Tuesday, March 24, 2009

April Challenge: Household Halfsies!

First Francine wrote in to our big group the following. What a heartfelt note and how brave of her to ask for advice.

In ScrappersChallenge@ yahoogroups. com, "joeyenergy"
I have been in my house 14 yrs now, and CANNOT get the basement area
organized. I made the front room my scrapbook/studio and yes, I admit, I use the
floor A LOT and everything is making its way to the back room. I have been very
depressed and overwhelmed because I don't know where to begin, PLEEEEESE, can you
give me some suggestions as to where I should start??????? ?? Thanks so much.


Here is my reply--because I have been through this too! :)

> From: rockestertm
> Subject: [ScrappersChallenge] Re: Organizing- joeyenergy
> To: ScrappersChallenge@yahoogroups.com
> Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2009, 10:16 AM

Good for you for tackling this! Take it on--but take it on in a better way
this time. :)
Sometimes organizing is not enough. By that I mean it is not enough to put
things back where we thought they should go in shelves, bins and drawers.

S0metimes (for me) a room can get jumbled up again so soon because I have too
WAY much supplies and stuff...not just because what I have is out of place and
needs to be put away. SO take a long hard look at how big the space is and how
much you are trying to keep inside it. You might have to purge and purge a LOT.
Think like the Clean Sweep tv show. (In moderation)

I am helping a friend right now with this too in her home.
We chose one room each week in her home to do. We just chose a side and
started on that side and worked our way around each room. I help her for 3 or 4
hours a week. She puts away and I sort. I hold things up and ask if it goes in
any of 3 baskets. If you are doing a room just apply these ideas in smaller

We had three laundry baskets and labeled them:

DONATE- pick a general charity like Goodwill, a womens shelter, or Salvation
Army or Savers or thrift store who will take almost any catagory so you don't
have to have 50 bags for 50 charities to drop off. ONE drop off is good per
week. Really be firm with yourself here. You don't need 3 tubs of baby books if
your kids are 24 and 21. You don't need 45 scarves and 33 pair of mittens
either. SHARE!

I could tell at first glance that from the amount of clothing she had in 4
closets that my friend needed to purge one half of all her wardrobe. She was
shocked at first hearing that--but then admited yes that might be about right.
She never wore half of it anyway but always had to dig through to find the good
half! So donate we DID! We donated basically two whole closets full! Now her
things fit her, fit in her closets--and she can find them. Plus someone else

MEND/Fix: Basically we want to encourage you to TOSS anything (see below) that is
broken and cannot be fixed. That would go in trash bin. However, this basket is
for ANYTHING that was a definite keeper --but needed fixing. Label it with the
date and use it for things to be mended. From mending clothes to childrens' toys
to torn books. If it is truly precious- fix the darn thing.
> Don't stop to mend it on purging day. But you should get to it within one
month of the purge date. If you then don't get to it by one month in that
basket, you don't really care about it all that much. Purge it! Be harsh. Don't
keep rubbish. Use it or lose it.

SEND/RETURN: We found a lot of things in my pals home that could be given back
to the friend or relative from whom they came. We also found a lot of things
that were meant to be sent at Christmas or a birthday that didn't get sent on
time simply because she couldn't find them. So into the SEND basket they went
and each week her 'homework' was to send them out with a little note. Everyone
loved getting the after-the-fact packages from her!! Don't be embarrassed, just
send it to it's new home and keep going!

KEEP- well on Clean Sweep show this is a separate category too. But in our
work I just handed these items to her to put away or hang up as we went through
the room.

TRASH: Well technically this was another 5th 'basket' LOL--we did get the big
trash can out for this. And we filled it two or three times per room. Use the
biggest trash can in the house when you purge. You will fill it! It's kind of
like 'if you build it, they will come" mentality. You don't toss as much if the
trash can is 6 inches wide by 11 inches tall as you do when the trash can is 1
foot wide by 4 feet tall.

Once a lot of the excess is out, you can think about utility in the workroom.
Sit at your desk and ask yourself what DON'T you like about how it is right now?
Then rearrange tools and so on. I make work stations in my studio for various
tasks like rubber stamping, machine die cutting, computer, actual LO
scrapbooking assembly, and sewing.

Honestly it is just going to creep back to a mess if you don't downsize/purge
at the same time as tidying.

Good luck!


And Francine's response:

Dear Rock.

Thank you so very much for the help. I think my problem is that I have a mess
in every room and don't know where to start. I have a hard time parting with
things, have had organizers, friends and relatives help me, but it just goes
back to a MESS again. I never know which room to start in so I just avoid doing
it. I will definitely try your method and pray it works. Once again, thanks very


And my follow up comment to her and others with the same issues:

Fran and others

What has helped me in the past -and now my friend part with things when she and
I are sorting and purging in her home -is to remember with each item you touch
that the item is NOT the person who gave it to you and it is NOT the memory of
that person.

If the item is somehow sentimental remember the item is NOT the feeling of
comfort or contentment in itself . It is just an item we have assigned
importance to. We can also UNASSIGN importance to it. Take a pic of it. Save the
pic..... not the bulky item. If I have 125 things in my home from my
grandmother, I can decide which 35 I truly love most and gift away or donate the
other 90 knickknacks I don't care about as much.

Make ONE decision.... the first decision is a mindset of this clutter ruining
your life and hindering you--not helping you. Those items are not giving you
security or love. You assign that to them in your head. So reassign to FEWER
items that you truly love and are of the best quality. Your mind and heart will
thank you for making their lives simpler! :) :) Truly. I have been there, done
that and it works. Most of the battle is in your head...not in the room. Once
you decide and believe what you decide about material things not ruling your
life, the donating and gifting is easier.

Be strong in your own head and say I need to just do it. Yes or No. Stay or Go.
Other people may truly need this stuff more than we do. And it's not doing me
any good to have more household stuff if it drives me crazy to keep it tidy or
to look at the mess.



And in honor of all of who need it I am announcing the HOUSEHOLD HALFSIES CHALLENGE for April.
More info in a bit. :)


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