Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Organize TOO MUCH STUFF one cabinet at a time

It took about an hour of sorting and throwing away – armed with my iPod on song shuffle for company – for me to “de-clutter” one set of basement cabinets last weekend. The completed task was a first tiny step on one of those hefty to-do items – CLEAN OUT GARAGE, which is part of greater goals of DE-CLUTTER and SIMPLIFY.

Now, in these cabinets where I keep my most-often-used garage-based items, we can find things because the STUFF is where it’s supposed to be. The tools sit by tools, and the light bulbs await use beside their fragile friends. The batteries are lined up, ready to bring some gadget to life. And, electrical and other assorted cords are tamed and wrapped around themselves, sealed with rubber bands. The masking, duct and shipping tapes are aligned, next to the glues and other bottles and cans, including my favorite fix-all, a can of WD-40.

One tiny section down, the rest of the mess to go.

The idea of simplifying and de-cluttering appeals to many of us, at least to those who are not naturally drawn to keeping all STUFF, like the folks on Hoarders, the television show that makes the rest of us think we don’t have that much STUFF at all, after all.

Being a stay-at-home, unemployed, job-seeking, blog-writing, in-progress author, I see my “simplified” job as household engineer is to make sure things run as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, so that we can save money and time. Hence, the all-caps DE-CLUTTER AND SIMPLIFY and the current CLEAN OUT GARAGE task.

Most of us have clutter in need of organizing, no matter if it’s a garage jammed with need-it-someday furniture and boxes supplementing the normal STUFF like Christmas boxes, outdoors and hunting STUFF, boxes of books seeking shelves and not-used-enough exercise equipment.  Also, if you know where specific STUFF is, you don’t have to go out and buy more because you couldn’t find the STUFF you already had when you need it.

The need to simplify, de-clutter and organize spawned an industry in itself. These include self-help books for the hopelessly cluttered and stores where you can buy all kinds of organizing STUFF.

No de-cluttering expert, I do know that organizing and simplifying and the de-cluttering that goes with it happens in the same way all things worthwhile do: one step at a time.

I preach the writing mantra to myself: One word at a time (and have it written on a post-it on my computer).

For the exerciser, it’s one foot in front of the other.

And for the person seeking to clean out and organize, it is one drawer, one cabinet at a time.

Take a few minutes, and start on that junk drawer in the kitchen, one cabinet in the basement or that corner, where daily STUFF piles up.

You’ll feel better (I know I did), and it beats the heck out of watching Hoarders on TV.

Update on Lucille, the new puppy:

Phrases most often said to Lucille during her second week in the household:

1. “NO! Chew on this….(chew toy, towel, stick) not (-fill-in-the blank-) my hands, my feet, my hair, the bedspread, my shoes, the furniture.

2. “Don’t go too close to the cat. She’ll show you the paw, again.”

3. “You’re such a good puppy!”

Song of the day:

Too Much Stuff, Delbert McClinton

“Too much stuff. Woo!
Too much stuff.
It'll mess you up,
Foolin' with too much stuff.”

Picture of the day: On Groundhog Day, Birmingham Bill, the official Groundhog in these parts, came out and did see his shadow. That points to six more weeks of winter, a disappointment as I hoped to be fishin' off the pier sooner rather than later.


  1. Love it! I did, however, at one time help you clean out and de-clutter... and simplify! That's not going to happen again. :) In the meantime, I'm doing wonders and I'll get right on that Rose. Love you Jack, your's forever, Mullet

  2. Good for you! But when you have 1,297 cabinets, drawers and boxes and cartons full of old albums, notebooks, photographs and articles that still need organizing, and you work on just one every day, it takes around four years to go through everything. I still have about 984 to go! LOL

  3. Thanks for the inspiration today Miss Jackie...one word at a time..one drawer at a time...i can apply that to everything!!! it helps to look at things in small steps so its not so overwhelming! thanks again for the reminder! hope ya'll are doing great! i enjoyed seeing mary this weekend in auburn while we tried on bridesmaid dresses! anyways, take care! love, victoria collins