The Beforeness

Warning: Photo overload and complete catastrophes ahead.

Videos, too.

There is so much room for improvement in this house, so much wasted space, it’s a daunting task to consider. I’m just going to pick a spot to start and Start. Today’s starting spot is going to be The Plaid Room, which is ostensibly the guest room. It’s one of two rooms I cannot wait to attack with a Paper Tiger and several coats of paint. We have yet to have overnight guests, but it’s good to have an extra bed and a room to put someone in . Were someone to spend the night currently, they couldn’t even shut the bedroom door; it’s not pretty in there. I give you – The Plaid Room (apparently, it’s going play sideways, and it didn’t embed correctly so you may need to use an external video player… sorry about that:)

The Plaid Room

It’s not the messiest room I’ve ever seen, but that’s what I see when I reach the top of the stairs, and it presses on me a little bit each time. It was also a fairly manageable project for a short period of time to get that all-important sense of I Am Making Quantifiable Progress.

I’m a pile sorter – it’s the way I’ve always cleaned and organized (when I’ve bothered to do either.) As I go through a box, I make piles – stuff that goes into another room, stuff that needs to go into the linen closet, stuff to recycle, stuff to throw away, stuff I’m not quite sure what to do with. Once I have all the piles, then I attack those, sometimes sorting into sub-piles, but usually taking them where they need to go.

The whole room took less than two hours (minus washing the bed linens, which I haven’t yet started, and taking the giant recycling pile downstairs, which I am dreading.) Not bad. It’s not perfect, because we don’t have a bedside table for this room, and there isn’t a good spot for the vacuum to live, but still – it’s a heck of a lot better than it was:

However, there is this monster left:

Oh dear.

Next, I think I’m going to tackle Hettie’s stuff. The sun is out, but it’s only15 degrees out, with an 8 mph wind that’s got the “feels like” temperature at a rosy 5 degrees F. Jinkies. I could have picked a different day, right? Oh well.

Here’s the before:

It shouldn’t be too bad… I just need to load a bunch of stuff up into the car to haul away, or toss into the trash can.

[45 minutes later]

It’s funny how little time it takes to throw away the entire history of someone’s life. Our 90-gallon trash can was mostly empty when I started, and now it’s mostly full. Full of family photos, high school diplomas, medical records and Xrays, important documents, athletic awards, so much more.

There were a few items I kept to reuse – a few picture frames, a nice storage box, an antique-looking mirror that would attach to a dresser. Many Barbie dolls (still in boxes,) even more picture frames, toys and sundry odds and ends will be going to the Goodwill; they fit in one large box.

I feel like crap.

It was hard. I was so tempted to keep holding onto the most important things… Alexandra’s high school diploma, all the medical records, the preschool progress reports, black and white photos of Hettie as a baby, the booties which were probably hers that had little bells on the tops.

But it’s too slippery a slope. It’s all gone now.

Hettie, Alex, Casey and Kyle… I am so sorry. Mostly, kids, I’m sorry your mom flaked out and now those things are gone for you guys.

Time to get moving again to keep myself from digging it all out of the trash.

Next up: The kitchen. Well, probably not the whole kitchen – but The Appliance Situation.

That’s space that could really be used better. The laptop is a permanent fixture, as it lets me keep the online recipes I’m using right at hand without needing to print them out. Also, it can get boring waiting for [whatever] to come out of the oven, so it’s nice to check email and whatnot in the kitchen, too. The rest of the stuff? Can go.

Also, Stuff accumulates on the kitchen counter, because it’s right there when we walk in – mail, car keys, random detritus… and I hate it. It grates. Today, it’s not looking too bad, but I still want it cleared:

After work yesterday, I was heading over to Target to see what kind of cheap appliance cart or storage shelf solution I could find. The Goodwill was right next door, and I thought I’d check there first. Sooo glad I did! I scored this for $39.99:

It’s in nearly perfect condition, and it’s got a lot of space – yay! It’s a little bigger than what I had in mind, and doesn’t fit well into that space, but I’ll make it work. I’m tempted to use it as a plant stand, because I surely do need one of those, but I think it’ll work quite nicely for this application. I also found six nice earthenware plates for $0.49 apiece and a couple of three-dollar sweaters to frog for yarn.

I think I can probably make this work for the appliances (on the bottom,) the random kitchen stuff (on the wooden counter,) and who knows what on the top two shelves.

Let’s see how it goes.

[45 minutes later, again]

Ok, that part was easy. Enlisting the help of the new stand, plus our storage room in the basement, I cleared off that bit of counter, displayed some of my prettier dishware and even found a place to hang some kitchen towels (our drawer space is not awesome.)

The “pantry room” in the basement (actually a sort of utility room – the water softener and well pump live in there, too) is another area for improvement – we have a fair amount of shelf space (and plenty of room for more,) and it needs to be better organized. Then, I can migrate the less-often-used kitchen items down there (such as the coffee maker, sadly – I never take the time to make coffee at home anymore.)

Aha – the milk delivery is here. Time for a break to put that away and make lunch. Next? Hmmm. We shall see. I may be done with all the frenetic organizing for the day, and will try to find a knitting bag tutorial.

I should also make more time for the Wii Fit, now that my neck has finally loosened up almost completely.

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4 responses to The Beforeness


  1. wow you are really on a roll. wish i had that much energy/ambition for things of that nature. our house needs many things as well but i tend to get bogged down in the overwhelming number of things

    good to know there are other pile sorters out there though 😀

  2. um . . . WOW!
    I was wondering why it was the “plaid” room until I got to the appropriate picture. Please tell me doing something with that wall is on your list!
    You did great! Pat yourself on the back a few times! Buy some new yarn or fabric or have a brownie! Something good! You deserve it!

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