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Remember those puzzles where you slide the tiles around to either make a picture or put the numbers in order? You know, the ones where the whole thing is filled except one spot. I often feel like my house is one of those puzzles, except instead of tiles we have clutter and there’s no empty space.
My wife and I have had the same conversation over and over trying to decide where to move things and what to get rid of. We have a tired looking china cabinet that desperately needs to go, and as far as I’m concerned the China can go with it. But my wife is standing her ground on that one. We want to replace the cabinet with a buffet in the kitchen, but there’s a shelf where we want to put the buffet. I have the same opinion of the shelf and most of its contents that I do of the china cabinet but my wife at least concedes that the photo albums could probably live somewhere else.
I ended my last post about books saying that I needed to follow my own advice and get my antique books off the basement floor. I refuse to buy more shelves so I have to make room for them somewhere. I also have a wood bookshelf in the basement, where the temperature and humidity fluctuate quite a bit, that probably should be on the main floor or upstairs.
At the same time, our office, where another bookshelf lives, has become a multipurpose room. We have hooks on the wall where the kids’ backpacks usually hang, my guitar, a large desk with our computer on it, an aquarium, and even a dartboard on the wall.
I guess this was the long-winded way of saying that we are in the process of rearranging the house.
Rearranging all of these things requires the removal of something. We just went through most of the DVDs and CDs to clear some space on a bookshelf. We put most of the DVDs in this huge binder. We liked this case because each page had space for two discs and also for the DVD covers. When we were done, we had a big pile of empty DVD cases sitting on the floor. It turns out that our local library was more than happy to take them along with the movies and CDs we decided to get rid of. When I was done rearranging the remainders, I had two empty shelves on our living room bookshelf and the binder of DVDs is stored in the closet.
Our next step is to tackle the one piece of furniture we both agreed could go, the old cedar chest (aka time capsule) in the living room. We’re just getting started on it, but have already discarded some pictures and frames. When we get rid of it maybe I’ll feel like we have one of those empty squares in our puzzle.
Sometimes decluttering means just rearranging and getting rid of some things in the process.
I think it’s a good idea to occasionally examine where all of the things you actually use are located and decide if it’s really in the best place. If you’re like us, you’ve been in your house a while and things just sort of accumulate in places for no good reason other than you just decided to put it there “for now” and never found a new spot for it.
Visualize how you want your house to look when everything is where you want it. Think about how you use it, or in the case of our China, how you don’t use it. We keep saying we should just use get it out occasionally but we never think of it when we’re getting a meal ready because the China cabinet is in the living room. Getting the China into a buffet in the kitchen will put it where we see it every time we’re getting ready for a meal and help remind us to either use it or get rid of it.
I’ll keep you posted on our progress and I hope you’re making some progress as well.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2022
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