Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Clutter, Clutter, everywhere!

Good morning!

Well troops, I had the first of my new work schedule perks bestowed upon me this past weekend-- every other working week, I end up with a schedule that allows me Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. Off! THREE DAY WEEKEND, Y'ALL. I used to take having just scads of time to lie around and watch the clouds roll by for granted as a student and for three years as a high school teacher, with the three month summer vacation guaranteed. Lemme tell you, three days off all in a row, for the working girl I am today, is hard for me to wrap my brain around. You mean I don't have to go to work? At all? For three days? What do I even do?

While I *did* hit upon some pretty stellar finds at otherwise lackluster sales on Friday morning, you want to know what I did Saturday and Sunday? I cleaned. LORD, DID I CLEAN. I pulled things out of drawers, closets, cabinets, and boxes. Under beds, over armoires-- no piece of clutter was left undisturbed! I've been living in a state of "extreme house distress" for a couple weeks, since I vowed to excavate the closet in Bab's "man cave" to divest it of my party clothes and extra afghans and God-knows-what-all that accumulates in a closet with a door if you give a pack rat like myself half a chance, so it was time to take a stand against clutter.

Remember the beginning and end of Citizen Kane, where CFK has amassed an entire warehouse full of treasures from around the world? Imagine that in my attic, but with more Goji jester girls than Van Goghs...

Almost ten bags of kitsch-be-gone later to the local Goodwill (Nashvillians, the Eastland Goodwill is actually brimming with my cast off goods this month, take advantage of my estate sale gluttony and getcha some), I feel like I might actually just maybe be able to keep my house clean! Matthew was a lot of help ferrying the Glad bags to the drop site solo so I wouldn't try and fish out a record-I-don't-even-like or shoes-I-haven't-worn-in-years for old times' sake. I can't help myself. And yet! For someone who loves throwing parties as much as I do and having people over to the house, what a coup it will be to be able to call up a friend for dinner chez moi without having to cordon off portions of the house as embarrassingly unviewable. Finally, the sentiment of wanting a house that doesn't make me crazy and allow me to constantly misplace things in a tornado of clutter has trumped my attachment to said tornado. And I hope I can keep it up!!

Do you do that? Or are you good? It's nowhere near actual hoarding, but I feel like I do have a tendency, between my love of shopping, love of a deal and the general inexpensiveness of estate sale and thrift store shopping, to drag home WAY too much stuff sometimes. It's like my eyes are continually bigger than my belly, in terms of what I can actually proudly display. A two person house should not have thirty coffee cups (even if they're cute... let's pare down to just the cutest!) or fourteen lamps! I actually counted the other day, and there are fourteen lamps in use. Not even counting the ones in the attic, complete with shades, waiting for one of the others in the house to lose favor and be traded out for one of the benched lamps. Maddening! Not one cost more than $12...but even at the cut-rate, what is the "actual cost" of having to find places for and/or store all those extraneous lighting fixtures?

It's not Hoarders-bad, but it ain't Hoarders-good, either...
Are you a meticulously clean person? Or have you, too, felt the shame of having to haul a huge stack of books with no particular home into a back bedroom amongst unfolded laundry and an unmade bed to make at least PART of the house presentable? My mother and my grandmother were/are always SUPER bad about spring cleaning and purging their houses of unnecessary items. I love them, but rethinking household management of items was never a strength. If there was a shelf or a box or a cabinet to put it in, whatever spoon, wall hanging, fifteen year old dress was STAYING. The time frame for  onset of this behavior in my grandmother confuses me, as there's neither hide nor hair of the wackadoodle, adorable Heywood-Wakefield esque end tables I see in family photos, nor the fifties' console tv, nor any other atomic age trappings...yet any item that drifted into the house past the year 1975 is still in the house. Like a dinner guest that won't leave. Who knows? Maybe semi-hoarding was her midlife crisis.In my mom's case, the pack-rattin' was actually kind of a boon for high school age me, as despite a slight height differential, we were about the same size, and her entire bicentennial high school wardrobe was pretty much intact in cardboard boxes in the attic when I discovered them in seventh grade on an expedition into the attic for Christmas decorations. Dresses, skirt and blouse sets, and what seemed like endless patterned shirts were worn and worn and worn until eventually being decommissioned from sheer tattiness. Do you ever wonder if the deep crimson-with-with-sheer-black-overlay Homecoming outfit from the year 2000, so heinous to you now you practically have to use tongs to put it in the going-to-Goodwill pile, will someday set the pulses of future generations of vintageophiles racing? I hope not, but I reckon so.

This wasn't one of the dresses, but this is a lot like a lot of the dresses.

At any rate, let me pick your collective brains for a minute, and maybe you can help me to continue seeing the cleaning light!

What is your take on "spring cleaning"? How do you choose which items from an estate sale, however adorable and criminally inexpensive, come home with you? Do you have a particular method you use to keep your house less clutterlicious than mine, or is it something genetic I can't hope to improve upon naturally (creams? injections? Is there a miracle pill I can take)? Working around all these books, I've rustled up a stack of titles like Let Go of Clutter and Clutter Busting, and while I'd rather read a book about mummies or McCoy vases, I've vowed to settle down and try to learn something from people who do this professionally. Because again, how much better would my life be if I wasn't tied down by a dirty house and no time to clean it?

With all that in mind, I'll try to get you a picture of the (minimal! innocuous! completely inconsequential! but oh so fabulous) items I picked up at the sales last weekend soon.

Til next time!


  1. Oh boy!!!! Where do I start? An inveterate "collector," I have decided to force myself to de-clutter. There comes a time when the STUFF just becomes more of a burden than a blessing. I have reached that time and am trying to divest myself of all the extraneous business that has become a slippery, pre-hoarders slope. "It's not hoarders-bad, but it ain't hoarders-good, either" - exactly!!!!

  2. Oh girl, don't even get me STARTED on how bad my house is! I'm actually really good at cleaning -- I'm systematic, I'm great at coming up with places to put everything, and placing giant, decorative mixing bowls and baskets on counters and tables to catch clutter until the next time I do a serious cleaning, where there's dusting and floor scrubbing and all that. Except lately, we are WAY to busy to actually do any cleaning at all! When we have maybe one free day or night per week, it might just as well go to family, wedding plans, yard work, or something else! I need to try this three day weekend thing. ;)

  3. I have so much stuff and no methods. Spring cleaning for me is, well, taking everyting down, dusting it and putting it back up. when i DO get rid of somthing, its because i never really liked it to begin with! sorry i couldnt be more help but i really really love old maps and coke bottles

  4. I'm a collector at heart but got a bit of a chock 8 years ago when my grandmother died and we realized how much trash she had hidden everywhere. I decided then and there that this was not the path I wanted. I have got rid of a lot since then and though I still feel the tug of saving, I have a much easier time of letting go.

    I have found very useful for established working routines for my home. I really recommend a peek as there are a lot of useful advice. The best for me is the use of a timer for 15 minutes of work. Very useful for tackling projects that you don't want to do. Depending on my work I spend a minimum of 15 minutes but never more than an hour every day on household chores, including landry and de-cluttering. I don't particulary spring cleen or even week-clean but putter around the house a little every day and it works great for me.

  5. Hmm well as a vintage seller who deals in all sorts of stuff, often large furniture, I am constantly decluttering, often once a fortnight. On a good weekend I can bring home up to 7 vanloads of stuff so I seriously have to keep on top of it or I'd go mental. I have the entire house area underneath for stock storage but I always get the big stuff on ebay within a few days coz it piles up so fast.
    It helps that I live in a small house with no storage whatsoever (the kitchen only has one cupboard under the sink it's my only uilt-in cupboard), and I am a single person and a renter, so I know that whatever I buy I'm gonna have to lift it again at some point! Right now I don't even have a broom or a mop or a vacuum cleaner, I clean the floors on my hands and knees with a scrub sponge which I can put in the lone cupboard, and I borrow the vacuum from the shop once a week, use it then take it back again. I couldn't stand the clutter of looking at stuff like that standing in the corner of the kitchen!
    I don't know if I'd find it so easy if I was only buying for myself and not for resale...the two are very different. For myself though, I only keep what I *really love*, but whether it has resale value is often a further consideration.xx.

  6. i have NO advice for you because i am the worst! i have to bring home anything that is kind of my style at estate sales, and pretty much any piece of vintage tupperware or children's book or cute figurine. the dining room almost constantly has a pile of newly thrifted vintage, and a lot of it gets moved into my hoarders style front bedroom. terrible! i keep saying i'm going to sort it out and get to reselling,because lord knows i don't really NEED to go to anymore estate sales, and i love it so!



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