Friday, January 7, 2011

Making do in a small living space

This past Aug, I moved from a 4 bedroom house to a 1 bedroom duplex. Not only is there fewer rooms, but the 4 rooms (bedroom/bathroom/livingroom/kitchen) I do have are MUCH smaller than their counterparts in my old house. My kitchen is almost non-existent. AND the notice that I had to move gave me less than a month to get moved. Not a lot of time to sort a lot of things. Some of my food storage things were easy to sort as I moved them. So were my homeschooling books/children's books. Those boxes went to DD and DSIL basement. They will be returned to the house as soon as I can get stuff here decluttered. Food storage stays, books will be sold.

Some things I've done to maximize space:

Gotten rid of a lot of stuff and am continuing to purge. The kids had to come get their belongs, if not...their stuff went to someone whom wanted it or to the trash.

I've repurposed some metal utility shelving and bookshelves that I already had and a dresser that wasn't "needed". I hang most of my clothing. Gotten/getting rid of a lot of things I never wear/think I'll fit back into "someday"/don't like.

Things I'm keeping have to do double duty. Duplicates are going. (Do I really NEED 3 BOXES of cookbooks? Uhmmmm...don't I look on-line when I want a new recipe or to check the cooking times on things?) Do I really need a flour sifter when I have a small-grid metal strainer? I now make Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Healthy Breads in 5 Minutes a Day. Do I really need TWO bread machines? I mean, it takes me less times to mix a batch of REALLY good-tasting bread dough from which I can make 4 or so loaves of bread in less time than it takes me to fiddle with the bread machine!

Paperwork is outta here. I'm taking anything I "can't part with" that's paper - cookbooks I won't use but that do have one or two recipes I'd like to have, old slides (don't have a projector - never did! But slides took up less space and were cheaper to develope than pictures were.), negatives, receipt that I need to keep, old tax returns, etc are all being scanned into the computer and put into files. Then the files will be transfered to either CD, DVD or thumb/flash drive for storage. That way, there's a backup should I need it or want to look at it and it won't clutter up my hard drive or my storage space. (Wow, that will get rid of a LOT of boxes of stuff!) Then I can throw AWAY the originals (You need to keep tax records for 7 years or so and talk to someone who knows what YOU need to keep for other records. I'm dumping tax records that were done and filed online. These are copies. It doesn't matter that I toss copies.)

Get rid of a lot of my books. Things I haven't looked at in YEARS probably don't need to be kept. Things I reread - Agatha Christy, Lilian Jackson Braun, my scriptures stay. Also some of the children's books - I have 2 grandkids on the way! (Got rid of 2 bookcases full of kid's books.)

When I moved, I organized the jumble that was my food storage into cardboard boxes marked: Flours, sweeteners, fruits, veggies, meats, tuna, pasta, baking, condiments, grains, dried beans/legumes, milk and oils/shortening. Since I only have a couple of 1/2 and 1/3 sized cabinets, I'm keeping them in those boxes! I know at a glance which box something is likely to be in and I only have about 4 or 5 of each type box to look through. When I have more time, I will sort the boxes better - but this system is better than the "toss it on the shelf and lose it" method I had before. I used "milk" boxes. The local store gets their brand milk in a heavy box that hold 4 gallons. It has handles cut into it on 2 sides. Nice size/shape for storage. Not too heavy for me to lift and carry. When I have time, I could make the boxes look nicer by paint or putting contact paper on them. But for now, they stay as they are. Oh, and as I open a box, I write on an outside surface (NOT on the top of the box!) what's IN the box so I don't have to keep hunting through the same boxes each time I want tomato sauce, etc. I keep the written side facing out, that wasy I can see what's in that box without opening it.  And they're FREE, recycled and still recycleable when I'm done with them or they wear out.

These things are the "start" of getting rid of 21 years of kids and their "stuff". It's really hard because not only am I getting rid of the clutter - and that would be anything I'm not using that's getting in the way, but I'm having to deal with memories that won't be repeated. So I cry a little and I sort and get rid of a little. Slowly, but surely, I'm getting my new place cleared out. Hopefully, by the time we get the promised storage sheds put up in the backyards, I won't need one.


LizBeth said...

It's just not easy, is it? But, I figure, the stuff in finite, so if I do a little bit along I'll eventually get everything sorted out. You probably know what it's like to make too many moves too close together. I still have things from the second and third moves back to sort. One of these days!! Hang in there. Sounds like you can see light at the end of the tunnel. ~Liz

Providence Acres Farm said...

We did this, downsized a LOT. It is not just getting rid of extras, but letting go emotionally of things you hang onto for sentimental reasons and don't really need. It just takes time to realize that you are not really ever going to use that.