Here’s something funny: Just recently, B and I were discussing all the ways we could increase storage space in our home. More bookshelves in the bedroom, more storage for craft supplies in the office.
Less than two weeks later we’ve discovered exactly just how much space we have! That is, once everything we don’t need/don’t use/don’t want was removed from those rooms. In the office alone I removed two bags of garbage, one bag of fabric (garage sale), and one and a half bags of paper for recycling (Brian’s whole collection of academic articles in binders), plus a bag of binders and another half bag worth of garage sale bits and pieces plus a large basket of DVDs. Oh, we also moved out an extra table and a plastic storage tower. That’s six large garbage bags of extra stuff, plus two extraneous pieces of furniture crammed into a room that is pretty small (9×8) and serves multiple functions. The bookshelves have gone from overflowing, to tidy and manageable. Sewing fabric is all tucked away in the closet, and supplies have been corralled and cubbied into much more manageable amounts.
Out of M’s over-filled room came several shopping bags worth of old clothing, a box of books, and a tower of unplayed board games (we have four board games we routinely play as a family and the rest go untouched). I’m hoping that after we get a smaller desk solution going on, we can also decrease her desk-footprint by about half and replace the large rolling office chair with a stool to give her as much space as possible.
In our bedroom? One unused weight bench plus weights, a broken printer, a working printer which we moved to the renovated office, an extra area rug that never looked good and served only to collect dust, a garbage bag of clothes, several bags picked up at convention, two pieces of broken/torn luggage, and a number of novels we had no interest in reading again. And a small garbage-can’s worth of old/unused/expired toiletries.
The basement – the mess which inspired me to action in the first place – heaved up: a classical guitar, three glass carboys for wine-making, an extra-small women’s backpack (I have a much nicer one now), a pair of expensive women’s hiking boots (which have always hurt my feet), two leather jackets, a woven wall-hanging, some miscellaneous tools, a large storage container full of KISS memorabilia (action figures and puzzles, but not the valuable releases of them), some bee-keeping supplies, some camping gear, a shitload of wine bottles, and many other bits and pieces destined for the curb in a couple of weeks.
This morning after a recycling run (dump run was Saturday) I dug a few choice (unused) pieces out of the kitchen – bowls, vases, and a number of rusted, burned and dented baking pans – to make room for all the stuff which sits on top of the cupboards (it’s all inside now!), and I’ve trucked the rest of the bits and pieces into the studio where it awaits our garage sale on the May long weekend. I’ve been listing the larger items bit-by-bit on Craigslist with the intention that all money raised in the house-purge endeavour shall go towards some small repairs that need doing, a power-washing of the exterior, and some kitchen paint.
I’m hoping by the end we have a few hundred dollars, plus we will have made donations to the Purple Thistle (political library), Miscellany (enterprise thrift in our ‘hood), and cashed in some books for trade credit. And mostly? We will have saved ourselves the expense and time it would have taken to put up more shelving, and uncovered more space for actually living in. This little project is about so much more than money 🙂
As much as I have had some anxiety about this process (what if I want this/that/etc. again?), I have mostly enjoyed the act of purging – and B. has been super-awesome as well – he’s bravely dumped tons of personal papers, academic articles, DVDs (all burned to our central storage drive) in addition to sorting out basement bits and pieces and moving stuff around.
Now that all the saleable stuff is dealt with, my next project will be to tackle the sock and underwear drawers as well as the household paper. Neither of those are large tasks, but they are essential to completing this craziness we’ve begun around here.