Posts Tagged ‘de-clutter’

shadow dance

I was watching the Rachel Ray show the other day, where uber Organizer, Peter Walsh, was talking to Regis Philbin about how to declutter his memorabilia room. Regis, a collector and a celebrity, is the recipient of so many awards and accolades, and had an entire room filled with wonderful memories; everything from autographed football helmets to vintage posters and designer clothing. But, for all his celebrity status, he was just like us, and his biggest fear was that Peter was going to see it as “too much stuff”, and tell him to get rid of it.

But he didn’t, because it wasn’t about value, or taking up too much space, it was about memories, and I loved seeing the relief on Regis’ face when he was told that everything could stay (but it just needed to be a little more organized). Nothing was going to be thrown away.

This was Peter’s philosophy…

I have paraphrased what he said, but Peter is right; if something is that important (or sentimental) that you want to keep it, then give it meaning, and put it away safely, or display it well, and, most importantly, have it accessible…… Be able to find it. If you can’t find it, or see it, is it really that important?

Watching the show reminded me that I will always be a sentimental clutterer, and I don’t have to force myself to live in a spartan house or get rid of things that seem too old, all I have to do is honor my memories, visit them often, and use them to feed and nourish my happiness …

Wendy E. Wrzos


Photograph from: Poems about Dance

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They say that the world is divided into two types of people; those who collect, and those who don’t. I never thought of myself as a collector, but I do know that I accidentally accumulate things, and I am sometimes reluctant to let some of them go.

Never a fan of sameness, I tend to like things for all different types of reasons. I buy necklaces for their uniqueness, used-worn-down pencils (not sure why, but they always make me smile), photographs of people being happy and spontaneous, and old childrens books (I love the stories, the care with which they were created, and of course the words…). I also like to see, or use what I have, so I don’t buy something unless I really want it. I guess it still counts as a type of collecting, but I rationalize that if they are labors of love, and in neat little categories, then I am not really a collector.

(Sometimes, when I am having a moment, the word collector conjures up visions of a Star Trek Convention, with grown men wearing plastic, pointy ears, waiting for Captain Kirk to sign their original lunch box from 1969). Although I am a big fan of William Shatner, I don’t fall into this category of collecting. If you are a person who does, then collecting is probably a constant quest to accumulate everything connected to your favorite subject or hobby, and where you will put it is a secondary thought in the process. The fun thing about this type of collecting is that it is never-ending, and the joy is definitely more about the chase than how you intend to display it in your home.

Some collections often start out as gifts. We might notice that a friend likes to drink tea, so we buy them a new teapot for their birthday. She loves it so much, that we decide that surely she would like three even better than two. Before we know it, other people have noticed, and they are thrilled to give her a gift that she will automatically love. We remember that she always wanted to visit Paris, so we order a Parisian teapot for her online. Before you know it, it has become a bit of a gift-giving game; we discover the wonderful new world of teapots, and we present her with a new one for every occasion. Years later, she still looks at them fondly, but realizes that all she really wants is a cup of tea (made with a teabag) not 57 teapots scattered throughout her kitchen…

Whatever may have prompted you to collect, here are some thoughts on living happily (and decoratively) with your favorite obsessions:

– If you don’t absolutely love it, store it, sell it, or give it away.
– Be realistic. Don’t hang onto it just because “it may be worth money some day”. It may, but will you, or your children, ever really sell it?
– If it’s very important to you, label and date, or catalog, each item when you get it.
– Choose one or two areas in your home for your collection; a shelf, a room, a basement, a wall etc. Don’t expand these spaces as you collect; just pack away what doesn’t fit, and rotate the items every now and again.
– Be creative, not formal, with your displays. If it is something small, consider piling them in bowls, jars or boxes. Layer items on shelves, instead of lining them up like soldiers. Not every single thing has to be seen completely at all times.
– Don’t be afraid of change. If you are getting bored with your collection, store it away for a while. If you miss it, bring it back, if you don’t, then don’t.
– Store it properly. If it is worth taking up space in your cellar, then take care of it, and invest in proper containers and packing materials.
– If it is useful, use it.
– Tell your friends and family, kindly, if you are getting tired of collecting something. They won’t know unless you tell them, and no-one wants to give (or receive) gifts that are no longer appreciated.

I have to confess, that sometimes I buy fruit just because I like the way they are going to look in my cast iron bowl. Perhaps this could be called a temporary collection? Would love to hear what you collect. Drop me a line, and I will post it on my blue giraffe Facebook page.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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We all know what clutter is, but do you know that there is visual clutter around us that can be eliminated on a daily basis? Easily, with no stress. These three ideas will make your home feel less cluttered, today, without any effort at all.

Keep your basic, disposable items clear or white (liquid/bar soap, paper napkins and plates, toilet paper etc). Your eye will always go to something colorful, so the less noticeable you can make the essentials, the more visual space you will create in your home. Promise.

Go through your mail every day, and throw out all of the fliers and junk letters (no hesitating). This is a major stress for a lot of people, so to keep these bits and pieces in your home is a waste of time, energy and space. Try it for a few days, and you will be amazed at how much more relaxed it will make you feel.

Give every single bedroom its own laundry basket (bin, tote or bag). So many people I know, complain that the dirty clothes never get picked up, or taken to the laundry room (even if it is right outside the door). This is the easiest solution that I know of. It will make everyone feel more organized, and, if it’s not in, it doesn’t get washed….

Wendy E. Wrzos  http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com

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“It’s all very well being all “designery”, and living a Polly-Perfect life, but what about the rest of us? Those of us with four children, two jobs and a home that wasn’t our first choice. Never mind telling us to spray paint the brass chandelier with chalk-board paint, what are we supposed to do?”

That’s a really good question, and, honestly, it’s not easy. None of us have charmed lives filled with matching doodads and champagne coming out of the faucet. Decorating a home isn’t about that. As our grandparents used to say, it’s about making do, but I prefer to call it “pretending as if”.

“What Not To Wear” is one of my favorite shows, and having a home, to me, follows the same principles that they teach. Their credo is that you have to accept the body you have right now. Even if you hate every nook and cranny of it, it’s yours, and that’s what you have to work with. If you dress that body as if you love it, then you will get nice clothes that fit, you will look better and, gradually, feel kinder towards yourself.  Maybe you will never, ever be the size you wish you were, but if you enjoy what you have, and take pride in it, you may begin to fall in love with it. 

Your home is exactly the same!  Even if you are not happy about where you are, you could still pretend as if it is the most perfect place in the world to be.  Make some changes as if you really do care; fix things that bother you on a daily basis, don’t cost a lot and can be done in an hour or two.

Here are some quick fixes for “the rest of us”:

  • Change ugly, dated lampshades or light covers (check out local Hardware and Retail stores for cheap, but classic, options). 
  • Declutter your kitchen. It’s often the most used room in the house;   keep the surfaces clean and remove what shouldn’t be there. This will make it a much happier place to be in (and it might be bigger than you think).
  • Place a decorative bin somewhere for each of your children (and yourself). Toss in everything that should be put away. When the bin is full, empty it.
  • Check your front door;  remove dead plants and fix anything that is broken (doorbell?). Coming home should be a good experience.
  • Buy everyday items (dishwashing soap, laundry powder and liquid soap) in colors, designs and scents that you like. Making daily decisions that please you will sneak into your well-being.

See, nothing wrong with a little pretending….

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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We’ve been doing a lot of work around our house – work that involves moving furniture from one room to another (to lay carpet), taking down artwork (to paint), and removing accessories (so nothing gets broken in all the upheaval). And something interesting is happening to me….I find I’m not putting everything back. That might not sound like much, but believe me, it is!

While no one would (probably) come into my home and say it’s cluttered, there are certainly lots of things around – things I’ve chosen to go in a special location, things that have been given to me so I fit them into my decorating scheme, and some things that have been with me for a very long time so always find a home in my home. But now with some rooms almost empty and some rooms filled with the overflow, I’m finding the empty is really feeling good.

That doesn’t mean I’m becoming spartan in my decorating – far from it. But what is happening is I’m finally starting to live as I have always preached – if you don’t love it, lose it.

This started the other night when I was sitting on my screened in porch – the one place I have had as my sanctuary while the work has been going on. I’ve always kept it somewhat simple because I don’t want the furnishings to compete with the garden view just outside. But still I looked around asking myself “Do I love it?” And the funny thing is, there are several things I just don’t love anymore. Take the painted slate welcome sign with the white picket fence and fluttering birds – a very thoughtful gift, but just not me. Same with the very cute-but-just-not-me metal cat votive holder. Little things, yes. But things I don’t love – and in my favorite ‘room’ of the house!

So now I’m doing something I should have done a long time ago. As I put things back into rooms, I’m really thinking about each one. And if I don’t love it, it’s gone. No guilt, no second-guessing. And I’m really feeling good about the results. Anyone interested in coming to a rather large yard sale – you can pick up a really cute votive holder for a song!  Ann Anderson, www.roomsreborn.com

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