House Guest Imperative

got_coffee_mod-4I have a plan on how to approach my hoard. I mean I know how I would go about it. Like what I would organize how and in what order — but I have a problem.

I have a number of health issues that sap my energy causing me to be in a near constant amount of fatigue. It only gets worse of course if I do much. There’s also that sort of energy to get-up-and-go. More of a spiritual thing perhaps. However I get fatigued very easily to the point of total exhaustion.

I figure that if I could get one or two trusted friends to come over and give me a hand I might be able to accomplish much. I’d need the tools like plastic storage bins, garbage bags, labels, markers, and perhaps pizza and beverages. I think really I only need the bins and a few cleaning supplies. Of course it doesn’t help that almost all of my friends are out of the area. At least ones I trust. One has recently returned though and I think I might see what they think of my idea. Perhaps if I can get them to come over once every one or two weeks for a while, perhaps alternating with another friend.

I still have hope.

That’s important.

I have a plan.

That’s important too.

Now to actually ask a friend or two!

Bye for now,

Dusty
D. Cluttermouse.

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Break a Leg!

0049-got_coffee_3-2…well, break a chair in any case.

Dusty has… had a favourite chair. It was an old off-white tweed-like swivel rocker that Dusty had for over 15 years and had been in the family for perhaps 5 or 10 years before that. It had been the accent chair going with a full sized sofa in the family, family-room. The sofa was something Dusty had hated to get rid of a number of years ago when forced to downsize — from a nearly 900 sq foot — two-bedroom apartment suite with large closets and storage unit — to a 450 sq foot basement suite with one small closet… which Dusty could luckily add an 8×8 storage shed to.

…getting back to the story…

I did love that rocker. My Dad had fixed it once, welding a broken piece back onto the swivel base where it had broken off. It was an earlobe shaped loop used to fasten it to part of the base — one of 4 on the swivel rocker base. That repair worked for a dozen or so years until perhaps 6 years ago when the weld gave way. I had no way to weld it and Dad wasn’t in a position to be able to help. The head of the screw on the remaining lobe on that side had broken off and the screws in the supporting piece of wood loosened allowing the whole base to pivot… not good. Anyway, I fixed it by taking the good screw from the side with the broken lobe and fastening the swivel base with only 3 screws and lobes and taking extra wood screws and good white glue and reworking the wooden supports for the base.

Black recliner (arm chair)

Black recliner (arm chair) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That worked for the 6 years… but bang! the chair broke a few weeks ago! This time, I figured I couldn’t fix the base again. I removed the base and put the chair on a board (to protect the carpet)  and sat on it (a lot lower to the floor) and pondered getting a replacement. I really used the chair more as a recliner than a rocker anyway so I started shopping for a recliner — even on my low budget.

I actually did my shopping online seeking out the best store to buy from. I looked for the greatest selection and best prices… good quality and a store with a decent name were important as well. I wanted a place that I could trust in case there were issues with the purchase like damaged merchandise. Actually the best place I could find was a chain called “The Brick“.

“The Brick” had a good selection and good prices even though their sales came and went like the tides. (regular and frequently) I went there and actually got a great deal on a very nice recliner… because it was a colour that most might not care for… but Dusty could live with.

Some call it “Spice”.

…most would call it “orange” or “pumpkin”.

That sounds pretty bad, but actually it goes well with warm wood grains and adds a splash of colour to an otherwise dark room. Besides it is high quality and very comfortable and I like it. (I might prefer brown or a dark colour but… the price was right.)

…getting on with the story.

English: art deco club chair

English: art deco club chair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chair is a fair sight larger than the swivel rocker and it doesn’t swivel. It also needs room to recline even if it can be placed fairly close to a wall. I also wanted to place it in a different location… and there were boxes there.

clutter clutter clutter

It also meant that they had to deliver the chair which meant delivery men had to get in the door and move in Dusty’s rather cluttered nest. That meant one thing… some organization was needed. (Maybe even some de-cluttering?)

It took a lot, but I reduced one box, moved four more to a more convenient place and got rid of a bunch of long past due recycling. When the recliner finally came, it could go straight where it belonged. I placed a floor lamp where it belonged and two side tables et voila, I had a living-room!

I really hadn’t had a living-room since I moved here due to the clutter.

I have a bit of inspiration to do a bit more clean-up and de-cluttering as well.

The point?

It seems that one way to de-clutter is to make a change in your life. In mine it was the need to replace that old favoured chair. What might you change… or what change might be forced upon you? Can you deal with the change, or will it break you?

Bye for now,

Dusty
D. Cluttermouse.

Boxes Little Boxes

Hey!

I my quest to go through all my stored clutter “One box at a time” I have a new approach to try. I want to get away from the stacks of cardboard boxes. I would like to start using plastic bins and crates.

This idea is many-fold. One, cardboard deteriorates and gives off paper dust into the air which does not help for a healthy environment. This deterioration also means that the boxes collapse and do a poorer and poorer job at protecting their contents. The cardboard boxes also add to a more cluttered appearance. The plastic bins will also with luck protect what I value, but need still to store.

The very action of switching over a box at a time from cardboard to plastic gives me a chance to go through all of my possessions and hard as it is, perhaps get rid of some — whether by donation, selling, recycling, reusing… using or trashing. With luck I can reduce the space taken and number of containers. Optimistically perhaps by 2:1 cutting 2 cardboard boxes down to 1 plastic bin of comparable size — and perhaps the plastic bins will take less room. Pessimistically perhaps it will only be 1:1 meaning 1 cardboard box goes into 1 plastic bin. But I will have checked on what I own and things will be in better order.

I do believe it will be closer to 2:1 —  maybe 4:3? I hope that at least I’ll be able to control where things are and know where they are.

But it will have to be one box at a time… or two, hoping to cut them down to one.

Ahhh, but where can I get very inexpensive bins? They need to be sturdy, protective, and I need to be able to count on getting more of them as I progress because I want to be able to stack them. I rather like the sort with the interlocking lids which are hinged so that you open them without removing the lids. But I suspect they cost a lot. I am using a lot of bankers’ boxes… you know the folding file boxes that offices use as well as a certain number of moving boxes.

I want to make a start by collecting all of my tools into one bin. I want to put hobby supplies into another one or two. Then I want to keep those bins in an easily accessed location. Another bin or two will be used for storing out of season clothing, linens, and fabric.

So, do you have any ideas?

Shock in a Box!

Eep!

I have been good and in keeping with trying to at least look in a box a day, I actually dealt with one box yesterday and then I opened a second! EEP! I realized that I hadn’t opened that box in 9 years! It had gotten packed at the place before the place I last lived at and wasn’t opened! Now it wasn’t that the stuff in the box wasn’t missed. I just made do without. But it is like you can make do eating French fries without ketchup or make do with eating fish without lemon or… well you get my drift.

Seeing some of the stuff was like getting reacquainted with old friends. Granted most of the box was filled with old paperwork and books, but they were manuscripts I had written and will now be able to make use of without having to write from scratch. Others will give me an indication of how my writing skill has progressed over the past decade – some of the articles and papers were from 3-5 years before that move.

Anyhow, who knows what other buried treasures there are out there.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

The Bouquet of Flowers that Cleaned a House

Have you ever heard of the bouquet of flowers that cleaned a house?
A woman – let’s call her Irene – who had a problem with clutter and who was overwhelmed with the state of her home was given a bouquet of flowers by someone who cared about her in hopes that the spring blooms would cheer her up. I am not sure if the gift giver included a vase, but I think in such a situation that I would considering just how much anxiety it might cause someone who might not be able to put their hands on one right away.

In any case Irene looked for where she could put the flowers and could see that one place she might put them was a messy coffee table in the corner of her living room. She had to do a bit of work to clear a space for the flowers so they could sit on the table even at that.

Irene looked at the beautiful bouquet sitting on the cluttered table and decided she might clean the end of the table the flowers were sitting on so they might look a bit better.

The flowers looked just beautiful sitting on the end of the coffee table, but thought how much better they would look in the centre of the table if she would just clean the other side of the table. So Irene spent a half hour and cleared off the other half of the table. The flowers looked even better sitting in the middle of the table and Irene was pleased. But she saw how dusty and grimy the table was… or at least the spots of the table that weren’t covered by clutter. So she got out an old towel and a bottle of furniture polish/cleaner she had and she dusted the table.

Irene was very happy at how the table now shone and reflected the beauty of the flowers in the fine grain of the wood. But it also reflected the stack of boxes by the curtains and the Chesterfield covered with coats, books, and file boxes. So Irene went on and sorted through the books and file boxes on the couch returning the coats to the cloak closest and the books and file boxes to the office and bookshelves. That took the afternoon, but nearly half the living room looked so very nice and inviting! She sat on the now cleared Chesterfield and looked at her flowers… and saw how dingy the rest of the room looked. It wouldn’t take very long to straighten the rest of the room…

The next day dawned and Irene was welcomed by a beautiful clean living room. It really did not take her long into the evening. It was a bit of work but she did a bit at a time and she even considered showing it off… at least to the friend who brought the flowers. They would marvel at the change.

Irene sat for a while and considered how cluttered the entrance hall looked…

Well, one room at a time she got that house straightened up. One bit inspired her to do the next. Being able to reopen an area to use as it was intended was a great incentive to her.

Of course, many of us have more clutter than just “straightening up” and returning things to their proper places will cure. Part of our problem is that we have more pegs than holes regardless of whether they are square or round. Still the idea of a bit at a time and having that bit inspire us is important.

Another crucial element is having that initial impetus. And I think that a positive impetus is better than a negative one. Rather than a deadline before guests arrive or a landlord’s visit or a move – something like receiving something that isn’t overwhelming, but nice would be good. Or a good friend offering to help with some difficult task that you are ready to do.

It is very important that the task be one you are ready for as well, I figure.

For me… at the moment my incentive an impetus can come from rediscovery of something I need or miss in amongst my moving boxes… after a season I still have boxes I haven’t opened.

I still wish for some sort of magic genie to come down to help… I guess I have to go a box or shelf at a time until then. I still hope to at least “look” into a box a day.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

__________
I am broadly paraphrasing a story that I have heard from a number of sources. The idea though is captured with perhaps a bit of my own slant on it… oh, and “Chesterfield” is another name for a “Sofa” or “Couch” that I thought I might throw in for colour.

Advise on Storage Solution…?

D Cluttermouse looks like they will have to find some form of storage for things “in the meantime” before being able to get the decluttering accomplished. I simply must get the boxes I still have outside from being just outside even if the porch is covered.

I do not wish to create bad feelings with the landlord who lives upstairs and I do not wish my stuff ruined and for mice or other vermin to move in making me their landlord inadvertently. Since I do not have enough room in my 1-bedroom basement suite without turning it into a closet or one of those places which you have heard of — with stacks of boxes and stuff with canyon-like trails from bathroom to fridge to bed… etc — I need to find some alternative.

The best two solutions I can figure on, aside from creative stacking… oh! that is how those canyon-like trails get formed… is to purchase an outside storage shed or find some off premises storage.

If I had the money for renting storage, I could have rented a two bedroom place — at least temporarily, for 6 months to a year — while I decluttered and downsized. Then I wouldn’t have to travel to and fro. Alternatively is begging space from friends and relatives. Well… my Sister and her Husband really have their own space issues with many hobbies, their own clutter, and even storing stuff for his Brother; my parents are trying to downsize as well and their garage is already full to brimming with still leaving plenty of room for the car; other relatives live out-of-province; friends, I just don’t feel comfortable with intruding on.

So that leaves the idea of a storage shed… combining that with “some” creative storage. I plan on purchasing a neat and tidy storage shed which would still keep the landlord content and be usefully large for storing stuff in. We have asked and it is okay with the landlord providing it is neat and I imagine not too gargantuan.

My friend says that “Rubbermaid®” makes some nice ones that are vinyl and have floors built in. She figures that 4’x6′ might be a bit on the small size. They are a bit pricey though. Another company “Jardin” makes them as well. There are also ones made with vinyl siding or perhaps vinyl coated siding — although those most times don’t have floors. They can be a fair amount less expensive.

I don’t need an expensive foundation as it will be on the patio concrete under the weatherproof deck. I do want a floor inside though so I can seal it against mice and the like.

It will be a major purchase for me and I likely will have to sell it when I move next, but it will be less expensive fairly shortly than renting storage might be.

My plan would be to have this outside storage closet and then to buy a wardrobe closet to put in my kitchen that I would use ⅔ of for storage and ⅓ of for coat closet — I still find it odd that none of the basement suites I looked at had a coat closet and relied 100% on the bedroom closet for everything… including mops, vacuums, coats, linens… everything in addition to regular bedroom closet stuff.

I would really appreciate if anyone could shed some light on this storage situation.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

Something Ajar

This door’s not ajar, that jar is a jar!

Well, actually I was cleaning a jar to recycle today and noticed how it has changed from one I had stored some candy canes in for the holidays… two years ago. It got me thinking and wanting to keep the new jar as it would hold more things in the same amount of space with a large mouthed lid. But then I thought… do I really need to keep any more jars. It isn’t like it is even a “collector” jar or anything. I do have a couple pickle jars that are very decorative with a pattern that completely covers the outside. I use one to keep my Sugar Twin packets in and the other to keep my single serving iced tea packets in. They actually don’t look bad at all and much better than the boxes. I can also keep them on counter or table and they look decent for company. The jar also protects the Sugar Twin packets from moisture.

It got me to thinking — a dangerous thing — if I really want a special jar, rather than keeping mediocre jars from going into the recycling bin, I could shop for products specifically for the container, or purchase containers that are neat.

BTW I’m recycling the jar… I am considering the lid…

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse