a king-size bed. I do have a very nice, oversized dresser, though the clothes in it are out of control. To remedy, I bought one of those diamond sock organizers and 2 sets of plastic boxes for seldom used/untamable items. Anyone who has a thong knows what I mean by an unruly lingerie drawer. I bought several travel packing cubes to organize things that were taking over the least used of my dresser drawers. The organizers in the dresser were actually very useful. They compressed things like socks and underwear and freed up room for folded clothing. Total cost: $40.

I have a small cabinet that came free with my house. For the moment, my linens are stored in there. I wish my kitchen included some useful drawers, but at present, I don't. But the kitchen is a whole other animal. I have embarassingly large amounts of storage space in the kitchen. Still, my biggest problem is plasticware. Over the years, I have tried to purchase increasingly compact plastic storage containers. But they still take up too much room. So, out they go. I'm putting a bunch in the garage sale. Anything cracked goes in the recycle bin. The container that has no use except for storing the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving has got to go. Now there are things that are seldom used that I want to keep: the ice cream maker and bread machine. The wine rack. Its big and bulky andnearly impossible to store. And the matching 3-tiered plate stand. Grandma's silver. The holiday china. The set of china Gram gave me. But the roasting pan...going to my sister. The pans that never see any use...garage sale. When I had the buffet, it was nice. Now, it's an albatross around my neck. I am dedicated to freeing up living space in my kitchen. What can't be stored is gone. Net cost: presumably a profit after the garage sale.

Funny thing, the camping-trip percolator is still on the counter. I'm getting around to it. At least things are starting to loosen up in there, giving me the mental freedom to start thinking about how to arrange my furniture sans the dining room suite. I think I'm going to have to move my entertainment center. Thing is, I like it where it is. Oh well, I guess in the interests of flow, I'm going to have to be open to change.


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