A room without CRAP!

alisandeOctober 19, 2004

The floor on half my downstairs was refinished last week. To prepare, I packed up countless boxes full of STUFF: books, magazines, files, pet supplies, decorative dishware, eBay mailing supplies, items to sell on eBay, laundry hampers, and on on on and on on on. These boxes fill my living room. I haven't seen my piano in some time.

But now that the floor is done, I'm soooo reluctant to move all that crap back into the room. Here's what it looks like now. See what I mean? I will be moving a couple of antique pieces in that will provide some storage. But I absolutely don't want to end up with bits and pieces all over the place again. I guess I need some advice on what to do with half of it...and some stern lectures on the critical importance of throwing out the other half. :-)

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That is one beautiful room!!! Wonderful job - I wouldn't want to "clutter it back up" either...

How about moving your antique units back in, and then *only* allowing yourself to keep what will fit *inside* whatever storage you have available. Anything that can be "hidden" can stay, the rest has to go. Obviously you'll have to prioritize which things get the "prime real estate" and which get the "boot"...but I think it will really be worth it!!

Time to do some real organizing - is there anything you took out of that room that doesn't really belong there (laundry baskets, perhaps)? Is it time to find a new "home" for some of those things that will make more sense organizationally?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 5:45PM
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Yes, Jamie, that's exactly what I need to do. The antique storage pieces will help, but after that I've got to be ruthless. The laundry stuff (and bird seed) was kept in an alcove that you can't see in this picture. It will be partly hidden by a piece of furniture, but I'll have to get creative about making the alcove more attractive--and less stuffed with stuff.

Thanks for your input!


    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 6:54PM
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Susan - I love your room! I love the simplicity. I feel very peaceful when I look at it. Be ruthless and let go of what you don't absolutely love and what won't work in this new room. Display just a few special pieces. Enjoy it!


    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 8:33PM
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I had the same experience about 8 months ago. We put in a new floor, I gave away my sofa, chairs and a whole wall unit with 5 pieces. I stashed all the crap in the wall unit into boxes and moved them into the garage. We bought a corner etegere (sp) into which I put in a few prized possessions but still havent gone through the boxes to figure out what I want to keep and I really don't miss any of them (yet). The room is so beautiful being so uncluttered and it is so easy to clean and dust. We put a beautiful oriental rug in the middle and finally found some tables to add. Only thing that's in there that I'm dying to get rid of is an old Hammond organ that's at least 20 years old. I'm seriously considering emptying out all drawers into baskets or boxes and then picking out wht I really want to keep and trash the rest. This is a BIG move for me as I'm a packrat type -- for truly practical reasons, of course! LOL

    Bookmark   October 20, 2004 at 5:35PM
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do you HAVE to put the laundry stuff back in the alcove? Just because it's hidden from sight?

And can't the eBay mailing stuff go somewhere else? Do you have room for a worktable in the garage, or basement? And shelves, to put that stuff on? (I know you had baesment troubles; maybe that won't work.)

I know people can make a lot of money by selling stuff on eBay, and they enjoy it. But it seems to add tons of clutter to their lives. They become a small business, w/ all its paraphernalia, none of its supply line (easy-to-get boxes, bubble wrap, etc), and none of its dedicated work space.

I agree w/ Sheryl--that room fills me with peace when I look at it. "Stuff" isn't peaceful.

If you can't put the things behind closed doors, don't let it go in that room.

Be really ruthless--either get rid of it completely, or insist that it go in a different room.

I would say, first look at the big categories, and decide if the CATEGORY needs to be in the DR. Pet stuff, laundry stuff, eBay stuff (maybe 2 categories here; eBay items, and mailing supplies--maybe the items can be decorative while they're waiting for a new home, and the mailing supplies can go in the garage or somewhere).

I'm so tickled for you, and the progress you've made in reclaiming your home. I'm inspired to hear what you accomplish. So don't let this gain get lost in the crap!

(and boy, isn't that just the right word? Keep it in mind as you evaluate whether this stuff is supposed to go back in that room)

    Bookmark   October 21, 2004 at 10:22AM
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Boy, what an absolutely gorgeous room! And you must have really had the crap in there! Whew! If you put anything else in it, I want to see it again! I'm sure we'd all let you know if you put too much crap in it.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2004 at 10:27AM
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The room is beautiful and I wouldn't put any more stuff in there than you absolutely have to.

Do you have an extra room to put your ebay stuff? I sell on ebay too and we converted a spare bedroom to an office and everything has it's place in there. We store packing supplies in a file cabinet - USPS boxes, tyvek, etc. Everything is packaged up after listing and put into a credenza waiting to be mailed after sale. Unsold items are in the closet or in tubs neatly stacked against one wall. We use the garage for overflow of off-season items. Everything is packed away neatly in rubbermaid tubs. This method has allowed us to live relatively clutter-free and still make great money on the side!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2004 at 10:46AM
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Yes, I did have a lot of crap in it. And I can see how that happened. It was a combination of no closets downstairs, and no built-in cupboards, and my determination to keep clutter in the living room to a minimum. Everything that didn't belong in a bedroom or bathroom gravitated to that space between the living room and the kitchen.

No, I don't HAVE to put laundry stuff back there. I need to rethink that whole space. So far all I've done is to start putting books back in the bookcase. I figure I'll get rid of as much stuff as possible, and make better use of the attic and spare bedroom.

There are two, actually, but my granddaughter often sleeps in one. Still, it's a large room and I could use part of it for eBay stuff. I'd really like to get it out of sight. The lack of closets in this old house is frustrating. I thought I was used to it after all these years, but it's so nice to be able to put things in a closet and close the door.

Anyway, thanks so much for your compliments and encouragement. I'll post an update on this room.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2004 at 9:38PM
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What I especially love is the window flooding the room with light--I'm partial to that, it's one of my favorite things about my own house.

And I know EXACTLY the feeling! Like you, Susan, and Annelis by doing floors and being forced to declutter I gained a new appreciation for the feeling of cleanliness and serenity without all that *stuff*.

I'm in the midst of my h*ll season right now so not doing much advancing on clutterbusting. Indeed I'm barely holding my head above the tide (of detritus ;). But it's wonderful to see a picture like yours and be reminded of the great results of doing that kind of work.


Here is a link that might be useful: Check out last picture: My light flooded view

    Bookmark   October 22, 2004 at 8:04AM
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two spare bedrooms, granddaughter in one, leaves one--for eBay? Or, I suppose the alcove could be eBay (but eBay is exactly the thing I'd like to put behind doors).

In fact, if you put eBay into one of the bedrooms, maybe you could make an upcoming project be the constructing or purchase of armoire or closet-type storage! If you can get to an Ikea, you could buy and assemble kitchen cabinets (the base cabinets are just boxes, no toe kicks), and then just stack them on top of and next to one another, and bolt them to one another, too. Perhaps have a 36 incher in the middle w/ a counter on it, and then 36 inchers on either side, w/ 36-inchers stacked on top of them! It could look like a "wall unit."

Speaking of lack of closets: I went to the home of one of our editors; she lives on Park Avenue. One wall of her living room looked like it was paneled in leather squares--floor to ceiling, wall to wall. The panel look, if I'm remembering right, continued over onto the adjacent wall. The other two walls were the traditional plaster. In the center of the wall, where some of the squares should have been, was an opening w/ mirrors in the back, and a countertop w/ more squares below--sort of a built-in hutch & display area.

It looked nice. It looked even NEATER when I realized that nearly every leather square--for all I know, ALL of them on that wall--was the front door of a storage cubby. There were unobtrustive little pulls. So she had nearly an entire wall full of storage. it was clear, once you really looked, that the adjacent wall just had panels, no storage behind.

I've kept that in my mind. I don't have a place to use it right now--well, actually, I do, the storage wall of my bedroom--nor the money too, but that struck me as a great way to add storage. You could even hang pictures on those panels (if they were wood instead of leather), and pretend they're walls.

She had a similar treatment along her hallway--about a foot deep, floor to ceiling cabinets w/ flush doors that looked at first like just the wall treatment.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2004 at 12:33PM
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The Ikea idea appeals to me for that alcove I mentioned. Right now it falls into whatever category is beyond "challenge." It has two open shelves, quite primitive, jammed with cleaning supplies, rags, light bulbs, you name it. The space beneath once held the washer and dryer (now in the basement). The walls are just horrid. I don't even know how to describe them. Some kind of deteriorating plaster board or whatever, once painted an ugly light green. It doesn't look like it's in good enough condition to be painted over. I don't know the best course of action. The floor is a wreck, too, but that's going to be fixed. (The blessed floor man is returning!)


    Bookmark   October 22, 2004 at 10:57PM
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Hey, if you put cabinets in that alcove, you don't need to finish the walls! LOL!

The alcove sounds like a spot in need of infrastructure!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2004 at 4:20PM
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>The space beneath once held the washer and dryer (now in the basement).

Aha! That explains why the laundry stuff was there. It needs to be re-thought so it is near the washer and dryer and more convenient and efficient.

Oprah had a woman on yesterday, wish I could remember her name, but she was talking about the relationship between how we keep/arrange/decorate our homes and our internal work. She said it works both ways, change the inside and the home changes, or change the home and the inside changes. Something to keep in mind. Sounds like you are ready for the outside to be lovely. That is a beautiful peaceful room and you deserve to have it affect your inside that way as well.

Susan, I think Talley Sue is right, some thinking about infrastructure is called for. That, and, what can you get rid of.

Talley Sue, I had a design professor in college a million years ago, and he had similar wall treatments in his living room. His were painted white, but the same idea, each was a square about 2 1/2'. The doors were pressure loaded somehow, if you just pressed the bottom corner of the door, the cabinet would open. Three entire walls of the living room were covered in invisible cabinets.

He had the most amazing collection of wind-up toys in there and pulled them all out and set them going, much to our delight.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2004 at 8:44AM
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Those spring catches are usually magnetic. I really do like that "wall of storage" idea. You could take it all the way up, all the way out, and put seldom-used stuff in there.

I keep eyeing the end of our bedroom, and trying to decide how DEEP I'd need to make them. There's the door opening into that wall, so that would argue for less deep, but I feel like 12" might not be deep enough, quite. 18" would be too much.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 10:33AM
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OK, I realize it's been years since this thread, but I found it while I doing a search about decluttering. Alisande, if you are still reading this board three years later, I just wanted to let you know that your picture has REALLY inspired me to get rid of stuff in my home. Your room looks so warm and peaceful and cozy, very modern in all it's simplicity but still with all the country appeal (modern country?). I want my home to be like yours, warm and yet completely uncluttered! Thank you for the inspiration these three years later :-)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 11:36AM
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Tradewind, how nice of you to say that! I have to say that area doesn't look quite as austere and clutterfree as the picture (nor does my entire house), but I'm doing pretty well considering how wretched things were when I started.

I have updated pictures that I'd like to show you. I'll start a new thread with them. Maybe I'll call it A House Without Crap! :-)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 6:52PM
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how about making a workroom in your alcove for doing the emailing etc and then putting a curtain/drape over the doorway. If really long doorway use a long metal wire from wall to wall.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 8:56PM
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Hi Birdtalker - Thanks for your suggestion. I started this thread almost four years ago. The alcove is now in the process of getting a new floor and walls in preparation for becoming the laundry area. No more taking the stairs to the dungeon!

This picture shows a few of the changes to the main room. I was just trying out my camera's Party mode and didn't make any effort to tidy up. Plus my son and D-I-L were living with me at the time, so their coffee maker, ham radio magazines, beer bottle (!), etc., aren't there now. The iron tools and cookware hanging at far right have been replaced with framed photographic art. But the shot shows the window scarf, hanging lamp, and hutch, all new since the photo above was taken.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 9:41PM
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Fantastic! It looks so homey and welcoming yet clutter free even with the family's lived in look. Good job!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 11:49PM
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Your room is really beautiful.

Why not keep everything packed until you need it. That way you eliminate all the items you really don't use any longer or have no need for. I would keep the simplistic look as much as possible.

You can also be selective with what you bring back into the room. You have a clean slate. Good luck

I needed it except for decorative pieces. It's amazing what you no longer use or need.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2007 at 12:39PM
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