How do I organize and throw away in this house? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 09-04-2006, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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We live in a house that is 106 years old. It hasn't been renovated since the 1950's and even then - not much. We have 1 makeshift closet that dh uses for his clothes, a little storage space under the staircase where the bathroom is, one cupboard, and 3 cabinets. That's it! We do have one room of attic space that is nearly full.
We are going to be going through major renovations, but that will be only to remove lead paint, and fix the plaster walls. However, we will have to pack all of our belongings and put them in storage until finished.
What I need is a way to organize and declutter this house so that we aren't tripping over stuff in every room. I need a system that is easily kept clean and to clean around quickly. Oh, did I mention I'm a pack rat?

Also, I've been saving dd's clothes for the next babe - ttc right now. Should I?

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#2 of 8 Old 09-04-2006, 02:03 PM
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first, before packing for rennovations, go through and declutter first.

next, pack things that are going to stay stored in the attic or related into plastic bins with cedar balls. label the boxes so that you know what is in there when you need it.

then, the things that need to be temporarily stored, pack them in boxes that you can recycle.

while your house is being rennovated, go to a place like Ikea and check out their organization stuff. Ikea, California Closets or related can help you design the sort of storage that you need. start looking at their catelogues to get ideas.

then, bring them in and put them to use.

my hsuband and i use a lot of bookshelves and plastic bins in our closets.
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#3 of 8 Old 09-04-2006, 05:34 PM
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Will you have to pay to store things during the renovations? If so, that's a good place to start. Look at things & really think about if it is or isn't a good use of your resources to spend $$ to store_________? Then, have you used it lately? Will you use it later on? Is there any reason to hang on to it? If the answer to those are no, start pitching. Look for double duty furniture; wardrobes, coffee table with shelf for baskets you can put magazines in, wall grid storage, etc.
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#4 of 8 Old 09-04-2006, 06:16 PM
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Go vertical. Armoires, shelving units, and freestanding chests of drawers all help where there are no cupboards/closets. Chests of drawers are GREAT in kitchens - they can hold dishes, linens, and pots & pans, and their upper surfaces can be used as counters.

Of course throwing stuff out helps too . . .
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#5 of 8 Old 09-04-2006, 07:20 PM
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We have zero closets or storage in our house, so I keep everything on bookshelves. Sometimes I would love to have closets, but then other times I look in my mom's many jam-packed closets and get afeared of all the stuff we'd hang on to just because it was out of sight. Having all your things on public display cuts way down on the embarrassing clutter factor.
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#6 of 8 Old 09-04-2006, 07:31 PM
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When you are decluttering, ask yourself... "Do I love this item? Does it make me smile? When is the last time I used it?" If you don't love it, it doesn't make you smile (or worse, fills you with guilt... like too small clothes or something), and you haven't used it in 3 months or more... chuck it! Give it away if you don't want to be too wasteful, but just fill those bags and boxes, take them to salvation army, and don't look back!

I am a pack rat too and I have a hard time with this, but I *always* feel so much better after the bags and bags of clutter are gone! I have a long way to go though, it is a process!!!
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#7 of 8 Old 09-05-2006, 11:24 AM
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Storage; Our old house was like that. It was very old, and had only 3 little closets (one was a broom closet). I agree with the "go vertical" statement. As much as I love IKEA... it can get $$ fast. If the items are going to stay in the closet/attic after the renovation, I would use either sturdy paper boxes (Free at any office supply place that does printing and easy to stack, recycle them if you are not going to re-use them) or those plastic tote things you can buy for very little at places like Odd Lots. Do you have high ceilings? Floor to ceiling shelves can be a real help! For years my Mother had an old armiore in her kitchen for a cupboard, and it looked like it just belonged there.

Decluttering and gettign rid of things can be really hard, esp. baby things. Go through them and re-pack the gender nuetral things, things you just love, and stuff that is in excellent shape. I saved a lot of stuff for my second that, when I unpacked it, I thought "Why do I have this?!". All the things with stains or that you don't love just get rid of. Little baby clothes are always easy to come by. As for your & Dh's clothes, just keep stuff within a size of your current size and get rid of anything else.

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#8 of 8 Old 09-05-2006, 04:26 PM
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I feel your pain. I live in a 120+ yo house that has only one original closet. Luckily another small one was made in dd's room at some point and we do have attic space. But no coat closet anywhere....and it is cold here most of the year. Dh wears dress clothing for work so he gets one closet. I store the very few un-foldable dresses and skirts that I own in dd's closet. Everything dd has can be folded. We each have one dresser. I put everything of mine in one. Most of my skirts fold just fine so I store them in my pants drawer. I have five drawers. When they get hard to close, I start weeding stuff out. We also keep one largish truck for everyone's bulkier sweaters and sweatshirts that do not easily go into drawers. Coats go in the rest of dd's closet. I find that when I start thinking about adding a piece of furniture to store stuff, that it really means I need to get rid of some stuff. No one needs more than one dresser of clothing. This house was "very large" for it's time and I think of the large families that lived in it without even thinking about lack of closet space. it helps keep things in perspective.

I do store dd's outgrown clothing and will do so for another year before we decide for sure that she will be an only. But when I packed them up for the attic, I made some boxes for things I know I might want to keep for sentiment, some boxes that I want to pass on to someone specific, and other boxes for donation/yard sale. That way, once the decision is made, I do not have to re-sort everything. I will revisit the "sentiment" boxes and probably weed things out as time passes but everything else is ready to go if I do not need it.
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