She found De-clutter me! online. Renee left a somewhat anxious-sounding voicemail message. She mentioned family visitors and having been ill. Two rooms needed help. I called back, we chatted and scheduled a “double session” day – three morning hours, a break, then three more hours in the afternoon.
She called at 7.00 on the scheduled morning. She was ill, including with a fever of 101. We rescheduled and I urged her not to worry. Better to concentrate on feeling better, and we’d get it all done soon.
I arrived on a Saturday morning that was changing from rainy to glorious. She lives in a sweet second-floor apartment within a farmhouse surrounded by gorgeous gardens. Her landlady has a good eye, and is a talented gardener. Farther afield are some 150 acres of the family farm.
We strategized. She wanted to clear the guest room, moving some items to the storage room. (There’s no basement or attic space.) First, we would have to conquer the clutter in the storage room. We hauled from the garage two shelving units, discussing how they would best use space in the room, while allowing air flow from its two windows. We placed on them holiday decorations and wrapping, a printer and scanner, photos, winter clothes, and various other items. With the center of the room clear, she may even be able to do yoga there!
We brought some items from the guest room across the hall, then worked on it. We cleared floor space and the bed.
It was a very good start. She will be able to confidently welcome her visiting family. Tired, though smiling broadly and hugging me as I leaving, she called me an angel. Aw, shucks…
Though it was her wedding anniversary, Josie chose to devote the day to a “double session” day of de-cluttering. She, husband David and their three young children live on a secluded lot up a dirt road. She and David are entrepreneurs with a booming educational software company. Like Josie said, their busy household is “full of love.”
At first planning to work in their downstairs office, Josie switched to fixing other parts of the basement instead. Two of its rooms especially needed care. One, newly called the “Inner Sanctum,” had shelves that could be reorganized. The floor was covered with other boxes, cushions for an outdoor deck sofa, tools, bed frame parts and other wood.
We started with the shelves, working top to bottom. We placed at the top items that the family uses rarely, though want to have handy. On the next two shelves (the most valuable “real estate”), we placed bins with some of David’s tools. We moved to the floor big bins with various cords, electronics parts and other items that Josie and David would sort at another time.
We also worked in the outer basement room. It includes an ingenious arrangement – a chute for firewood to be dropped down through a window at ground level, across from the big box holding their wood stove. I suggested placing plastic bins at the bottom of the chute to catch wood, instead of it landing on the floor. Jodie then thought of having a more permanent box built. Firewood on the floor was placed in a tall bin, then pushed under the big box, along with a smaller kindling container and a few other items.
David’s mother Judith, who lives nearby, was a huge help, hauling trash and recycling up the bulkhead stairs.
Perhaps the best part of the day? Beyond Josie’s smile, that magically grew even brighter as we worked, she found some polish to use on her wedding ring – great for her anniversary!
A few days ago, I read some magazine tips about saving space in the fridge, which can get so packed during the holiday season. To keep condiments upright and to prevent mess, place them in a six-pack holder on the door. Leftover casseroles? Layer them, with cutting boards or cookie sheets between the containers. To use freezer space well, a basic desk sorter (a base with vertical dividers) can hold packages of meat, veggies and other frozen foods. That could leave space for bulkier items, like bagged ice, frozen desserts, breads, etc.