Friday, October 25, 2013

Yes, No, Maybe

Read Shelby Warner's column in the October 25 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

So, here’s my story.  I am sentimental.  I keep things.  My closets, drawers, and cellar shelves are filled with stuff  I can’t part with.  What kind of stuff you may ask?? 
Well, I have the dresses I wore to the weddings of my four children.  They don’t fit any more, they’re out of style, I will never wear them again, but when I try to put them in the donation bag, I just can’t.  I also have every greeting card ever given me by my children and a few that amused me from friends.  My grandmother kept all her cards, too, but was smart enough to neatly organize them in scrapbooks.  Then there are the four bins of piano music, two bins of fabric which are for the quilts I intend to make someday and have intended for the last 20 years.  Oh, yes there is one bin, about 8 small containers, and 3 scrapbooks of baseball cards I once collected.  Are you getting the picture??  I have the blouse I wore on my first date with my husband which he especially liked and a cummerbund that once fit around my waist and now I might be able to wear around my thigh.  
Unfortunately, one of my daughters inherited this gene.  She started early, wanting to save every paper she ever brought home from school.  I was able to help her by removing papers from the bottom of the stack while she piled others on top.  She never seemed to realize why her collection never got any higher.  As I watch her struggle with this problem, I regret that I set such a bad example.  Luckily, my other daughter inherited my husband’s gene for getting rid of things.  In fact, one of the ways I declutter is to put things into a box and give them to him to throw out.   Am I a hoarder – I don’t think so but maybe I need to rethink. 
At work, I am organized.   I often “neaten” up the reference desk – even dust occasionally.  Why this doesn’t carry over to my home I don’t know.  I do think it is an addiction that can be inherited.  My Mom must have saved every jar or plastic container coming into her house.  In her closet, we found all the gifts of new towels and sheets we had given her over the years while she continued to use the thread bare ones.  Of course, she had the excuse of having lived through the depression so her need to keep things came from the fear of not having.  However, I can’t use that excuse.  
I should tell you about my craft room.  It holds the start of many hobbies and pastimes that have never quite been completed.  There is the comfort I am making my daughter from the material left over from bridesmaid’s dresses.  She was married 25 years ago.  I also do stained glass – I’ve been working on a mirror for my husband for 4 years.  There are baskets of yarn with scarves and shawls in half-finished states.   There is every scrapbooking tool sold and boxes of photographs collected over 54 years.   And cookbooks – I love cookbooks and have shelves full -- not to mention books in general.  My craft room is also the home of indoor plants which keep growing and taking over ever increasing space. A lot more is stored in this room.   
I know the technique for taking care of some of this.  Make piles.  Have a yes pile (keep), a no pile (throw or give away), and a maybe pile (to be decided later).  I tried this a couple of weeks ago with boxes of various papers I have saved.  Out of three boxes, my no pile had five pieces of paper.  But I’ll keep trying.  By the way, anyone want the 4 Life magazines dealing with J.F.K.’s assassination?? 
If this is hitting close to home may I suggest a few books available that may help.  I advise  taking them home to read is not enough – you have to actually try the suggestions and go to work.
“10,001 Ways to DeClutter Your Home On a Small Budget” by Morrow, Bykofsky and Rosenkranz  is one of the newer books on decluttering but has mixed reviews.  It presents many ideas on house cleaning but few have to do with decluttering.  Still, if you’re desperate, you might give it a try.
“Secrets of an Organized Mom: From Overflowing Closets to the Chaotic Play Areas: a Room-by-Room Guide to Decluttering and Streamlining Your Home for a Happier Family”  by Barbara Reich is a 2013 book with good reviews.  “Reich’s book just might take the anxiety out of tasks that many find completely daunting and overwhelming.”
“Organize for a Fresh Start: Embrace Your Next Chapter in Life” by Susan Fay West is a 2011 publication  offering help from a “Certified Professional Organizer”.  It promises “Step-by-step advice for decluttering and reorganizing every room in the home.”    West says she’ll help you stay motivated.  That, I need.
These resources and many more can be found at Morrill Memorial Library or borrowed from network libraries.   If you borrow them rather than buy, you’ll be forced to return them and avoid more clutter.