Five years ago, I wrote a blog post called “The Conquering Clutter Resolution” in which I discussed my wake-up call when I replaced flooring throughout the house, which meant having to pack and relocate everything.
During the process, I could not believe how much “stuff” I had. It was nothing on the scale of an episode of “Hoarders”, it was just mystifying how much I could hide in a closet when it was neatly and efficiently organized.
This prompted me to start a purging habit of getting rid of one cubic foot of “stuff” (aside from the regular garbage and recycling) every week. This was definitely an easy and achievable goal, even on the busiest of weeks, to see slow and steady progress.
Gone were the kitchen gadgets that got little use. Gone were the hobby items that never developed into an actual hobby. Gone were the collectibles that never really turned into a collection.
As the months went by, I patted myself on the back as I felt lighter with each donation and each extra garbage bag. I thought that by the next time something like that came up, moving my “stuff” should be a breeze.
But when I moved this past spring, despite my best purging efforts, my moving van was still astonishingly full. How did that happen? Continue reading
Up until now, my only experience with self-storage has been the occasional viewing of the TV show “Storage Wars”.
As much as I have witnessed self-storage facilities sprouting up throughout the city at a crazy pace, I never really gave them much thought as I assumed that they were just for people with too much stuff.
When my real estate agent suggested that I needed to edit out some furnishings to help certain rooms feel bigger, I didn’t really resist the idea as I trusted that my agent knew best.
Frankly, I relished the idea of trying out the self-storage solution as I knew that this would be an interesting new adventure for me.
Shortly after we put the offer on the house, I called the storage facility company to check on availability, knowing full well that I may need to do some editing. Last summer, a friend of mine was put on a waiting list because demand was so high at that time, so I worried that might be the case for me as well. My fears were put to rest as they said (at that time) that there were many spaces for rent in all sizes.
When the real estate agent gave me her official verdict on the staging situation, when I called to make arrangements for a space, the size I was looking for was no longer available, so I went with the next size up.
The day that the movers came to haul some boxes and the marked items to the facility was also my first time setting foot in the warehouse. With my signed contract already on file, it was just a matter of handing me the keys to my space, showing me around the facilities, and demonstrating the security features to access the space. Continue reading
The moment that we decided to put in an offer on a house, the part that scared the crap out of me the most was the inevitable next step: staging my home.
In most of the pictures of homes for sale that I had seen in recent years, all I could see was empty rooms. I kept wondering if people were still living there given how sparsely they were decorated. And if they were living there, where was their stuff?
I have seen enough HGTV network shows to know that some people have a hard time visualizing themselves in a home. And frankly, I have yelled at the TV in exasperation when buyers reject a whole house because of a paint colour or because the drapes were blue.
But I do understand that during a showing, prospective buyers aren’t interested in seeing the story of André. They need to see their own storyline, and their own needs and wants for the home to strike the right chord. For that reason, some decluttering is needed.
While I wouldn’t consider myself a pack rat, I am not a minimalist either. Like most people, I have stuff.
So the burning question: where does people’s stuff go to make the house look that empty and how much effort will it take for me to get there?
Fortunately, over the last years, I witnessed a shift in my own mindset, less focused on possessions and more focused on experiences. Along the way, I have indeed been chipping away at the stuff, shredding old papers, donating gently used belonging and tossing things that were past their prime for anyone to reuse. Was that enough effort for staging purposes? Probably not.
But where it gets complicated is how much more do I need to edit out, and can I do it without throwing out my degenerating disc in between arthritic flare ups in my hands… the joys of being over 50! Continue reading
In my blog post a few weeks ago about “The Conquering Clutter Resolution”, I described strategies for trying not to let clutter accumulate. However, I have a secret to share: I admit I have a hard time letting go of good cardboard boxes.
I hate laying blame on being the child of “waste not, want not” parents, but their philosophy is quite valid in this case: Have you ever tried to BUY sturdy gift boxes? For some reason, a really great gift box plus its wrapping and adornments can end up costing more than the gift it contains. It’s crazy!
Here is a typical scenario for me: Whenever I get a new pair of shoes and the shoe box is in impeccable condition, or I receive mail order products in a snazzy packing box, I think to yourself, “Oh my, what a great box. This would be the perfect size for a birthday or Christmas gift.”
Then as the year goes on, throwing my arms up in glee with each new box that arrives, I accumulate a closet full of them precariously stacked up like a game of Jenga or boxed up like babushka dolls. Then, when the gift giving occasion comes around, for some reason, I end up at the dollar store and get gift bags and tissue.
Anyone else?… Anyone?… Anyone?
After that realization last year, I did a Continue reading
In my journey of exploring life, I have held many interests and tried many hobbies over the years, each attracting its own “stuff”. The problem is that when life gets busy, attention is diverted and in some cases, the passing interest fades but the “stuff” remains and sometimes accumulates into clutter.
I completely sympathize with folks (like those on the television show “Hoarders”) who say that they did not notice it accumulating. (Parenthetically, 5 minutes of watching the show “Hoarders” sends me scrambling to de-clutter something). I admit, there have been moments when I realized I was running out of space and reorganizing the same cupboard or closet for the 20th time when I would stop and wonder: do I have too much stuff?
As a child who frequently misplaced things, the motto “a place for everything and everything in its place” was instilled in me.. um.. well.. at least my parents tried to instill in me to the best of their ability.
When I was very young, there was a firm rule that before my birthday and Christmas I had to go through my old toys in the basement and pick some to be donated in order to make some room, otherwise Santa Claus couldn’t deliver new ones.
Similarly, when it came to clothes, every September, we would get a new set of shirts and pants for the new school year. The set from the year before (if they still fit) became my “play clothes”, and the set from the year before would be up for donation.
Unfortunately, there were times in my adult life I didn’t always have time to apply that logic. Chalk it up to being too busy building a career, busy with friends and family, busy with other activities that were important to me, or sometimes, I was just too tired… staying on top of clutter was not always a top priority, so things accumulated. Continue reading