September 22, 2007


I slept until 11am this morning which I rarely ever do. So now, I'm not exactly tired and chose to post actual thoughts and not just a meme. Bare with me this might get rambly...

I have been thinking frequently about my home and how to keep it clean/organized enough for us to live in and enjoy it. I recently read a wonderful book called "Hannah's Art of Home: Managing Your Home Around Your Personality". I picked it up at the library because it was basically the only book left in the "Home Management" section. It must be a popular topic to read. I often read books on self improvement and find it overwhelming but not this one. I connected right away with her style of writing because she wasn't condemning me for being messy or talking down to me like a child. She gets it. I have been classified as a "Stary Eyed Dreamer" - basically a really nice way of saying "sentimental packrat", among other things. She's inspired me to really clean out my home and apply a few basic things to keep it managed.

I have felt that cleaning my house is a lot like playing one of those tile puzzle games - there is only 1 empty space and you have to move around the tiles until it makes a picture. I don't really like this game.

My motivation today came from a resent urge to create but not having a clean office to do it in. I had the thought that if i had the Christmas boxes out of the office I could clean my office and then create. I started with my hall closet, it's bugged me for months and I believed it was the key to being able to move other tiles (ie Christmas boxes out of office). So, I put in "You've Got Mail" in my living room, turned the volume up and worked in the hall.

I should say that I live in a 950sq ft 2 bedroom apartment with only my husband and 2 dogs - you'd think that we'd have plenty of space but it's amazing when two artiest (him photography, me collage/print/graphic design) move in together how much stuff they have. Plus, all the misc. stuff for the dogs, which include 2 large crates.

By the end of the movie, which i love, i have finished the hall and everything that needs to be in there is - including the Christmas boxes that were stacked in my office or what was the dinning area. As Hannah has instructed (and i'll admit it, my mother also imparted this wisdom at some point in my life...) I made three piles: Trash, Give Away, Put away somewhere else. I'm pleased to say there was no "Put away somewhere else" which means the other two piles were used.

Then I started on my office which I'm suppose to use for so many things, personal art, side work, bills, dog food storage... This is where my "I might need this later for my art" "Oh, that's inspiring" "Awww a wedding card..." thoughts come into play and the Trash pile becomes very very small and my anxiety about how to organize and store gets very large. I can't say I had a lot of success in that room tonight but then again i didn't make the mess in a day either. Mostly I just re-stacked stuff and threw away a little bit of stuff here and there.

I did have some thoughts about that room. First is i must get more sinsable storage for things - not everything is made for a book shelf or easy to access/use placed inside a cardobard box. Second, I do not want any more nic-nacks, I like having my one shelf of special misc. things and that's it. Third, I do not think i'm going to become one of the woman that love candles, I have a few and I never burn them.

I kept remembering a section in the book when Hannah talks about sintamental clutter. She explains that when someone receives something they get this emotional burst. Often people hold on to that object hoping that every time they look at it they will get that same emotional burst but very often it won't and that object just because clutter the person starts to feel guilty/resentful over. She encourages you remembering that you liked that object and it did it's job that one time but now it's time to let it go. I keep having to remind my self of this. Case in point, I have 3 small boxes full of cards from different periods of my life. I have a small box full of "graduation" certificates and ribbons from our dogs going through obedience classes - i have conflicting urges to throw it away because we'll never do anything with them and another to put them in slip covers and store them in a binder to look over later. I could go on but i think i've made my case of sentimentality.

So, I think i'm going to have to really go through things and choose to keep or part with it. She also encourages that if you really feel like you can't part with something to put in a box, store it somewhere and go through it again in a year and choose then... well, I would like to say that half of the stuff in my office hasn't been touched in a year and it's time to make that choice. And I might choose to keep some stuff for another year...

I started the tiles moving today thought and I have enough space on my table to at least do a little bit of work.