Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our Lenten Journey - 40 Days of Decluttering

FlyLady 2013 Challenge Poster

A 40 days of decluttering challenge seems to be a popular Lenten journey this season.  Several catholic groups are supporting drives for folks to gather 40 boxes of clutter from their homes and donate the useable items.  In additional to religious groups I find two popular secular websites doing the same:  FlyLady and White House Black Shutters.

After accumulating "stuff" for decades it seems every closet and file cabinet is busting at the seams.  The house is generally neat and tidy.  However there is excess stuff everywhere.  I have applied the biological term detritus to these items.  I read recently that 80% of information that gets filed is never retrieved for review.  I believe it - I'm trying to identify and dispose of that 80%.  But it isn't just the files, I can't seem to keep up with my other office work.  My office space at the new house isn't working well like it did at the the previous house. What is wrong?

I had a chance a few weeks ago while driving to Oklahoma to care for Mom and her new knee to think long and hard about what was working for me at the "new" house and what was not working.  I had lived in the previous house 17+ years.  The old and new houses are similar in size with three bedrooms, a laundry room, and bathrooms.  The storage layout was even similar.  Why was I struggling so?  After puzzling through functional room use I found one cause of the problem.  In the old house I had an exercise room (an upstairs den), my sewing room with a twin bed, plus an office with desk, computer desk, and bookcase/file combo units.  When the move finished my exercise equipment, sewing machine workspace, and office furniture all ended up in one small bedroom at the new house.  That one small bedroom was trying to serve too many space planning masters.  Problem found!

Office overcrowding issue now identified, our space planning problems are in the course of being addressed at the house.  Furniture and functions are being reassigned between rooms.  How this will work out I'm not sure, but the effort has been thought out  carefully so I'm hopeful.  We are moving my desk to the breakfast area so it will be closer to the kitchen and dog room where I tend to spend lots of my time.  One of the small bedrooms will be set up for exercise and sewing.  The other small bedroom will have Mike's desk and have space to sleep a medic that may have weirder than normal ambulance hours or a sick family member or someone needing to stay up with a sick dog.... you get the idea.

With each tweek of our space planning, the new house is working much better for us than it did when we first moved in - we just keep moving the furniture and functions around to suit our livestyle. As I had planned for the new hosue there is a room set aside for the dogs. Unfortunately the choice of flooring in the "dog" room is not idea - midcentury hardwood floors finished with Johnson's Paste Wax. Look for an upcoming post on the continuing saga of the den floor soon.

So in addition to our 40 days of declutttering we will be doing during lent, we will be moving furniture and repurposing spaces.  I was excited to find the 2013 Lenten decluttering challenges because it gives us a reasonable time frame to complete our 2013 home revision.  I will post photos when the transformation is complete.

Blessings to all on this Ash Wednesday.  Today our family and our home starts a Lenten journey.