A New Kind of Clutter

I had a little breakthrough over the weekend. Even though I still need to get rid of a lot of stuff, I was able to start organizing things. It was pretty damn exciting. I now have an official shelf for all the knick-knacks I decided to keep. All the items in that category need to fit on the shelf. Ideally I’d like to store other non-décor things there, but I think allowing myself a shelf worth of items is acceptable. Many of the items I’m keeping have sentimental value, and while I know sentiment is no reason to keep something it always provides one of the bigger challenges. But these are also things I genuinely like and will probably rotate back into the house at some point.

And because I’ve gotten rid of so many things, I have a new problem. Empties.


I seem to have more lids than boxes.

These are containers and baskets which used to be full of assorted stuff. There are also two or three empty Rubbermaid totes in the garage. Even though they are taking up a ridiculous amount of space, I can’t bring myself to get rid of any of these yet. The junk they were full of? Pretty easy. But I feel like I need to hold onto these for a while. I have a bizarre thing for baskets, which I’ve known for a while. I got rid of a few but I wonder if any of these will be useful, and sentiment is getting in the way too. The large round basket on the left was a gift from my mom for my first apartment. I used to keep it in my bathroom with rolled up clean towels. Since my household has tripled in size, it’s not useful for towels but it’s a good size as is the one next to it which is partially hidden. And this post about painting baskets is giving me ideas. So for the moment I’m going to keep it all.

I’m also going to wait because there were some other things I kept, and questioned keeping, but are now being used.


Seasonal items, shower curtains and table linens

Over the years I’ve kept many of these plastic bags that sheets and quilts and the like were packaged in. I had a lot and I found some of them useful for packaging donations, but I came across more unused ones in the attic and realized they would help me organize. I don’t know why I didn’t think if it before. I have a thing for shower curtains and table cloths. I have three of each at the moment and they all make me happy so I’m keeping them for now. And they’re now organized. It was a little crazy how pleased I felt with myself for finally figuring this out.

Even though this month’s space is the kitchen, I haven’t touched it yet because I feel overwhelmed. Around the time I started my Simple Year project, I gave away extra pots and pans and other kitchen gadgets I wasn’t really using. I really feel like I’ve purged as much stuff as I can, and really do use everything I kept, but I swapped a small freestanding cabinet for a shelf and now I don’t have enough space. When I got married I decided not to register for formal china, because I didn’t care about it, but I did register for twelve settings of my everyday china. Since we’re a family of three we have no need for twelve settings. We’ve broken a couple pieces over the years and the pattern’s discontinued so I decided to pack away at least four settings to replace future breakages but that does not free up much space. So I’m at a loss.

Bob and Emma went to visit his mom this week and I had to work, so I’ve been home alone. And I am so much more productive when I’m home alone. I’ve spent the last couple days going through books for the umpteenth time, and filled two big bags. Emma has been growing like a weed so I sorted through her clothes as well as some odds and ends. And I reorganized our bookshelves.


This one even has a little empty space. Can you spot it?


Like every flat surface, these tend to attract clutter. I’m not sure how to address that. I wish I’d taken some before photos.

Between now and Friday I hope to work up some courage and fix up the kitchen.


6 Responses to A New Kind of Clutter

  1. Judging by the pile of baskets (and extra container lids, lol!), it looks like things are starting to move out of your house! Good for you! Honestly, if you keep the containers, the problem I could see happening, is you have then given yourself the excuse to keep more stuff, because you will have a container to store it in.

    Personally, I would try to donate, or sell if you wish, the containers on Craigslist (Kijiji where I live). OR, save them to put more of your stuff in that you are giving away, and they go with the stuff.

    And as far as your kitchen, perhaps you could see if certain items could do double duty, allowing you to get rid of other items. I rid of some stuff in my kitchen, a while back, and am going to do another round, as I’m working through the house. Although I’ve pretty much gotten the hoarding “bug” out of me, it is still partially in my husband, and I have to walk him through some stuff, in the kitchen, and in other areas of our home, that he thinks we “can’t live without”. But we’re getting there, and our house is feeling lighter and lighter all the time!

    We’re in this battle together!

    • Good job on your progress so far! It is a huge task, and you are making good headway.

      As Sue has mentioned, it might be dangerous to keep a lot of containers without having a clear purpose for them. Even if you painted the baskets, if you don’t have a need for an unpainted basket, you likely don’t need a painted one. I would suggest giving yourself a deadline (i.e. I will paint these baskets in the next 2 months), and if nothing has been done within that time frame, find a new home for them.

      Your bookshelves look great, by the way!

  2. I totally understand your problem with baskets. I have a number of them floating around the kitchen, I use them to corral debris, library books, etc. For the ones your fell you can get rid of, but don’t want to (the painting project ones, the giftable ones), consider making out your Christmas list now. I start right after Christmas, with a list of everyone I’m giving to. As I come across ideas, I write it down, and come Christmas, I have ideas, if not actual gifts (I’m knitting socks for my dad this summer). If you can’t figure out anyone to give the baskets to (teacher, holding a box of tea and homemade cookies?) then you can let them go so someone else who will appreciate them lovingly. (I feel very responsible for things I own, and their disposal, lol.)

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