Our house is filled with clutter. This does not mean the floors are not passable or that we are hoarders. In fact, we are constantly throwing things away. And yet, they continue accumulating, like wire hangers do.
When we had our bathroom remodeled two years ago, of course from the time it was gutted to the moment it was ready for us to use, we had to move all our stuff out of it to the basement bathroom. When it was time to move the stuff back, we had some nice new drawers to put it in. I organized some of the drawers and cabinets pretty nicely, but there were other things, like small items for traveling, cat care and first aid products and jewelry which i knew would require a lot of time which I did not feel like I could spare. I keep a lot of my everyday jewelry – all costume jewelry, so don’t get any ideas – in the bathroom because that is where the mirrors are and my makeup and where I get dressed in the morning. But because I had a mountain of this jewelry all atangle, I had access to only a fraction of it, the pieces I used most often. So I threw all the tangled jewelry in one drawer without even looking at it, and kept the frequent flyers in the top drawer, but never really bothered to organize it in any sort of systematic way. What I needed was containers with dividers. Eventually I bought some, but ended up not using them at all till last week, and even then using them for organization of the other disorganized stuff that I had stuffed in some of the other drawers. Since two years ago, I meant to take care of this problem but never seemed to get to it, for obvious reasons. It got so bad that I was down to about three pairs of earrings because the others were haphazardly strewn about in the top drawer so that every morning I would have to hunt and hunt to locate both members of a pair. To make matters worse, all the other drawers had reached such a state of disarray that I could no longer stand it. By last week, I had had enough and resolved to attack and conquer, even though it would mean sacrificing much of the upcoming long Labor Day Weekend. I took care of the other drawers first – medicines, first aid, cat stuff, travel stuff, makeup, perfume, etc., and that took about three hours. Most of yesterday and today I spent untangling, cleaning, de-tarnishing the jewelry. I separated it into keep and Goodwill piles. Some things were hard to let go of, for sentimental reasons, or because I thought getting rid of something like the breast cancer pink ribbon pins might be bad luck, but I decided if I asked myself, “Do I really love this?” and I did not, into the Goodwill pile it would go! I got dividers to separate earrings , bracelets and necklaces, toe rings, anklets, pins: and further subdivide the earrings: posts, singles, pairs, dangles, hoops, favorites. I even got a separate divider for the Goodwill stuff, because what would they do with a tangle of non-sorted out costume jewelry? I have so many silver pieces that had tarnished and were unwearable. This process took hours and hours. But I did it, and the drawers all look beautiful. I hope I can keep things this way for a while. I am cautiously optimistic.
Next – and I actually got started on this today, right after completing the jewelry project – I am tackling all my sewing and quilting supplies so I do not repeatedly buy stuff I already have, and, once again, so I can find stuff. I am already amazed at how many straight pins, safety pins, and needles I have, how many spools of thread of the same color. I may have enough for the rest of my life! I have about three or four seam rippers, six pairs of scissors, four of those rolling fabric cutters, and so far, I have found two tape measures.
These are the small projects. After that, I have a ton of crap in boxes lining the staircase going up to the boys’ room, a closet in our bedroom, and the basement which is kind of scary. Then the garage, and the back room of basement which is unheated and exposed to the moisture and outdoor elements where everything in there is mildewed and disintegrating by now. There are also boxes in each of the boys’ rooms and a closet in the finished part of the basement. Boxes and boxes of books, and nowhere to put them since we got rid of all our rickety Ikea or Kmart bookshelves. Before my Mom died, I had gotten the basement in decent order, but then she died and I got boxes of her stuff delivered, many of which over a year later I still have not unpacked. We have a huge file cabinet in the basement which has files from a million years ago – I have no idea what is in there. Somewhere amidst all this, I hope, there may some things I have been looking for for a very long time.
You never know. Why, just today, I found some earrings and necklaces I thought had been lost, or I guess they had been lost but now they’re found.