Can Tidying-Up Change Your Life?

I recently read Marie Kondo’s book, the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. Of all the many books and articles I’ve read about de-cluttering, this one has struck a real chord with me. She advocates going through your things by category and instead of discarding what you don’t want, keep only what brings you joy.

She also advises to start with your clothes…and that has been something I’ve procrastinated about forever. It’s on the top of my list of de-cluttering tasks and yet I always have reasons why it’s not the right time to tackle it. No more. Like most women, I have clothing in multiple sizes. The idea of following all the best advice, to throw out what you haven’t worn in a year and to never keep things that are too small for you on the if-come that they will fit again, sent me into a procrastinating spin. So, naturally, I’ve modified the rules to break my procrastination cycle.

A few years ago, I lost a nice amount of weight. Then, with continued running and training for a few half-marathons, my body changed shape and that was a good thing. I got rid of some worn “big girl” clothes and felt pretty good about it.Since then, I’ve kept a box in my closet where I throw nice things that are now too big for me for eventual donating or selling. Then, after all that healthful living, I started having some physical issues that slowed me down significantly and interfered with my running. Then winter hit with a few of those nasty polar vortexes and my weight crept up. According to my younger daughter, I was still looking good…the muscle I’d built up really helped!

Two weeks ago, I had surgery to fix my problem. I’m healing up nicely and with some time on my hands while on short-term disability, it’s finally time to tackle my closet. Ms. Kondo recommends breaking clothing down into categories if you have a lot of items. Oh, yes, that applies to me. I have had to create way more sub-categories than even Ms. Kondo recommended!  I decided to start with socks. Yes, socks. I have no emotional attachment to my socks, so this was a good place to start! After sorting out about a hundred pairs of socks, I found that I have a lot of sports-related socks. I tossed all socks with stretched-out or dried-out elastic or that had stains or holes. I also had no problem tossing some older socks into the donate bin…like the Nike socks I wore the last time I was on a golf league…20 years ago! I’ll hand it to Nike, those socks were still white and stretchy, just like new!

After my success with socks, I moved onto underwear with similar success. Then, naturally, I moved on to pajamas. This is where things started to get tough. I love pajamas! When I pick up each one and ask myself if this item of clothing gives me joy, the answer is more often yes than no. This is also where I first had to deal with size…what fits me now and what doesn’t. I decided on two additional categories to the “Konmari” method…Clothes that fit me last year and clothes that were smaller than that…that I’d planned to fit into before my physical issues overwhelmed me. My accommodation for having multiple sizes is to segregate them and to keep the smaller items out of my closet until they fit me or until I “give up” on ever fitting into them.

IMG_0740Next I moved on to sweatshirts…turns out I only have eight. My younger daughter commandeered 2 right away. One was a softball sweatshirt from her school, and one of the Tower of London (any remote connection to One Direction gets her attention…even just the country of origin). I kept three…an oddly short-sleeved sweatshirt from my undergraduate university, a Cardinals Baseball sweatshirt, and an 826Michigan sweatshirt. The discarded three are, a $4 grey Hanes sweatshirt from Target…no clue why I bought that. A Hard Rock Cafe Pheonix sweatshirt in hot pink that I don’t recall buying and that my younger daughter declared, “so hilariously 90’s, Mom!”, and a college sweatshirt from Germany that my father-in-law gave me years and years ago, even before I was married. It is horribly stained, but my younger daughter has her eye on it anyway…she wants me to soak it in Oxyclean and see if it is salvageable before I toss it.

So, two days into this project, I have one bag of trash (it’s at the curb, I promise!), a large box of donations, two stacks of PJ’s that are too small for me but which I really like, and the tiny hint of added closet space. I’m into this…I do believe it will change my life and help me meet other goals.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Joy in focusing on what you truly love and letting go of the rest!

Related Posts:

The Procrastinating De-Clutterer

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Motivating Myself To De-Clutter

While I didn’t actually de-clutter my entire house while I was off of work last week, and I didn’t even completely de-clutter the main living areas, I did manage to make a dent in it…all on Sunday night. Yes, I waited all week doing nothing, then rushed to sort, throw out, and put away as much as possible. Why the last minute full-press? I’d bought an Angie’s List Big Deal with my preferred cleaning company and they were coming Monday morning. What else?

Sometimes (all the time?) I have to put myself on the spot to get anything done. I sign up for races so that I’ll keep running and I keep buying those big deals so that I’ll continue to work on de-cluttering my house. It’s a sneaky technique, but it does work. I got up this morning and continued my cleaning blitz so that the cleaning people could actually get a vacuum across the rug and a dust cloth across the horizontal surfaces.

The ultimate goal with the house is to be so organized that I don’t need a cleaning company at all. I’ll be all FlyLady and manage it all by myself due to being so organized, putting things away as soon as I’m finished with them.

The other extreme would be that I am organized and also have a weekly cleaning service…unfortunately, my budget just doesn’t allow this. Therefore, I look through Groupon, Angie’s List, Living Social, and Deal Chicken for coupons for my favorite house cleaning company. They aren’t available too often, but to me they are gold!

So, after frantically throwing papers in boxes and creating all new, harder to decipher piles, I left for work. I had earlier done a lot of sorting, so there were fewer papers to shove in corners, but none-the-less, this was not ideal. All day, I looked forward to walking in to my newly-cleaned home.

If it weren’t for my children, it would have been perfect. Even so it was almost-perfect. There were just a few dirty dishes scattered about. Otherwise, things were clean, dust-free, and all the beds had clean sheets. Heaven!

My long term goal, however,  is not just a clean house, but one free of clutter, not just on the surface, but throughout. I have a very long way to go, no matter how hard I work at it. It can be quite discouraging. I know that up in my attic I have my entire LP collection. I don’t know where it is and I fret that it is destroyed by heat. I know that in a small closet in the basement I have all my financial records for when I had to move out of my house for the renovations. Junk indeed, but I have to go through it before I can junk it.

I also know, that somewhere in the bowels of my Michigan basement, are my stability ball, my weight bench, and all of my barbells. It is a mission worth signing up for to get my fitness life in order. Aha, I’ve found a new goal, easy to fulfill, that will push me forward on my bigger de-cluttering goal! That’s how I roll, all multi-tasking mania!

Find the Joy in the Journey…Silver linings are there for the taking!

And Then The Command Hooks Fell Off The Wall

Just when I thought everything was humming along smoothly, a series of unfortunate events transpired. I’ve been trying to get back my equilibrium ever since. It was when the Command Hooks fell, however, that I gave up all semblance of getting my house in order and narrowed my focus to family, work, and working out.

The first hook fell in the middle of the night, in the room below my bedroom. I heard a crash, a bit of a scuffle, and then nothing. I lay there, rigid, listening with ultra-intense hearing for any further noises. Hearing nothing, I eventually decided it must have been the dog and I fell back to sleep. In the morning, I saw that a clock had fallen off of the wall, caromed off of a large rack of DVD’s and then several of the DVD boxes had fallen and scattered across the floor.

A few days later, I was once again awoken to the sound of a crash, one with a lot of jingling and clanging of just the caliber to convince me that it was my running medals. I’d bought an adorable rack for them off of Etsy with the phrase “Keep Calm. Run On.” I’d hung it on two hooks and one had come off of the wall while the other was still firmly attached.

My clock set on the kitchen counter for months and the medal rack set on the floor below where it belonged. Months went by. De-cluttering and home maintenance had been put by the wayside. Then, one day I bought some new adhesive for the fallen hooks and something new…a hook-and-loop strip with the same Command Hook adhesive. These were for heavier items, like large picture frames.

Back home, I took hold of the tab on the remaining hook. You’ve seen the advertisements…a gentle pull and the adhesive strip slides out and the hook comes off of the wall without leaving a mark. I pulled and pulled and then the tab tore off. Frustrated, I pried the hook off of the wall with my fingers. A large chunk of paint came with it and a corner of the adhesive touched my finger. Pulling it off with a jerk, it came away with several layers of skin.

Later I complained to my older daughter about the disappointing result from such a promising product. She looked at me quizzically and deadpanned, “did you put the adhesive on backward? You know that one side is stickier than the other…”. No, no I didn’t.

So, it is about time to pull it together…I’ve got a break coming up from work and I have a chance to step back and re-evaluate things, read, write, run, and relax. Oh, and repair the wall and carefully re-hang my things being sure to use the correct strength and to put the adhesive on correctly!

Find the Joy in the Journey…sometimes that means letting things go for a while!

Still Working On The Kitchen…Water Bottle Overload

Can I say that de-cluttering is a non-glamorous activity? I’ve decided to go room-by-room and not move on until the chosen room is completely decluttered. Therefore, I am becoming bored by my slavish dedication to cleaning my kitchen. It’s a big kitchen. I am tired of it. I am still not done. This week, I took on the water bottles.

So, I try my darndest not to buy any new water bottles, but some of these things sneak in as free give-aways. There is the water bottle that came with my treadmill. There is one that is attributed to the Methodist Church in my hometown…I’m Catholic. There is one from my bank…I don’t recall why my bank of a dozen years would suddenly reward me with a water bottle, but, whatever.

I could go off on a tangent about coffee cups or pens, but even without that, I cannot explain the plethora of water bottles. I resist buying new ones with religious zeal, and yet even I agreed to let my younger daughter buy a Gatorade bottle. She said it was uniquely qualified to provide her with hydration during her softball practices. Funny how two of our older bottles have the same type of top…the “unique” feature that she used to convince me to buy her the new bottle.

But, back to my kitchen. The intentional water bottles, Camelbak’s, for example, were represented but in fractions. A broken valve, a missing straw, even missing the entire bottle top. How could I pitch any of these? A simple bottle cost over $12 and a logo-ed one double that. I tried to segregate them into useful categories, that is by how useful they are. That didn’t help. Then I asked my daughters to tell me which to eliminate. Nothing. Then I asked them to pick the ones they wanted to keep and suddenly there was a rush of movement.

water bottlesThey snatched up their favorites, then a few more. In the end more than half were slated to be saved. I had cleaned out a drawer for them and the selected bottles all fit. One, a memento of their gradeschool, which closed unexpectedly, was deemed not worth saving (it had no top and we think we found it lying around the grounds, already an outcast) so we recycled it. Several others belong to my son and they’ll go into a box in his room…more things for him to sort out for himself. We still have too many water bottles, but (lame excuse) I have a place to keep them and they are out of sight, so they get to stay.

Drawer by drawer, cupboard by cupboard, I vow to clean this room! I look forward to a clutter-free countertop and eliminating a dozen water bottles that had been on the counter, helps. Meanwhile, my kitchen is a disaster! I’ve pulled so  many things out of the drawers and cupboards for their own judgement days that the countertops are completely covered. Making dinner is a challenge. Time to double-down and get it done. Then, I’ll move on to the family room (shudder!).

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Joy of an orderly water-bottle drawer!

 

 

Still Downsizing My Kitchen

I started de-cluttering my kitchen in a very incremental way. I wrote about the start in Downsizing My Kitchen. Now with the canned goods and other miscellaneous stuff hauled out of my cupboards and sorted, it’s time to clean out the baking cupboard. As I got out all the containers of flours and sugars and other baking ingredients, it dawned on me that I used to bake a lot. I especially enjoyed making bread. Punching and kneading dough is so therapeutic!

I found an empty container for bread flour and one for rye. I used to make a great Swedish Limpa bread which took three risings and was similar to a pumpernickel but with some orange rind for a more nuanced flavor. I told my daughter about this uncommon and uncommonly good bread, but I got no further than mentioning it’s relationship to pumpernickel. I was halfway down the path to talking myself into making some…but it’s not worth the time if I have no one to share it with. I washed out the containers and stacked them on my counter.

While I was at it, I emptied out the cereal containers and disposed of the stale cereal. It dawned on me that my son must have been the real cereal eater and I just kept buying it after he’d moved out, not realizing it was just piling up. I washed out the containers and stacked them on the counter as well. I realized that I also have a big drawer which I used to stock with chips for the kids to grab for their lunches or a snack. The drawer was half-full of out-of-date, single-serving bags. Into the trash they went.image

Pretty soon, I had a mountain of Tupperware and some very neat, clean shelves…many of them now empty. Perusing my cluttered counter tops, I started to make a plan. I put away what remained of my pantry and baking cupboard. I now have three, completely empty cupboards and a large empty drawer. I still have to go through the cupboards where I have yet more plastic storage containers, but even so, I have plenty of storage space now for all of my single-use machines. I don’t have a high-end panini maker, or any high-priced gadgets, but I have acquired plenty of other things over the years. I have a Belgian waffler, a small food processor, a blender with a broken carafe, a Magic Bullet, and various other small appliances. Now I have a place to put them.

My kitchen started out cluttered. In the process of cleaning out the cupboards, I’ve made a big mess. That’s ok, because I also got rid of a lot of stuff and found storage space for things I want in my kitchen, some of which are currently on the counters and some of which are stored in the basement.

It’s hard to believe how much time it is taking me to clean out one room. A room which has a single purpose and whose contents are relatively easy to put into categories of keep or dispose. I’m still focused on this one room and when I conquer  it, I will let myself move on.

Find the Joy in the Journey…even the slow, slogging parts!

 

 

Downsizing My Kitchen

Not too many years ago, my house was bustling with the activities of six people. I bought food in large quantities, often shopping at the warehouse store and snapping up cases of everything from canned chicken to individual packs of diced peaches. When I made pizza, I made three of them. When I cooked chili or stew, I whipped up a double batch. When I had over-ripened bananas, I’d make several loaves of banana bread. I have a standalone freezer and kept it full. The cupboards were never bare.

Now there are just two of us at home and I’ve finally started adjusting my buying habits after having to dump one too many gallons of milk down the drain and tossed one too many black bananas in the trash. The refrigerator, due to my slowly cleaning it out over the last few weeks, is pretty bare, but my cupboards were still full. I decided to clean out the kitchen completely before moving on to another room. With this method, I could slowly, methodically, de-clutter my whole house. It was a simple idea which has grown in proportion.

First, I took all the food out of the cupboards and sorted it. I ended up with a shockingly large group of items that were past their expiration dates. My frugal mind couldn’t really wrap itself around the waste. I set it aside and wondered if maybe I could use some of it, anyway. Honey…everyone knows that honey never goes bad. Then again, what passes for honey these days just might. There were diced peaches, canned tomatoes, sauces, beans, evaporated milk, enchilada sauce, and other odds and ends.

Fortunately, I found a lot more unexpired items than expired. I looked at the eclectic mix of canned fish, various types of beans, tomato paste, grilling sauce, soup, etc. and decided to use it up rather than put it away. My first attempt was to make chili to use up some of the beans and maybe some of the expired tomatoes.expired

I pulled out my crockpot and started opening cans. I opened one of the cans of tomatoes and paused. It had a darker swirl in the center which looked a bit green. Down the drain it went…and off to the store I went to buy more canned tomatoes…but only as much as called for in the recipe. No more stockpiling until I have things under control and sized for a household of two.

I always loved those magazine articles about how to have a well-stocked pantry. A pantry stocked so that you could whip up a gourmet appetizer for unexpected guests or manage a homey family meal when you hadn’t gotten to the grocery store recently. The problem, as I realize while gazing at an enormous jar of Greek olives, is that no one drops in unexpectedly and even if they do, I forget I have the olives. Now they’ve expired.

So, I’ll get rid of the expired food and we’ll slowly work our way through the still-good food. I still have much work to do in the kitchen, too many pots and pans, too many gadgets, and the world’s largest supply of reusable water bottles, some of them missing important parts. Here’s to de-cluttering the kitchen and moving on to the family room.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and a love of canned beans would be nice too!

Out With The Old And In With The New

I am still focused on my big whole-house de-cluttering project. I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder, especially not after seeing what real hoarders are like on various reality TV shows, but I do have difficulty deciding what to do with my old stuff. Sometimes I just keep using it until it practically falls apart and then I feel justified in tossing it out. I’ve also gotten good at giving away or donating my children’s outgrown clothes.

Broken or non-functioning electronics and small household devices often end up in the basement for lack of a better idea. I have been able to get rid of some old computer equipment through the IT department at work which holds green recycling days once a year. I’ve sent my old cell phones to be refurbished and given to women who are in abusive relationships. But, the defunct Blue Ray that conked out on me? The wireless phone that doesn’t work any longer? I still have them. I wonder if the Blue Ray was just being temperamental and I worry about proper disposal of the battery in the old phone.

oldEventually I will get to all of that, but I am focused more on the paper clutter right now which I either file, recycle, shred, or stick in a pile (NOOOOO!!!!!). My old shredder soon ground to a noisy halt. So, I bought a bigger, better, one. The old one will go out on trash day and hopefully a junk-picker will take it and make some use of it after all. I am slowly, steadily going through my papers, but I’d also like to gradually get through the bigger stuff at the same time.

I started thinking, if I get rid of one big thing at the curb and tackle two or three smaller things each week, maybe I can make some progress over time. Next up is my old leather coat. It has seen me through more winters than I can recall, although I know I wore it through my last pregnancy and my youngest is 13 and a half now. I really hate to toss it, and it’s not in the kind of shape desired by thrift shops. It has a missing button on the cuff and has a tear or two where it has caught on something or just plain worn through. As you can tell, I’m having trouble tossing it.

The gloves I’ve been wearing with it, however, are another story. One of the kids found them in a nearby parking lot, coated in salt,new a few years ago. Even though they are suede, I ran them through the washing machine. They came out perfect except that one of them was torn. I grabbed my sewing box and pulled out some carpet thread. I tried my best to repair it, but it is still a bit ragged. Regardless, I wore them for a few winters. I’ve decided to wear my running gloves instead…actually they are driving gloves with a touch-screen feature in the thumb and index fingers. They’re not too warm, but definitely useful for using my phone without removing my gloves.

Speaking of my phone, the durable case has cracked and it’s headed for the trash bin too. Since I have an iPhone 4s (practically a dinosaur now that the 5 series phones are out), I’ve had trouble finding a durable case to buy in its place. I finally found a pink and white, dual-layer case. Time for me to ditch my all-black accessory tendencies literally.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the path to a better wardrobe coincidentally!

Paper Attack–In The Middle Of The Storm

I am attacking my paper clutter head on. Oh my! There is more paper in my house than I think I can deal with, but I will attack it before moving on to another resolution. The most obvious piles are on the kitchen counter. So embarrassing…but there are many other hidden piles of paper. This is not to mention my files, those in the filing cabinet and those scattered around the house. I have had a very disjointed year and therefore, I know that a year’s worth of mail and other paper clutter are cluttering up the old homestead…What I also know, is that eight years ago we had to move out of the house for our renovations…and I have a sneaking suspicion (more like knowledge) that two year’s worth of old paperwork are in boxes in my basement.

To start, I get the piles off of the kitchen counter and go through them. If I could stack the piles one on top of the other, without them toppling over, I think they’d reach three or more feet. I’d guess that after going through the piles, in painstaking detail, two feet have ended up in the recycling bin. Another three inches got filed…that leaves a foot of magazines and catalogues and three or more inches of stuff scattered all over the floor waiting for a new destination. And this is just the last year’s worth of stuff that I didn’t manage to deal with as it came in.

My next obstacle is my daughter’s trundle bed…it went under her bunk beds that we moved up to the attic. I managed to find places for the two mattresses, but the trundle was intended to go under her bed…she changed her mind. Instead, we move it away from my filing cabinet…a short-term solution, but one that allows me to file again. Half an inch of paper are filed. I find her test scores from the talent search for the last three years (oh my!) and put them in the binder I keep for her school records.

After assessing the damage, I come up with a list. Although I’m able to recycle many items, some have to be shredded. This is especially true of out-dated files. So, I started to shred in my old, 5-page cross-shredder…and it failed me. It would shred half a single page and then seize up for a half-hour or more. So, I started to make a list. First off, I need a new laptop charger…mine died. I need the latest Quicken software…mine is from about 2009. And, I need a new paper shredder.

Thus determined, I searched the house for additional sources of paper. I found plenty, with plenty more to come. Meanwhile, I started watching Breaking Bad, the first season of which my kids got me for Christmas. This happened when I gave them my Target debit card and they called me while shopping, about what I might like for Christmas. Hmm. So, being a Chem E. by education, and loving a good action story, the show seemed right up my alley. It is true…The high school chemistry teacher (an underpaid gig for a true chemistry genius) who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, “breaks bad” and starts making pure crystalline meth to provide for the needs of his family after he dies. Lie begets lie…something I’ve learned about vicariously these last few years. The lies don’t die…but that is a story for another day.

And so I move forward…paper has been recycled, paper has been shredded…albeit one page at a time in my dying shredder.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the joy in dealing with a whole lot of old paperwork!

 

Whole-House De-Cluttering–Figuring Out Where To Start

When I started this blog, I enjoyed writing about de-cluttering my home. I liked that better than the actual work, but where’s the surprise in that? I still need to de-clutter, but I’ve gotten caught up in other things, especially over the last year and a half, and the clutter has become overwhelming. No more! I declare a thumb war! I mean, I declare a clutter war!

This old house once served 6 people, and now it’s down to just two. Well, two and a dog. We call her Asta, The Squirrel Hunter. That is mostly an out-of-doors activity, but she does shed a great deal and leave her toys strewn ‘round. My younger daughter, well, much the same except that she wouldn’t dream of killing a spider, much less a squirrel.

I’m rather proud of my first few de-cluttering projects, or “5-S” projects as I prefer to call them. My mud room, although it tends to get a bit muddy, is still fairly tidy. My utility closet has stayed organized. My linen closet, much the same. So, I think focusing on the storage areas is really the key…if there is somewhere to put everything, there’s no need for clutter throughout the house.

I’m ready for a “whole house” project…but even so, it has to come in small pieces. When my younger daughter eschewed her bunk beds, I enlisted my son to go up in the attic and bring down the twin to the bed in our guest room. This involved extracting it from the hodge-podge of three similar beds. He was successful. In the ensuing redecorating of my younger daughter’s room, the bunk bed and related trundle ended up in what we refer to as the “library”…kind of an upstairs family room.

So, the start of my whole-house project was to get the bunk bed into the attic. When I trudged up into the attic, I discovered that the other set of twin beds was sprawled across the middle of the narrow attic. So, step one was to stow the beds. I soon realized what a major project this was and how difficult it may have been for my son to extract one from the three. For one thing, the two remaining beds had casters…they rolled most difficultly.attic storage

I quickly decided to flip the head and foot boards so that the casters were up. After getting them settled into the eaves, I knew that the bunk beds would fit easily, but that I needed to get rid of the wicker love-seat that was taking up too much space. Unlike the rest of the set of porch furniture, this piece was torn and unrepairable. (Why it was in the attic instead of the garage…don’t even go there.)

I enlisted my younger daughter to help me get the couch out of the attic and into the garage. After, I had to sweep two flights of stairs and the pathway through the attic to get up the leaves and bits of wicker that had broken off. I was rewarded by finding one shelf pin…I’d recently convinced my younger daughter to give up her set of drawers for two bookcases, but one shelf didn’t have enough support pins. Score…although I need one or two more to make it fully stable.

About a dozen trips up and down the attic stairs and I finished stowing the bunk beds. One corner of the attic is now neat and orderly. Now I turn to the next de-cluttering challenges…I think I know how I’ll spend my long stay-cation…

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the relief at finally finding the starting point!

If I Had A Hammer

This weekend, my main goal was to organize my younger daughter’s clothes and to sort through what to keep and what to give away. I started strong, then petered out. My daughter has two small dressers in her room…filled with too-small clothes. They are not helpful for her. She prefers piles of clothes, all in full sight. So, some time ago,  I had an epiphany…put her clothes in shelves, just like at the store.

A few years ago, my son’s ceiling fell. Yes, a piece approximately circular and 6 feet in diameter crashed out of the ceiling while we slept. Thankfully, the portion which fell, was across the room from my sleeping son. The end result was a new ceiling, and repainting the ceiling and walls. In the meanwhile, since he was soon to be off to college, we boxed up most of his things, including the books in two bookcases. The bookcases, against my best wishes, ended up in the garage.

In the intervening years, they deteriorated. It didn’t help when they were used as a workbench, covered with cans of stain, rags, paint stirrers, and the like. The spiders laid their egg sacs, leaving behind empty, silken cocoons. Of the two bookcases, one had started out in great shape and the other was a bit racked, with the backing falling out. So, I selected the stronger of the two and hauled it into my mudroom. First I cleaned it with detergent, and then got out the big guns…the Magic Eraser. Well, that still took a lot of elbow grease…two hours of scrubbing later, and most of the stains were gone.Bookcase

That just left the racking problem. The bookcase was in good shape, but the particle board backing was key to fixing the racking problem. It looked as if it had been nailed in place at one point, then stapled together at another point. I just needed some pliers to remove the old nails and staples, then some new nails and a hammer. Off to the basement I went…no hammer…no pliers either. Nope. Apparently I did not retain custody of a single hammer or plier, or even a single finishing nail.

A trip to Target was in order…I know you are thinking, why shop for tools at Target? But I buy everything I possibly can there…it’s just easier. So, off my daughter and I went and found the tool aisle. I picked out a $3 hammer…I can’t wield anything too heavy, I’m not much of a hammerer. I found a nice pair of pliers and in a moment of vision, bought a cheap, light-duty stapler and staples. We proceeded to the organization aisle and found the fabric bins. These are to contain smaller items, like socks.

Back home, I used the pliers to pull out the old nails and staples. The new stapler came with no instructions, but I soon figured it out. At first, I thought that “light duty” wasn’t going to cut it. In the end, it worked. I pushed the particle board up into the bookcase as far as it would go and stapled the bottom into the base of the bookshelf. It worked!

Although I planned to solve the whole problem in one weekend, I’m pleased to have repaired one bookcase. I now have the knowledge to fix the other, more damaged bookcase. In the end, I know my daughter and I can conquer  the clothing problem…Step one in organizing my house.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the fun in finding that you already know what to do!