What is it about flat surfaces that invite piling on? In my old house it was the dining room table. And the coffee table. And the table at the bottom of the stairs. In our apartment I really struggle with “my side” of the bedroom. There’s a long shelf, a pair of stacked dressers and a bookcase. Lots of flat surfaces and they all tempt me to place my stuff on them instead of putting items where they belong.
That long shelf is probably going to be a problem for me as long as we live here. When I come home I immediately walk into the bedroom, strip off my coat and drop my purse, hat, scarf, gloves, pocket change, etc on the shelf. Then I take off my clothes and put on the stretchy pants. The street clothes get chucked on the counter, too, unless they’re ready to be washed. On my way out of the bedroom I grab my coat and hang it in the hallway. You can imagine how things accumulate! It looked like this until I cleared it off when I first started the challenge (I needed the space to help me with sorting stuff).
One positive effect of clearing out and making space in one area is that it starts a cascade in others.
- Now that I’ve cleared my closet, the clothes I have hanging on a rack can be properly stored.
- The rack can be used to hold the clothes I’d been pitching onto the shelf under the window.
- With the shelf cleared I can make an area to hold my purse and anything else I need.
- It looks so much nicer now.
Now that I’ve cleared and created space in the dresser, some of the items I’ve been storing on my bookcase can be moved to new homes or put back where they belong. The photo I took as a college freshman and liked well enough to bring overseas? Let’s hang it in my little purse depository area so I can see it everyday. BONUS! The frame covers up the holes in the wall left by the previous tenant.
Those papers and guidebooks from various towns and museums we’ve visited? All of those places have websites. I don’t look at the lessons from our Spanish classes once we get home. Why am I keeping them? Some of the information is interesting, but again, it’s available on the internet if I need it.
The internet also holds most of my music now. It’s nice to have something to sing to while I’m sorting through my stuff. Now I stream it over my phone and don’t have the temptation of leaving CDs and cases on my nice, cleared counter.
A little straightening of my bedside table and I can set a glass of water down without having to shift things around.
Now, my original plan was to work on my yarn stash but I got sidetracked by an overwhelming urge to straighten and neaten those devilish flat surfaces in my bedroom. In the process I learned that the long shelf functions well as a place to work on little craft projects, like the box I made to hold my pocket change. There was several day’s worth of sidetracking going on!
At the moment all the crafts have been completed and put away, but as I said, that counter is going to present an ongoing challenge for me.
How about you? Do you have any flat surfaces that accumulate stuff? When was the last time you cleared them? Do you have a strategy in place to help keep them clear?
Do you need more help? Maybe you have a different challenge you need to work on. Join our Freedom from Clutter in 40 Days Facebook group for more support. Feel free to ask questions, post helpful articles and share your before and after photos.