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,

D. Cluttermouse.

Boxes Little Boxes


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?

Two Types of Clutter Kickers?

Reading reviews of “kick the clutter — Clear Out Excess Stuff Without Losing What You Love” by Ellen Phillips has made me wonder if there is a fundamental difference in viewpoint between two sorts of people who are actually out to reorganize the clutter of their life. There are those who believe in making fairly drastic cuts in what is owned and those who are looking to keep much of it.

What got me thinking that way was in how a few reviewers looked at her book. They seemed to only see where the author was looking at ways to organize what a person was keeping and setting that up so that it was in the least cluttered and most useful way possible. The reviewers seemed to downplay to the point of glossing over the parts of the book which gave suggestions on downsizing and making the difficult decision for many to let go of some things.

The author, Ellen Phillips, does have compassion for those who see value in things that many would find valueless and would simply say “chuck it”. She says if it has great meaning to you or value to you, even if it doesn’t to anyone else, it is not trash. She does however speak of finding ways to store it to treat with the value you ascribe to it.

Ellen Phillips also does give some advice on figuring out just how much value a person might have for something and sets out worksheets so that a person might give personal priorities. Phillips also does this in light of the person reading the book actually living with other people. That means that one family member’s trash is another’s treasure. This has to be taken into account of when coping with clutter.

It also does not work if not everyone in the household is involved in kicking the clutter in the household.

Phillips is also big on giving hints and tips in order to keep clutter from taking over after you have worked so very hard to clear out the excess and reclaim your environment.

I personally think it is healthy to take a good hard look at what you own and to think on how much value you place on various possessions and for that matter whether they possess you.

I know for some of us, we become emotionally attached to possessions and thus it becomes an issue of anxiety to even consider getting rid of them. For some of us, some counselling is probably necessary to cope with downsizing or decluttering. I think that is beyond the scope of the book, but it is something that could be done after, before or during working through that book.

I do think that the worksheets that are provided throughout the book and the 5 minute fixes are very valuable for people who become overwhelmed at the thought of clearing out the clutter. For those of us with emotional issues attached with the clutter, this is very important and allows for progress to be made even before possible progress might be made with the emotional issues.

I figure that there are many things I “can” do which will help before I hit the things that I will have problems doing and that those things that I can do will make my environment healthier and perhaps give me greater strength and resilience for the jobs ahead.

Perhaps for some it is a matter simply of setting your mind to it and “trashing” the surplus. But I think that if it were that simple for others, it would have already been done. It is like losing weight or quiting smoking. If it were simply done, would there be so many people who were having problems doing it?

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse.