Life in 409

This blog is about my quest to declutter my apartment. It focuses on clutter, decluttering, and the endless quest to separate the junk from the important stuff - at home and in life.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Weekend Update #1

Yesterday, I had to take on the living room. Partly because I had just bought a long-awaited piece of furniture (I know, the idea is to get stuff OUT, not bring stuff IN, but this was an opportunity I had to take - more on that later). The other reason I had to deal with the living room is that it just ISN'T a living room. We don't do any living there. We don't do any anything there. We fight over the tv in the bedroom because we don't even want to SIT out there. So, Sunday morning, when I woke up, I took the advice of the Apartment Therapy book and spent 10 minutes just sitting there. I don't actually know if it was 10 minutes, as my timer is lost amid the clutter. But I sat there as long as I could stand it.

Here's what I saw... piles of toys in mid-play, chairs no one sits in, couches covered in toys, couch pillows thrown on the floor, a jumbled mess of buckets and cleaning stuff shoved under the turtle tank, picture frames that had fallen off the windowsill onto the floor, books fallen out of the bookcase and piled up in front, toys fallen out of the bins and piled up in front of those...

In the center of all this were two endtables that I had pushed together as a coffee table. They actually did have a matching coffee table at one time, but it broke and we ditched it a while ago. I kept the end tables around even though they were never really right for our couches. And when more and more toys and stuff took over the living room, I had no more room for them, but couldn't bring myself to get rid of them (what if I *NEED* them???). Finally, in a last ditch effort to save them, I pushed them together as a coffee table. They didn't look right - they were too high, they have rounded corners so didn't exactly align end to end, and there really was just no room for them anyway. Hubby says get rid of them. I tried listing them on Craigslist, but no takers. So there they are.
Our living room is actually quite large. Our computer desk and files are in a whole separate area. About a year ago I got the bright idea to move the kids' bookcase and some of their toy bins into that same corner, figuring they'd have a little nook to play in. The reality was that the computer chair always blocked the way and the "nook" was much too small for hanging out. They couldn't get to their stuff, and they certainly couldn't put it away, so the toys and books would just pile up IN FRONT of the bookcase and bins.

looking west: fake coffee table, windows with mess beneath, random assortment of toys, laundry and moreLooking west. This is the view you would get as you enter the living room - almost as soon as you enter the apartment, really. Yikes.

looking north: entertainment center, varied mess, fake coffee tableLooking north. This is what we see when we sit on the couch. Notice the fake coffee table.

looking east: love seat, office nook, entry wayLooking east, back toward the entryway. Not too bad right? But you can't see the pile of toys behind the love seat...

So here's what I got done on Sunday:
-- first, picked up assorted junk in the living room and put in a big laundry basket. Put the dirty socks and blankets in another basket. Threw away some trash.
-- Took all the picture frames off the windowsills (and floor), cleaned an inch of grime off the sills, changed the filter in the air conditioner so it's ready for use.
-- Cleaned and put back *some* of the frames, but took most away, as they blocked the light and blocked the access to the window and a/c. Not sure where I will put them - they're in limbo for now.
-- Drained the unused fishtank and discarded some old supplies. I was going to move the tank stand somewhere else, but hubby said to get rid of it - and he's right. It was second hand, it's wobbly, the wood is chipped, and it's not something I'd really want in my "someday" house. If we do decide to get more fish, we can worry about it then. So, we brought the stand to the basement. Maybe someone else in the building can give it a home, or maybe it will be trashed on Tuesday. Not my problem anymore. This also fulfills the Apartment Therapy requirement of throwing out one large item. YAY!
-- took the cardboard box from under the turtle tank, got rid of it, and put the empty hermit crab tank (don't ask) in its place. put the buckets and supplies neatly alongside.
-- moved the kids' bookcase and the hundreds of books, putting it in the spot where the fishtank had been. I managed to put a few books in the donations pile, though once the kids got involved, this became more difficult.
--I ended up putting the two endtables in the kitchen - temporarily. I will decide this week whether to freecycle or donate. In the kitchen, I also put three large tupperware bins full of beanie babies and Disney beanies. The bins had been stacked up in the entry to the living room, with more toys on top of them. I still didn't have the heart to get rid of the beanies, but hopefully the kitchen will only be a temporary home. Can't promise, though.

As I write this I'm realizing I didn't really get rid of very much - I mostly moved stuff around. But I'm trying.

-- I moved the printer stand/files to where the toy bins had been, and put the toy bins where the tupperware boxes and the printer stand had been. (Only now my printer cord won't reach, so I have to buy a longer cord. Noted.) The toy bins are the TROFAST style from IKEA that hold removable plastic bins that slide in and out. They are great, but in 409 they are overstuffed and useless. I told the kids, NOTHING is going back into these bins unless they actively play with it. So now what I have is two empty bin stands. The toys are jammed into the 8 plastic bins, 3 milk crates, a shopping bag and several baskets, and piled up in the former "nook" area. It's mostly junk - goodie bag loot, McDonalds' toys, and other random things. I told them we are going to do one bin each night. Or half a bin, if we don't have the time. The only things that are going back in the bins are things they actually play with - at least that's my plan. Everything else is either getting thrown away, given away, or if they can't do either of those, we will put it into a big box in THEIR room. I only hope I can stick to my guns and get through this stuff.

Everything is still fairly chaotic, but at least the "living" half of the living room is a little better. I did enjoy the sound of the kids laughing and playing in the cleared out living room.

As for that piece of furniture and how I ended up with it... I do mystery shopping in my spare time (what spare time?) and I got an assignment at a furniture store with a very generous reimbursement. The reimbursement was about 5 times what this store's usual reimbursement is, and that's quite a bit. So I picked up a cherry-finish rocking chair. Hubby had been promising me a rocking chair ever since my first pregnancy, but we never went through with it because we couldn't justify spending the money when we didn't have the space. Well, we still don't have the space, but the chair was free, so... there you go. It looks nice but the space behind it still needs organizing.

Pictures later...

Oh, also, over the weekend, I cleaned out the bottom of the hall coat closet, which is mostly outdoor stuff. I threw away a crumpled, yellowed plastic rain cover for the stroller and a broken paddleball game. I brought several sand pails and a frisbee (we had 2) to the basement for trash-pickers. I organized the rest of the stuff a little better - at least for now. And I got rid of a shopping bag full of outgrown snowsuits. Unfortunately I only managed to move them into a plastic bin. But once the winter season comes, I will give them away. I think.


Blogger wisahm said...

Hi CJ,
Well, you've got me thinking that I should give Flylady a try again.

I think you and I have the same issues, I am just fortunate to have a 3000 sq ft house.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Frances said...

re: snowsuits. Find takers now or donate 'em. They're taking up space that you need.

BTW,I signed up with Flylady yesterday, but I'm already a failure. My sink didn't shine when I went to bed last night. I'm so ashamed!

1:02 PM  

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