Friday, April 10, 2015

It's Spring Cleaning Time

Spring Flowers

Like most people at this time of year
 I tend to give the house a major spring cleaning and try to purge as much excessive stuff that I can. I go through kitchen cupboards, hallway and bedroom closets, all drawers and shelves, bookcases, and yes, even the stash. Each new season I'm always amazed as to how much crap a family of three can accumulate in a few months. I've realized that a lot of it is paper related - random bills, reports, magazines, catalogs, receipts, random shopping lists, scribbled notes on scrap paper, and the Munchkin's art and school work. Most of these things I downright don't need and/or have learned to let go. A while ago when I had actually made it to a knit night a friend gave me a fantastic idea on how to organize the Munchkin's school stuff - it involves an expanding accordion-style file folder in which each year/grade has a designated pocket. Anything you want to keep from the year must all fit into that one pocket. Imagine having your child's works of art, report cards, gold starred essays, and test papers all in one handy (and tidy) spot. Perfecto, right? My friend's mother did this for her growing up and when she left home her mother handed her the file folder case as a keepsake. So awesome.

Anyhoo, then there's the kitchen. After years and years of working in coffee shops and restaurants the Mister and I have the FIFO method permanently embedded in our brains and without thinking I automatically put "death dates" on everything that we open. The cupboard that contains our mugs and jars though...well...I've admit it before: I hoard mugs. I'm addicted and can't resist buying mugs. If it's cute, if it's a souvenir, if it's knitting related...if I like it, I'll buy it. All.of.them. I'm weak when it comes to drinkware. And mason jars. I'm pretty sure my love for mason jars is a well known fact that's been documented several times on this blog. The Mister likes to joke that our house is a mason jar reserve. It's only recently that I finally agreed to recycle all the Atlas jars that our pasta sauce comes in, since the possibility is quite high that we will be buying more of it in the future. I've also convinced the Mr that I will not buy or bring home any more jars since finding 2 flats of unopened canning jars in the pantry. I totally forgot that I had them and now they're either being used as storage for all the bulk food items that I wasn't quite sure how to organize or patiently waiting for the local strawberry season to arrive.

Even though we're only 4 months into the year I think I've been doing a darn good job at not bringing any more stuff into the house. With every item that I contemplated on buying I've asked myself whether or not if I really needed it and what would realistically happen to it once I got it home. So far this little trick has worked and I'm happy to announce that not only have I not added to the piles of stuff around here but I also haven't bought a single scrap of fabric for my personal stash (even though I've been soooo tempted!!) AND I've even refrained from buying yarn!! Ok, I did cave back in February and bought some gorgeous yarn for socks but other than that, I've stayed away from all yarny updates and websites (I've even limited my Ravelry visits, that's how serious I am!). I'm sure that not being able to knit has helped in preventing me from buying more yarn as I didn't need to add to the stash when nothing was being knit up...which brings me to the spring cleaning of the stash.

Half of my stash is stored in the Munchkin's bedroom closet (seriously, how much closet space does a 6 year old need?) and the other half is in my side of my bedroom closet. A while back the Munchkin asked me when was he going to be able to have his entire closet back. I, of course, was speechless and probably looked like a deer in headlights. I knew this day would come in which I must either downsize or find a new place for the stash. I just didn't think it would be this soon. 

Crap.

I generally like to toss the stash once a season to refresh my mind of all the beauties that I have in my possession, and to make sure no bugs have decided to make a home in my precious yarn. During this time I also like to "cull the herd" a little in terms of pulling out any little cakes of leftover yarn or whatever extra skeins or balls that remain from a finished project and set them aside. Yarns that I no longer have feels for or once had a project attached to them but now don't due to a change in my style/tastes, get put aside too. This is usually a very rare occurrence but seeing how I need to reduce my belongings I gave everything a proper consideration. I'd like to say that I really did give it the old college try in attempting to downsize and while I did rustle up a small bin full of yarn I think I could have done a better job. It's just that in the back of my mind I can hear that little voice say "but it's yarn, it won't go bad...what if you need it?". You know we've all been there at least once. Don't deny!

A neighbour highly recommended to me that I read Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, to deal with the stash...and the rest of the house. She claims the book and the KonMari Method described in it were complete game changers. After lamenting to the Mister numerous times over the period of a month about my frustrations with the constant clutter (even after a few so-called purging binges) I gave in and got in line to borrow a digital copy from the library. In the meantime that small bin of yarn will either get donated or destashed (I get asked about how I go about doing this at least once a season, so here's the link to to my guide/tutorial on Destashing 101), and I'll continue to contemplate each and every skein of yarn that's in my bedroom closet until I get my hands on that book. 

Have any of you read Marie Kondo's book? If so, did the Konmari Method work for you? If not, got any tips on small space living for a self-confessed packrat?





5 comments:

  1. I personally love Julie Morgenstern's books, particularly "Organizing from the Inside Out" and "SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life". She's not one of those annoying people that says "you have to get rid of X amount of stuff or you're a decluttering failure"; instead, she's all about figuring out what really matters in your life and carving out things that don't contribute to that. It was a huuuuge game changer for me as far as clutter goes!

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    1. Thanks for the recommendations Victoria! I'll definitely have to check those titles out. I know that a huge portion of the clutter is due to items not having a proper place in the house and therefore it's clutter. The whole figuring out what matters in your life and taking out the things that don't has really been on my minds these past few months, so those books seem totally up my alley!

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  2. Summer got me to read this book! It's completely mind blowing and I can't wait to get started. I was too impatient to wait through 156 holds on the paper copy so I downloaded the instant audio version from the library through Hoopla and listened to the entire audio book in less than 24 hours! I've since bought the hard copy to guide me through the process once I begin. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the book once you've read it!

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    1. Oh, I know Jane! It's crazy! When I saw how big the queue for the paper copy was, I said screw it and signed up for the digital copy - which I got to download last night. I'm excited to read it. Although now I'm thinking of maybe getting the audio copy too, as I'm anxious to get started and find I have to "pencil in" reading time, whereas if I got the audio I can listen while doing laundry/dishes. I'll let you know for sure what I thought about the book!

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  3. There were 150 holds on the paper copy when I got in line, but it came surprisingly quickly, so our system must have a ton of copies. That said, I gave up on the book because many of her ideas are just completely unrealistic for a family with children. Her basic premise is sound, and I like the idea of only owning things you truly love, but you still need somewhere to put the extra toilet paper and cleaning supplies. And I will never get to the point where I dry my shampoo bottle after having a shower and put it into the cupboard until I next need it.

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