Experiment Log No. 9 — A Place for Everything
This is an experiment in getting rid of everything I don’t have a home for. See the original post here.
I don’t want to own anything that I’m not willing to use and provide a permanent place for in my home. For everything I own, I will either trash it, donate it, or commit to giving it a proper place in my home.
The experiment commenced January 18, 2011, and will be completed by February 17, 2011.
I will keep logs of my progress below, along with any issues that arise.
The Progress Log
Did most of my storage closet yesterday. The thing was overflowing, but it turns out most of it was empty boxes and packaging. I now have a few large items (snowboard, boots, vacuum cleaner) and four boxes. It’s unbelievable how little of this stuff I had any reason to keep.
The boxes contain mostly CDs and CD cases. I will go through them next.
I’m not sure what to do about my CDs. I listen to all my music on my computer, ripped from those CDs. But if I get rid of the CDs, then suddenly all my music is illegal. I think I will keep the CDs I might actually put on or lend to someone, and if I find I’m not using them then I’ll get rid of them too.
Moving through the house quickly. I’m purging every room of everything I don’t want to keep and find a proper place for, which so far seems to be about 80% of what I own (and I didn’t have that much to begin with.) I will do this for the whole house, then go back through each room/area and find a smart, attractive place for every single item that remains.
Right now I’ve got orderly stacks of stuff in my living room, some to be donated and some to be sold.
I keep encountering sentimental stuff, and I’ve been good about letting it go. I can’t believe how much useless crap I was keeping just because I felt a little bit of guilt at the thought of tossing it. Some people wouldn’t have the guts for this.
I feel great.
I have purged everything from every area of my house. I have yet to tackle my car and my daypack, but those are small jobs.
The purging part was really fun and it went quickly.
I have donated everything that is going to be donated but there are a few things I intend to sell on Kijiji instead. But the main task is yet to come for most of the areas of my home, and that is arranging the items so that each has an attractive home.
I’ve done this with the hall closet, fridge, and most of the kitchen cupboards so far. But there are a lot of spinoff tasks that have to be completed, mainly buying attractive storage items such as jars for bulk food, new (smaller) shelving for books, and higher-quality replacements for junky items I have kept.
The wall of my living room is lined with a few stacks of things I’m going to sell on Kijiji, and it seems to be inhibiting me from finalizing the other areas in my house. There is a temporary, renovation-like feeling with that stuff there, and I haven’t gotten down to photographing it and posting it for sale.
Part of the reason is that I am selling a few things that will require a bit of upkeep in order to sell, namely my guitars. I used to play guitar every day, but I just haven’t been feeling it, and it wasn’t long ago that I realized I haven’t played guitar regularly in two years. So for now I am going to purge guitar-playing from my life. I will get back to it a few years down the road. I’ll buy better gear and I’ll bring a proper commitment to it.
I’m at peace with this decision, but I have to clean each guitar and restring them, which isn’t really a big deal but it’s made the task of selling all my stuff seem like a big job, so I haven’t tackled it. And the lingering stuff inhibits me from finding proper homes for things. So this week it will all be gone, and I can organize the remaining areas of the house.
Well there’s really nothing left, but I have let “to donate” and “to sell” items linger. Like I mentioned, there are some repair/maintenance items that are preventing me from getting rid of certain things immediately (my guitar is in the shop right now.)
But I won’t let that stand in my way. I’ll take the final load of donation stuff on Thursday, and then everything that is to be sold will reside in the storage closet in an orderly fashion. If, by the end of my 30 days, I still have a few things in there, that’s fine. But I don’t expect to.
This means I can have everything clear immediately and concentrate on finding good homes for what remains. Almost everything is in order all ready, but with so much less stuff, certain trouble spots become more obvious. I have my TV sitting on an ugly computer desk, and it really needs to be replaced with a small TV stand. This is an item I have to buy.
There are a lot of items that need replacement, such as my bookshelf, which is about eight times too big for the remaining books. This is something I didn’t foresee: having a suitable home for everything means making some major changes that didn’t seem so urgent when everything was in a state of disorder.
Everything in my apartment that doesn’t have a home right now is in one of two “stuff that doesn’t have a home” wicker boxes in my living room. So even though I’m not quite done ordering everything, it looks nice and everything can be put away in the evening in about ten minutes.
Well it’s pretty much done but I’m running a bit overtime with some of the details. Today I will get the last of the containers needed to finish my kitchen, I’ll post the last of the for-sale items (which are usually gone the same day) and I’ll give it a once-thru and it will be officially done.
I am loving my household now. I can put everything away — everything — in about five minutes at the end of the day. I wake up to a perfectly orderly house. I never have to think about where something is, or whether I still have it, I know right away. My mind is clearer.
I’ll post my final report on this experiment on Thursday, February 24, because I want to begin my next experiment Monday.