Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Unclutter Your Life in One Week Part I

I have recently completed Erin Doland’s book, Unclutter Your Life in One Week. It is a brisk read that presents a lot of the information from her website in an easy to follow format. It tactfully goes through cleaning out your home, office and lifestyle with easy to implement tips. In part I of my review I will acknowledge the points of home clutter that resonated with me.

In the home the book presents the closet, bedroom, kitchen, entry and dining room. I am guilty of constantly wearing the same 3 pairs of pants and 15 shirts on a regular basis yet have 100+ articles of clothing in my closet. Similarly in the kitchen, I find myself constantly looking for items or buying them at the grocery store again because I cannot locate them when I want to cook. An even tougher problem is not having counter space to prepare food because I have mail, dirty dishes and food stuffs on the counter instead of in the pantry. Another big vice of mine is the entry way where I drop off a gym bag, backpack and diaper bag daily in the corner of the living room then proceed to take off my shoes in the dining room and hang my jacket on a chair. The intent of home de-clutter is 3 fold. One is to reduce stress in your life by making it easy to find thing. Two is to reduce having to apologize for the house when guests pop in. Three is to create a calming home rather than a stressful collection of goods.

The closet is the easiest place to start because everyone has stuff that doesn’t fit, never was quite right or is just out of style. Eliminating these items frees up a big chunk of clothing that just slides back and forth on rods, instead of being worn. My closet clutter comes from multiple wardrobes, including dress clothes, winter clothes, summer clothes and sports clothing. Having these organized as such makes it easier to find stuff. Unfortunately I cling to clothing that is practically brand new, yet I have no occasion to where the items. My examples include silk shirts for going out on the town and ties.

The kitchen tips and tricks are difficult for me to implement as there are two (and occasionally 3) cooks in our kitchen with unique cooking ingredients, cookware and styles. Doland suggests emptying out the kitchen onto the dining room table to see what is there and where it should go. An intuitive kitchen has cookware near the stove and plates, bowls, cups near the breakfast nook. In my kitchen I am guilty of storing medications, having a junk drawer, and having many single purpose items. I also treat the top shelf as my hide-away for sports water bottles and other low use items. The other tough problem is the 6 sets of dishes. We have corning ware, fine china, Italian plates, Polish plates, stainless steel and plastic plates. For you math aficionados that is 6 sets for four permanent household members.

The entry is the final location where the suggestions really hit home. I do not have a place for everything that I use on a daily basis. Our coat closet is woefully small for our winter coats. Even our recently upgrades shelves do not have room for a gym bag, with my 6 pairs of shoes, dedicated bicycling shelf and shelf consumed with hats and gloves. My softball bag which should be in the garage is in the middle of the living room because I cannot be bothered to move my climbing gear and bicycle overflow box into the crawl space.

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