Friday, March 22, 2013

Shuffle, shuffle, ball change....

The dance of the basement purge and shuffle continues!

Exactly one month ago, tomorrow, we moved my son out of the main area of the basement.

Tomorrow, we move him back!

When we set up this little area by the furnace, we knew it had to happen at some point. This adjoins the stairs and is the remaining half of the wall which needs to be patched and insulated.

But I could not have done anywhere near the amount of purging and sorting I have done if he had remained. I needed the space to work!

Remember the binders?

Here's what's left:

And, there's one final box of notebooks and workbooks to go through:

This table was full of memorabilia--papers, ticket stubs, receipts, the kids' artwork (boxes and tubs and a suitcase full of the kids' artwork!) postcards, and so on and so on....

I am now left with this:

Still a monster--but I can see the end!
I pulled all my cards and letters together from before I was married.

It took several sessions, but I weeded it down. More importantly, I feel like I closed a few chapters of my life. I was 33 when I got married--and I had done a lot of living before settling down. And I mean a lot! Confronting the stuff meant confronting my feelings. One boyfriend in particular--getting rid of the small amount of things I had from him felt like, finally, finally, letting go of him and all the regrets I have had over the years.

It was incredibly healing.

I still want to go through all of these picture frames and decide what to keep and what to toss:

I want to re-do my gallery wall in the living room with a mix of thrift store paintings and photographs I've taken of mountain scenery while on vacation. I have no idea which, if any, of these frames I ought to keep for that project.

Now, I should probably stop here, BUT I am going to treat you to a tour.

From left to right, from the bottom of the stairs. The curtains arepulled across the wall of shelves.

I am standing at the bottom of the stairs looking at the wall of shelves (with the curtains closed).

Now, looking into the corner.

Lastly, I'm the bottom of the stairs, looking straight ahead.

Incidentally, those boxes under the table are empty.

Looking straight at the shelves:

Looking at the shelves, curtains open.

Standing at the shelves looking back at the workshop. (Yes, we took down the makeshift wall behind the black plastic shelves. So much more light!)

It may not look this good again for months.

On Sunday, we will start pulling everything out from under the stairs in order to insulate. I will have to shift my focus and deal with all the stuff coming out of there!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Purge and Shuffle, Progress Report: Week 2

I am working in my basement this month to get it ready for renovations. As well, my husband wants to move things so he can have more space in his workshop. That means a lot of purging--and a lot of shuffling.

The first post outlining the scope of the project is here.
The first update is here.
The progress report for Week 1 is here.

This week we managed to remove shelves in two of the three areas we're clearing out in the basement.

The first:  enlarging the "new" game room:

The second: my husband's workshop.

Before: (I didn't even have room to get in front of the shelves to take a decent picture)


Ta Da!

But that doesn't mean we have purged the equivalent amount of stuff. Far from it. We've just dumped it into the middle of the basement.

We did get rid of a bunch of stuff (but not nearly enough) and re-located some of it.

Here's my donation station: quite overflowing.

Here's it is all loaded up into the back of the jeep: not as impressive a picture as I would want! I packed most of it into luggage we decided to give away. It's lying down in the back. I drove it away Sunday afternoon (which is why this post is late.)

The Girl Guide box is not full of cookies but of books!

We relocated some of our collapsible lawn chairs--right up into the rafters! My husband just screwed in a couple of pieces of wood to hold them.

We're running into a problem with the books, though.

My husband took these boxes to a second hand shop and they bought four. Count 'em. Four. The situation is dire.

Sorry about this. The white balance was off. This is two boxes of old ice skates and the rest of the pile is books. (I think!)

I don't feel as if I did a lot this week, really. I took at least three full days off: one to clean for company that cancelled, one for a bottle drive for my daughter's Girl Guide group, and one to work on my Photo Freedom course.

I will have to buckle down quite a bit this week. Next week, (next week!) my husband goes under the stairs to begin insulating.

Egads! Where are we going to put it all?

Linking to the great 31 day challenge at Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Simple is Beautiful

Would it be too weird to say that I did this project just so I would have something to post for the William Morris project this week?
Of course, it's been on my to do list ever since I first thought of it back sometime in January. Yep. During Kitchen Challenge month. This pot lid used to be tucked away on top of its matching pot way back in the corner of the top shelf. I had to get down on both knees to reach it. Who needs that in the middle of making dinner?
It was easy though the first hurdle I jumped was realising that the towel bar didn't have to be horizontal in order to work. I felt like a rock star for figuring that out! Then, I just had to make sure that the pot lid would not hit the shelf once the cupboard door was closed. I held the towel bar and the pot lid in place and closed the door. (It was not as simple as I make it sound!)  It worked.

Then, I tried to indicate on the door where the bottom of the shelf was with a rular and a pencil, but the rular was too flexible to get a reliable mark. Still,  I re-positioned the towel bar and the lid--and it seemed like it would be OK: but I couldn't be absolutely sure.

I decided to go ahead, anyway.

It was liberating in a small way.

When I showed off what I had done to my family, they just laughed. I guess they're used to my quirks.

A simple project but incredibly useful. And that's beautiful.

Linking to the weekly gathering at Pancakes and French Fries.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Progress Report: Week 1

You may recall, March is the month for the big basement purge and shuffle.

There are three storage areas which we will be getting rid of. In order to find new homes for things, some very long-procrastinated purging projects have to be tackled. (I am not dealing with the third. That is in my husband's workshop and it's all his responsibility.)

First is this area. We need to clear out and remove these shelves in my son's new game room. Specifically, we need room for that second chair so Dad (or a friend) can play beside him.

These shelves: both the black ones and the ones on the wall in the corner need to come down to make room for a large cabinet being moved out of my husband's workshop (which is right behind this makeshift wall.)

We can move some of these items onto our shelves: but obviously we need some room, first!

So, this week, I started with the easy stuff: The boxes holding our old tax returns and accompanying paperwork!

Then I got to work on our mountain of memorabilia.

I spent an evening and made as thorough a timeline as I could--so I could remember what happened when.

Then, I set up hanging files to receive the stuff I wanted to keep.

I made tabs from index cards I had on hand:

(One file box is specifically for stuff related to school, the other is for general memorabilia)

I emptied this basket of memorabilia.

Don't be fooled--that took over two hours--all together! Paper is agony.

I did find the first ticket stubs from the first real "date" my husband and I went on.

I went through this plastic box full of artwork by my kids'. So many fabulous creations! So many decisions! Ugh. Agony in a box.

I emptied out all sorts of binders and notebooks holding homeschool work and put just a few pages from each subject into a folder for each grade. This is not all I went through and there is more to be done.

Yes, I colour coordinated their binders. My son's work was in orange binders or something with an orange spine, and my daughter's in blue/purple.

I removed some items from the black shelves and that made room for some of the stuff on the wall shelves in the corner. I took down one shelf.

I still haven't gone to the second hand bookstore. I dread watching someone go through my things and reject them.

I found an old turntable.

I had to open the box to check! But yes, carefully packed, there she is. I don't have that many record albums (and they have been stored in my mother's garage for so long they may not be playable) but I am not sure whether I should let this go. I hardly ever listen to any kind of music anymore--but that doesn't mean I don't want to! I don't know whether to keep it or not.

I took the boxes I had full of my old Nancy Drew books and put them on my daughter's bookshelf. If she hasn't even tried to read one by this time next year, I'll donate them. (I doubt they're worth trying to sell!) I collected every single one from 1 to 50. (I even have a few that pre-date the 70's era books I bought.)

So: to recap:

Area 1:

Area 2:

I am starting to hit a wall. My dining room table is still covered in photo boxes and I am emptying and sorting the homeschooling binders and notebooks on top of them. The kitchen table is home to my efforts to sort the memorabilia boxes and I'm folding laundry in the living room.

It's all getting to be a bit much. But it is going to get even worse before it starts to get any better. That's just the way these things go, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Purge and Shuffle: A Start

You may recall that I am focusing my efforts on my basement this month. I have about three weeks to make room on the shelves for some stuff from under the stairs. (Though we could just pile it all in the centre of the room, though if we did that, it would be there until Christmas, at least). The plan is to insulate the wall under the stairs during the last week in March while the kids and husband are home on holidays. (Most folks go on a skiing vacation, or fly off in search of sand and surf. Not us. We like our basement!) 

I spent a solid morning going through file boxes and the top drawer of the filing cabinet. They were full of old tax returns and supporting paperwork. It occurred to me, only after I was done, that I really didn't need to do all that, just yet. These shelves aren't coming down until July!

But I was going after low hanging fruit--and I found lots of it!

When I started, this bag was empty.

And this shelf was full.

Go me!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Goals for March: Purge and Shuffle.

It's all about the shuffle.

The last week of March is something we call "Spring Break." I think this is pretty common throughout North America (though the actual week may vary). A leftover from our agrarian days, kids get a week off of school in the Spring (It was probably so they could help plant crops).

My husband is taking the week off as well--and we have plans--big plans!

We are going to insulate the walls in the basement! Can I hear a cheer?

Last year, when my husband and son stopped, it was because they ran into this area under the stairs.

 (Yes, the laundry room area of my basement is a catastrophe, again. I have to figure out a storage solution for that hose.)

It is chocker block full of random items:
2 or 3 interior doors.
A drafting board. (I should sell it.)
Leftover mitts and gloves.
Old denim jeans (for patches. I'd love to make a quilt from them, too. I just need to figure out how.)
and all our Christmas decorations.

Of course, all of this needs to be moved somewhere.

Yep. The place where the bike used to be.

Of course, it's full of memorabilia boxes. So, I need to go through those and let go of stuff.

And there are these shelves.

These need to come down to make space for the second chair in my son's new "game room." I desperately need to make room for all the stuff on those shelves. I want to have the equivalent of this entire section gone by the beginning of April.

But that's not all. No. Here is where it all needs to go. (That's not a 1/2 empty shelf. That's the place where the photo boxes currently on the dining room table call home.)

In order to fully complete the insulation project, we need to dismantle these to put up the wall behind them. And, thus, we need to find a temporary "home" for their contents while we work on the wall. (We don't plan to get to the wall until July, though, so I have some time!)

Gah. I have to purge. and shuffle.

1. Move papers in filing boxes on the shelves into the filing cabinet.
a) purge the out-of-date paperwork in the filing boxes
b) ditto for the filing cabinet.
c) Make up new files andput into the filing cabinet.

2. Set up Memorabilia boxes to receive the "keepsies."
a) Go through current unorganized boxes and sort into what to keep and what to toss.
b) Then, I need to organize what I'm keeping by year.

3. Sort Photos.
One entire shelf cubby usually holds all of the photo boxes currently on my dining room table. As part of the Photo Freedom class, I've been going through these and sorting through them. I have a lot of duplicates, fortunately--but it's still going to take some effort to get through these by the end of the month!

4. Go through the homeschooling binders.
Fortunately, I've already cleared out one. In the Photo Freedom course, our instructor Stacy Julian suggests we set up a plastic tote with hanging files labeled with every year our child was (and will be) in school. Into these folders I'll slip a couple of pages from each subject we covered. Other things go in here, too, like school pictures and things like certificates and so on. I am so glad I now have a system to deal with all that stuff!

5. Toss everything I know I will never look at again. (Certain weight-loss materials come to mind as well as a few other things).

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd, today, just as I was getting ready to post this, my husband announced he would like to move a huge hulking monstrosity out of his workshop into this space: right where I have my corner shelves and the black plastic shelves I just moved in here last weekend. The cabinet is three feet wide. It would mean he could actually cut 8 foot boards inside his workshop instead of depending on the weather to haulthem outside. (The workshop is right behind this wall). That would be useful!

So, more to purge and shuffle!

Other goals:

I am also puging and shuffling books. I want to make room for baskets on the shelves in the dining room/home office/scraproom so that I can keep all my scrapbooking supplies in one space (rather than running down to the basement for something.) That's my hope. Probably unrealistic. Worth a try. So:

1) Make at least four trips to a second hand book shop this month.

2) Figure out where to list homeschooing curriculum books for sale and price and list them.

3) Make at least one trip to Value Village and drop off donations. (I used to go to the Library book sales and pick up books by the bagsful. I don't re-sell those, but donate them.)

4) This is sort of vague, but set up the dining room so that it is easy to scrapbook. This is what the the Organizing Your Creative Space course is all about -- and I need to re-visit the last few lessons with this new goal in mind.

I'm sorry, this is probably all as dull as ditchwater. But it helps me keep track and be accountable.
(Though I have to confess, I did let the paperwork goals from February die rather quietly. But who wants to look at stacks of paper? Not I. Unfortunately, I still am! Oh well.)

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