Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Monumental Spring Cleanout

If it isn't one home project it's another these days.  It seems I'm always working on improving my place or else trying to rearrange it so it can accommodate our growing pile of possesions.

The truth is the place just can't hold anything more.  That is why I'm so eager to upgrade to an actual house - one where I have an attic and a basement to store unused articles away and where I can install as many bookcases and duck decoy display shelves as necessary.

The house is still a long way off.  We say maybe next year, but that's still a maybe.  I'm not even sure how big that maybe is.  It is entirely possible we will be in this condo for another 13 years.  While I like to think that there is a chance we will cut down on acquiring objects in the future, we still have to deal with the stuff that's already here.

Kevin is a huge pack rat.  I am a somewhat reformed pack rat.  Over the years I have come to treasure order over sentiment.  I don't want to be so attached to possessions take over my life.  If I can't use it, don't wear it, haven't read it, haven't watched it, or don't know what it is, I think it is a good candidate for the thrift store or the bulk trash pile.  Situations like this are a little harder for Kevin.  I have never seen him read a book twice, but when he buys a history book from one of his favorite authors, it stays in the house forever.  While I say I'm better at getting rid of things, I still have my teddy bears.  Then there is still is so much "just in case we need it again" stuff lying around.  We also have old books, art, and curiosities that would definitely be hard to get rid of because they are novelties.  Sometimes it's just hard to let go of things just because we have had them for so long.  Where can we start and where does it end?

I am finally taking matters into my own hands and I'm renting a storage locker.  This was something I was going to wait to do until I definitely knew if we wouldn't be buying a house next year.  I have decided I don't want to wait that long.  I want the spare bedroom to actually have space and breathing room.  If one of my out-of-town friends or Kevin's mother wants to stay with us for the weekend, no one will worry about books falling on her head.  I want to be able to see our coffee table and not have the giant pile of coffee table books on it.  I'd like Kevin's duck decoys to not be all jumbled together in a crowd on top of the TV console.  I'd like to have a closet where we can hang coats and not have to leave them on the backs of the barstools all of the time because they won't fit in either of our bedroom closets.

My first goal is to clean out the spare bedroom closet.  It's filled with memorabilia.  There are cabinets full of Kevin's albums.  We both had our old cassette tapes in there.  There are boxes for electronics we don't even own anymore plus old electronics we don't use.  I want the cabinets and the memorabilia moved into storage and the boxes thrown out.  The closet can be used to actually hang clothes and maybe store boxes of items we actually stand a chance of using.

My next goal is to clean the shelving in the spare bedroom.   A few years ago I had California Closets design a spacemaking office space for us.  We filled it up in record time.  There are piles of vintage books on the shelves such as a series on American History and the complete works of Shakespeare.  No one reads them, but they're cool.  I can understand a need to keep them around. (Kevin was a theater major after all.  Why shouldn't he want to have all of Shakespeare's works in his possession?)  Then we would have to decide which books to store and which to just donate.  I have a few of my own books I want to donate.  The shelves also contain a few empty boxes that can probably be trashed.

Next I want to work on the living room.  I am storing away all of my old VHS tapes.  I also think we have a pile of DVDs that aren't being watched, particularly workout DVDs that aren't being used.  I'm thinking if certain workout programs no longer interest us, it's time to send them to Goodwill and see if they can find a new home. Once we have the spare bedroom cleaned out, we can move some of the hefty coffee table books and some of the duck decoys in the living room into the shelving in the spare bedroom. 

Finally I can move my stuff that I'm storing in my mother's tiny attic space.  I think she would love to have that space back.  She has my wedding dress, my grandmother's china that I inherited, and my Christmas decorations.

This will not be an overnight process.  I have to start moving in next week.  So far I have a small pile of my own stuff that I will move in there just to stake my claim on the space.  It's going to take a while to work on Kevin to decide what stuff he can live without on a daily basis.

Am I crazy to do this?  Google storage lockers on the internet and you will find a hundred articles on why it's a waste of money to rent one.  If you don't have room in your house, you simply throw away or donate anything you aren't using.  Have a garage sale and make money off of it.  It's not worth the money you pay to just have the convenience of never having to look at the stuff you don't use. They're probably right, but I don't know what else to do.  I'm tired of the mess and there are things in this place that no one is willing to part with.

We'll see what happens once the first few boxes go into the locker.  I'm hoping the slightly reduced mess will be an inspiration to keep going. I dream of an orderly home.  Years ago when I first started making renovations on this place, my intention was that if I couldn't have a house, I would make my apartment the best it could be.  If the time came to sell, then the renovations would make it more valuable.  Should we decide to sell next year, having a neater and more orderly place will make this place easier to sell.  Homes full of junk don't have much curb appeal.

The cleanout project is going to go well beyond spring, but I do hope that it will be finished by summer and well worth it in the end.

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