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?

End of Summer – Warning Trees Planning to Clutter Up Yards!

Dusty - D CluttermouseHowdy!

I guess it is only a month since my last entry. Not much has happened. It is so interesting that with such a cluttered environment, my life is so uncluttered. Meaning I don’t really get much accomplished. Well, that is not entirely true. I have started getting out of my cave and into the world, if only to my parents’ place. I did take care of some important tasks in the last two weeks — well, important to me — which is very good.

I am trying to psych myself up to do some possession reduction. Perhaps if only to get rid of the obvious recyclables and trash to start, I might then move on to some other things. Of course many folks don’t understand emotional attachments to mundane objects. I don’t quite, but they are there and can be very strong and I can sympathize with others who have them. Perhaps my calling is to council those who must cope with downsizing?

Later!

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

Hey! I’m back and it is still 2011!

DustyNot a lot of change, but I have come back to post! That is a big step, I hope.

A friend came by a few weeks ago and helped me by sweeping outside and straightening up things a bit. She also did me a great favour by cleaning my washroom… it sure takes a great friend to offer to clean your washroom. I mean it wasn’t a death trap by any means and I even do things like clean the toilet. But my friend has a little semi-professional experience at it and did it quickly and efficiently. Though I realize just how strong my OCD is when I felt very uncomfortable when some things weren’t quite in the right place. I am not so OCD that everything is always in the same place all the time. I do move things from time to time myself. Perhaps it is okay because I moved it… or because I chose where to move  it?

I was very surprised at how much that little bit of sweeping made outside.

Still much to do. Of course.

I am also trying to make inroads on my Internet Presence. I have a large “clutter” of websites out in the ether and some are basically orphaned. I want to resurrect some and perhaps drop some… though hoarding is something as hard with soft stuff as with hard stuff. You should see my hard drives. I am sure I have email hoarded from the 90’s! It is that attempt to “resurrect” some of my sites that got me back here.

I’ll let you know how things are going!

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

The Dust Lay Thick and Deep, Like Freshly Fallen Snow

Your Host, Dusty

Hi! It seems my last entry was about an extended absense…

Gee… and that was over just short of two years ago! Depression can be like that. To start off with you don’t have energy to keep up with things and so you begin to live by triage. You start doing only what is necessary. After a while you forget some of the things you only did infrequently that were not “necessary” to life.

That is what happened to “No A’s B’s or C’s”

The depression still lays heavy upon me. I’m not sad… I wonder what percentage of people with major depression actually are sad? In any case the depression mostly takes away my energies. I say “energies” because as well as emotional energy, there are physical energy issues and spiritual energy issues. Anxiety, one of the main issues in Chronic Hoarding, also plagues me more strongly — I think. I find it difficult to get out. That restricts what I can do in my quest to put order in my life — even the small amount of order that “I” desire… and in truth I do desire an ordered environment.

People who know me and the rare few who have seen my living space comment that it is very well ordered. I think that is true of certain types of hoarders. I’m not one to obsess on pictures that are hung slightly crooked. But, if someone were to put a glass on the wrong shelf or rearrange stuff in my bathroom… I will feel uneasy.

I must say that many things are more organized. I must say that my shed, while a success in giving me the storage space I needed, has become a black hole. I have not even looked into it for over a month except when some sneak thief opened to doors to check it out for valuables. I checked that nothing was missing… strangely I could tell what had been shifted even will all that is in there. But that is a sign of the order involved. I do still have a half dozen or so moving boxes in my living area in addition to the file boxes I have stored in my bedroom semi-permanently. It is difficult… I do need help to cope with the clutter and I am just barely coping.

Perhaps starting back in with my writing is a good sign? We shall see. You will probably be able to judge by the duration between this and whatever post will follow it.

For now, that is the ending of this entry.

~ 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.

Tea 4 Too

One minor thing I did today was to have a look at my tea collection. I went and moved my regular teabags from the Hershey’s cocoa plastic “tins” to some stackable clear plastic deli containers. The advantage is that the deli containers nest into each other when empty, as do the lids — and being transparent I can see what is inside them. Still… it won’t be easy to toss the Hershey’s containers into the recycling bin as it takes a long while for me to empty a whole cocoa container and they are nice plastic containers that seal fairly well.

Clutter experts would probably recommend just getting plastic storage containers… but I feel why buy what I already have… but then again how many containers do I need…

In any case I am thinking of moving the tea to those stackable containers. Since you don’t know, I have over a dozen types of tea. I have two or three types of Earl Grey, Two or three types of Green Tea, Various Herbal Teas, and a number of Black teas. I tend to reuse the nice Tetley Tea cylinders, but wonder about using the deli containers for the others… I just have to make sure they are identifiable if they are not in individual envelopes.

I did make a bit more room on my tea shelf… oh dear, I have a tea shelf! It is right below my spice shelf. The shelf above has sugar, brown sugar, Splenda, Sugar Twin, Real Lemon & Real Lime crystals, icing sugar, Koolade, and a few other things that seem to fit with that.

The big thing is working to keep them all organized and useful.

I still have to find a way to corral my plastics and store them.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

Another One Bites the Dust

Well, it wasn’t a big accomplishment last night, but I got into another box, emptied it, put the contents into places I wanted them to go and flattened the box for recycling. When I flatten a box it goes one of two roots. If it is a “moving & storage” box that I or a family member paid money for and is in decent condition I place it behind a dresser near the door so that my parents or brother-in-law can take it for future family moves. If not, I flatten it and put it outside to be bundled for recycling.

Well… there is a third category for special boxes… I have purchased over years filing boxes — they used to be called bankers boxes — which are sturdy and can be folded or set up without tape and can be stacked filled fairly high. They are also the same size so they stack well. The are the size of a letter file folder wide and a legal one long. They have separate tray-like lids that fold flat too. Anyhow I flatten them and put them under my bed to be used for storing things in my closet and eventually in a wardrobe or storage shed. There are also small boxes I might keep for sorting stuff into larger boxes.

Anyway the box I went through last night was filled with a set of mugs I collected which have Canadian scenes on them and I use for company. I have them now displayed on the back of my stove and they look nice there. The box they were in also was on a shelf in one of my book shelves so that meant that I could then put an armload of books onto the now vacant shelf.

I might not be going through a box a day, but it is a start.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse