Friday, January 28, 2011

52 Weeks o f decluttering - week four

Patting myself on the back this week, as I got some serious decluttering and organising happening!

My target was our hall cupboards and linen cupboard. In the original design circa 1970s, the cupboard was a double hanging area, one assumes for coats. Probably really useful in a climate that includes ice and snow in winter, but slightly overkill in our temperate zone! So after we moved in, I added storage shelves. The linen cupboard alongside lost its floor storage to the ducted heating vent when we installed that.

Over the years the space has severed in a variety of ways. Now it is back to just being a general household storage zone. A good attempt was made by Melissa to stretch the space allocated to her sewing supplies, however I also had that in my sights this week!

I use the top shelf to store bed linen, which is separated into individual sets. I like the system of storing each set in a pillowcase, but my cleaner doesn't, so she just stacks! However, I was all getting a bit out-of-control so needed revisiting! Our collection of white bed linen had accumulated far too many pillowcases: each time I replace a worn out sheet or quilt cover, I end up with non-optional pillow cases!!! So I went through and selected my preferred ones (with the highest thread count) then moved the overflow to the "Spare/Guest" section. I plan to dye them in various colours to match with the kids sets . So now our stack is back to basics: I only have two full sets of linen for our bed, one on/one off. My cleaner changes and launders them once a week and cycles them through on the one day, so no need to have extras causing clutter. I also have this system for my son and did have for my daughter until she began buying her own: she now has four sets and not enough shelf room! mmm ... she plans leaving home soon, so I will be patient!

The next shelf down holds our small collection of place mats and tablecloths, whittled down over the years because we don't actually use them regularly, so they were just clutter. We also keep beach towels here.

The original third shelf had been removed without trace at some point (I have no memory why!) and that really affected the efficiency of the space, so we replaced that. the idea of this storage area (which is "high rent" storage real estate) is that it is for items that are used occasionally but regularly. What had started to happen (again) was it turned into a dumping ground for "I don't know where it goes" stuff! My intention is that everything has a home, but there are four of us living here!

I spent much of Monday afternoon sorting through all the STUFF and making good use of my sorting baskets - Throw Away, Give Away and Put Away. I good load wen off to Savers and a satisfactory lot went into the bin/recycling. I also separated out stuff that doesn't rate the real estate and shipped that to the storage unit (why were decades of xrays and scans in there, when the only time they are ever needed is when I see my neurologist once in two years?)

I had been accumulating used gift bags for reuse, but they had been joined by branded store bags, so those all went to recycling and I moved the gift bags into a flat plastic crate. And as I never, ever use gift wrap and certainly wasn't going to use the cheap rolls bought years ago, I shipped them off to Savers.

Electric extension leads etc were wrangled into a labelled box (again!) and assorted camera gear has a box of its own. Melissa is allowed a couple of her plastic sewing storage boxes, but the rest are in HER storage unit (did I mention she plans to move out??)

The purple crates hold my resting craft tools/supplies - like my pottery tools etc. Stuff i wouldn't want to replace but aren't in use for now.

Floor space is left clear for the portable air conditioner to sit - it is currently out being used.

Next cupboard over is the linen cupboard.

This space gives me more angst than it should! You will see the shelves are labelled - we had a cleaner a couple of years ago who was HOPELESS at putting anything away, so there are labels all over the kitchen and cupboards (still didn't help her!) and we just left them for future. But this is how it looked when I opened the door - the empty space is marked "bathroom" Those purple towels are in the space marked "ensuite"and those green towels should be in it! The purple ones should be in the space marked "bathroom". Now, that sounds uber-OCD, but it fascinates me! And then when I came home yesterday, she had moved them BACK after I moved them on Wednesday! Am thinking she is confused by the "Bathroom/ensuite" termonology, so considering changing to colour labels!

That top shelf was cluttered by Kaitlyn's "memory box" so she came and collected it yesterday! ( I think that was the last of her stuff!!)

Now there is room for the pet blankets, next t the blankets and throw rungs (the blankets are missing, being washed!)

(The towels look a little sad because there was a load on the line!)

The baskets hold face washers and wheat bags.

So now I just need to train the cleaner and I should be able to return to "set and forget" mode with this one!

I also cleared out the big bottom drawer in the big dresser in the bedroom, which stored memorabilia which was already decluttered - I moved those into a plastic storage box and used the drawer to hold cushions. A smaller drawer also got a big declutter - the big achievement there was I could finally reunite all 7 cassette tapes of the Chronicles of Narnia, which got split years ago! Not that we use cassette tapes anymore, but I kept them on principle!

Next target - kitchen cupboards, especially the out of reach ones and their secrets!


Need To Change said...

Wow what a difference. Lovely

I had a giggle when reading the towels got moved back. I'm a bit OCD about my towels and every single time my grandma gives me towels she gives me peach and my mother brown when its actually my bathroom which is brown and mums which is peach.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, you've been really busy! I wish I had more room in my linen cupboard as it is sorely in need of organising but I haven't been able to face it yet!

sm3wkl said...

It's always nice to open up a clean, organized closet. It looks great!

Martha (MM) said...

You sure have been working hard - excellent job!!!

Sarah said...

I was thinking just before I read it that color labels might work better. Looking good!

Anonymous said...

It does help to get the moochers out of the house! Haha. Very nice!

Carol said...

the AFTERS loo great! I like the containers and all the labeling!

Eos Mom said...

Way to go, everything looks great! Yes, I think color labels will work better for your cleaner. :-)

Jamie said...

I love your work, Yvette.
It is about time I tackle our hallways cupboards again. It has been a little over 6 months since I have given the linen cupboard a good go over, about three months since I've cleaned out the games cupboard (I remove the handle so I can keep control of the state it gets in to!) The third hall cupboard (misc.) needs some work, but was done about a year ago so the bones are there (I'm telling myself!)

I love your gift wrap storage caddy (though you don't use gift wrap??) Do you remember where you got it from? I have had all of ours stored in a box our telescope came in, but have been using it for around 8 years now and it is a little worse for wear. It could do with replacing. I've been considering another tube from the Post Office (I have one to store Contact in), but I don't think it would be large enough.

Yvette O'Dowd said...

Jamie, it is a plastic bag holder from Ikea! (We have one in the pantry for plastic bags too!) It now holds a roll of cellophane, that last of a roll of wrapping paper - and a yoga mat! LOL! I just use gifts bags now and reuse ones we have been given, as they are usually perfectly fine!

Sarah, I am going to make some colour labels over the weekend and see how the cleaner copes on Tuesday! Poor thing, it isn't easy working for a label-addict!!!!

shirlnutkin said...

wow ... very inspiring. i am also going to find my label maker!

~Tricia said...

Really nice job! Big cupboards like that are an overwhelming job for me--I like smaller closets for that reason! LOL

Organize with Sandy said...

You did a great job!
Found you from Organizing Junkies blog
I'd love for you to share you organizing posts on my link party too! adding the link since I'm not on blogger.

Samantha said...

Great job! I always find it interesting that places like that become homes for everything that people don't know where to put over time. You are motivating me to go through all of our linens.