This and that, everything including the kitchen sink.

Posts tagged ‘office’

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Down To The Nitty Gritty

Julie and David from Five Star Organizing, my new besties, were back again. Although they made huge strides in my studio last time, there was soooo much to do they tackled it again this time.

studio desk before and after

Then they finished categorizing my shelves. This helps immensely. Once I can see what I have I can get rid of duplicates and organize my shelves myself. No one can really know what an artist values.

It would probably take more than one lifetime to get to all the projects I want to do, so it’s time to decide which ones to keep and which to discard. Now I can see them all it’s much easier to be realistic. , As it is, I don’t feel I can start anything new because of the mess. The reality is I need to pick the things that give me the most happiness and release the others.  I know I can do it.

Once that was done, we discussed the game plan for the next time. Then they loaded my car for me with the donation boxes. It’s a wonderful feeling to see that area open up. I made sure I dropped them off the next day, otherwise they can stay in the back of my car for much too long.

We decided my homework for this time is to start on the sewing area. Since the kitchen is now clean, I can put my sorting table up on that side and get enough area to work on the sewing side. All my sewing stuff has been gathered from the rest of the house so it’s just a matter of categorizing and putting away. I’ve been hitting Pininterest for ideas and I’m ready to go. Plus it’s nice to know, if it gets too much for me I have Julie and David to back me up. I want to get my pay storage unit emptied and I know there is going to be a lot of vintage fabric in there. I need to make homes for things BEFORE I bring stuff in, even if the plan is to sell most of it.

Life is so much easier now. I have always had trouble making decisions, now it’s easier and I know I am making better choices. I can visualize my goals and see I am making progress towards the person I want to be.

Freedom. That’s a huge word for me. Hoarding keeps us prisoners of our past. I couldn’t live there, but I couldn’t move forward. Now I’m free to visualize who I want to be and work towards it. Freedom.

Messies, Neaties, Hoarders-Helpful Things.

While I mostly use the term “hoarder” because that’s what I am, anyone can use this site and the insights therein. I want this to be a place we can help each other gain knowledge and feel safe to share. You may be a messy, you may keep a spotless house or like me, be a hoarder who is ready to quit. So I am just going to make this an ongoing list of things I found to be helpful. I hope you will share some too!

Photo journaling. I take quick snaps of storage areas so I can see what is in there without digging or having to drive to the storage unit. I snap piles of clutter before I start to clean so I remember just how much I’ve done. If I’m having trouble throwing out something I really love but it isn’t functional anymore, I snap it, then release it. Projects, so I remember how I made them and don’t forget they are still pending, or to put in my photo portfolio.

Keeping a journal. You can actually rewire your brain doing this. Write what you want to be like, accomplish, do. Keep adding details as time goes on. Picture it frequently. Something in just putting ink to paper helps rewire your brain. I found keeping a bullet journal the most helpful but you can do it any way it works for you.

Be gentle with yourself. You didn’t make this mess in a day, it takes time to change. And if you are a hoarder, you are probably going to need some help. That’s ok too. Making mistakes is how we learn. Take a break if you need it, but know you aren’t quitting. Know you can do it.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy. The absolute best therapy I have ever tried, and believe me, I’ve tried a lot! It seems simple, but it works and keeps on working. Google it, or start out with this link.

Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Something else to Google. I bought the book as a Kindle edition so I didn’t have one more thing to store. If you do buy it, please be aware that a lot of people think it’s about being a minimalist, it’s not. It’s different methods of thinking about tidying and only keeping things you really love or that works for you. Only you can decide what level of tidy is comfortable for yourself. My closet and drawers have never worked so well!

Keep on trying. Don’t feel bad if one method doesn’t work for you, no matter how many people think it’s wonderful. Each brain processes information differently. Give it a fair try then move on.

Set reasonable limits. Pick one small area that you know you can clear and work on that. Time yourself. You’ll feel better about yourself and will probably be surprised at how little time you actually spent.

Celebrate your victories, no matter how small. I’m a huge fan of lists. I like making lists. I can make lists so detailed, so down to the minute I have no time to do the action I made the list for. What I had to learn to do was at the end of the day, make a list of what I accomplished. How did it make me feel? What did I learn about it/myself. I’m talking nitty gritty here. Somedays it was merely getting out of bed, feeding the cats or eating decently. Seems silly I know but it worked.

 

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Less is More

If you are in full hoarder mode, those words mean nothing to you. By definition that’s a pretty silly expression. I now have a new insight on that saying so stick with me.

I was pretty excited for my next installment with Five Star Organizing. Had a busy in-between time so I hadn’t done much extra, just put away the loosely organized bedroom stuff that was residing on my bathroom counters. Amazing how much faster that goes when you can actually get to the storage places!

I was ready for Julie and David when they came. This time we were tackling my studio, which is the messiest room in the house and also the one with the most triggers. We dove right in. I couldn’t rest on my laurels this time, I was needed to make judgement calls on what things were, what they were used for and if I wanted to keep them.  I hadn’t done much sorting in that room for about a year, after the cats overturned a shelving unit the floor was packed with stuff. I’d try every so often but it just overwhelmed and frustrated me. I couldn’t put anything away in spite of having plenty of shelf space. I’d manage to reach a bin, but putting it back was beyond my capabilities. Because it was so disorganized I didn’t know what I had, or if I knew I had it, where it was.

I knew however, with Julie and David’s help I was going to get through this. At this stage I knew I wasn’t going to break down or give up. Plus they are super supportive about the work I’ve been doing on my own. That helps immensely!

We put up the sorting table on my now clear bedroom floor, and they began hauling things in. David wanted to tackle the closet first. I had put extra shelves up in it but had never gotten around to putting much on them. It had several big totes of fabric, family records and miscellaneous craft stuff.  Whew!

studio closet 4-17

There is another shelf above that I couldn’t get a snap of. All my oversized canvases and art is safely in here now.

Soon piles of stuff mounted up on my table. Julie worked with me and ferried things back and forth. To my amazement at no time did I feel I had to defend my decision to keep something. The only thing that bothered me was being surrounded by so MANY things. A few times I had to cool down, as the weather had turned warm. Once when I knew my blood pressure was rising, Majyk, who had been staying out of the way while we worked, turned up to comfort me. We opened a few more windows and pressed on.

A few things were tough for me. Old photographs I didn’t want to keep but found too difficult to throw away. Crafts and unfinished projects that I would never finish. Two large totes of fabric. I was determined to get it down to one tote of fabric to keep and one tote of fabric to sell. I even managed to throw some of it out.

At one time I had enough fabric for a small store. I sewed professionally and had a small dressmaking shop. I inherited my mother’s huge fabric stash. I love fabric! It was charged with memories.  But I no longer sew that much and it’s time to move that vintage fabric out of my life and find it homes with someone who will love it and use it. I got it down to one tote of keeper fabric and one to be sold. With a few exceptions, I don’t plan to buy much fabric in the future. I’m saving only yardage I know I will use. And if I don’t use it within a year, that will go too.

I must have said “Oh wow! I needed that!” dozens of times as I unearthed treasures. Wide velcro that I needed to make Majyk a new service cat harness for instance. I filled boxes and boxes of donations. After a little time it got easier and easier to let go. I had a few twinges, but I knew it was time to move on and I now have the freedom to do that.

When the session was done, I walked into my new and improved studio. The floor was clear. I could reach every shelf. The closet shelves now held all sorts of goodies that were scattered before. I was shocked to see one shelving unit completely empty! I have no idea how they managed that!

Boxes were labeled. All the excess stuff that had somehow ended up in my studio was gone.  Best yet, the floor was cleared! I’d never had that much floor space before! Only my work table hadn’t been cleared, but that is a small matter. It was miraculous how much they had done in only four hours!

studio floor 4-17

Never seen this much floor in here EVER!

Now back to that saying, Less is More. I now have less STUFF than I have ever had in my life. For the first time I can reach everything in my apartment. I have a good idea of what I have, so I don’t need to keep buying duplicates. Because I have less junk, I can have more life. More time to be creative. Less guilt. I can use all the wonderful things I have collected. Finish projects that I begun years ago. There is MORE of the me that I am today. My past no longer has the controlling edge.

I feel positively euphoric today. Without a house full of junk I’m so light I could float away on one of those lovely spring breezes we had today.  I sleep better. Enjoy my cats even more. I eat better, cook more.

I still have a large storage unit to go through. I’m not intimidated by it any more. I have more faith in my ability to make good decisions to donate and discard. I can let go.

Today I know I am done being a hoarder.

studio before

This is a before picture. There aren’t any more because I couldn’t get much further in. Actually it had gotten worse than this!

 

studio downside 4-17

Same area minus the chaos.

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Same area above the rolling taboret. Look! Empty shelves! This is the back wall of the studio

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Left side of studio. I did have this organized but couldn’t get to it. Now it’s a clear path. Those boxes on the drawers to the right are all empty!!!

studio front right before

Right front. I had these nice bins set up but I couldn’t get to them.

Studio front right

Lovely bins waiting for goodies and labels.

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Front of studio. Haven’t done the desk yet

 

Of Trash and Treasure

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“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

Last night, my first night since I’ve stopped being a hoarder, I was going through my pictures looking for “before” photos. As I went, I deleted any that no longer pertained. I’ve been photo journaling my progress for years now. I used it to keep track of what’s in storage, projects, reminders.  Once I decided to quit being a hoarder I used it to keep track of my progress.

For a few years, back when I had a helper I pulled interesting bits of furniture from the dumpster area. I bought furniture at yard sales to repaint and donate to Friends Of Felines, our local no-kill shelter which has a very good second-hand store. I felt I was making a difference. A little spray paint, some ingenuity and it’s good to go, right?

Like most hoarders I pride myself in seeing treasures in other people’s trash. Since I had a clear destination planned for those treasures, I wasn’t buying into my hoarding right? I did paint and fix. Then I happily took some of my loot to the cat store.

They don’t accept furniture. They don’t have room for it. Back home it came, to sit in one of my many piles.

In looking through the photos I realized just how much stuff I had accumulated back then. I also realized that 98% of those scavenged project had made it back in the dumpster when I got serious about ending my hoarding. A new rule about not leaving furniture outside the dumpsters (I didn’t actually dumpster dive) stopped me from being tempted by seeing the potential. I had even forgotten I had kept that stuff in the first place, so I certainly didn’t miss it.

I no longer feel the urge to “rescue” abused furniture. I go to yard sales armed with a list of specific things I need, along with measurements and a tape. When I’m tempted by some odd or end, I think about where it is actually going to fit in my life NOW. Not in some vague hopeful future. After all, I like going to yard sales, if I find I need that something in that future, I’ll buy it then. Yard sales are now a completely different kind of treasure hunt. More of a challenge. It’s still fun to see other people’s stuff. I just don’t have to bring it home to enjoy it.

Sometimes trash is just, well… trash.

“Meh” To Majyk

So I’ve been using my nice newly organized office cubby for a bit and I’m really pleased. At the moment, it’s my favorite bit of my apartment. Not coincidentally it’s the prettiest, most organized space in my apartment, but we hoarders must be pleased with our baby steps.

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The Dollar Tree got in the rest of the line of lacy organizers, so I bought a large tray and a little tray. My stickers went from a plastic envelope into the large tray, making them much easier to access. My glue and adhesives went into the smaller tray. All these are easy to pick up and move to wherever I’m working. Before I was just fighting to keep everything organized. I’m noticing at the end of the day I enjoy putting everything back and seeing how nice it looks. It’s really helping me focus on my goals, both the journaling and making little spaces I find satisfying.

“Focus” is my word for 2017. My little ADHD  brain either goes into hyperfocus or into hyper aware. There are so many things I want to accomplish this year!  I’ve printed out the word in a few different typefaces (I love typography!) to stick here and there around the apartment. My brain gets so busy I often find myself in a room, wondering what it was that I went in to get.

One thing I still wanted for my Bullet Journaling was a pen I loved to write with. I had a few gel pens, but I spent as much time getting them unstuck enough to write with as I did journaling. So on my Dollar Tree shopping trip I gave the pen section as much attention as most women probably give a Tiffany’s show window. I love pens! But I wanted one bolder than the fine points I usually get. My eyesight isn’t what it used to be and often by the end of the day when I am journaling I can’t read what I have just written. I want to try a Pilot FriXion Erasable Gel Pen but that will have to wait until I get to the city. What I did find was a Promarx Megabold Gel pen. At two for a dollar, I figured it was worth a try.

pen-doodle

I had to test drive it doing a doodle, and of course there were no shortage of feline models available. I figured a black cat for a black pen was a natural. Majyk was happy to oblige. The photo is a little washed out compared to the real thing, but the pen worked beautifully. The other pens I tried bled to the underside of the paper, this pen didn’t. I’m still getting used to gel pens, and was busy doodling so it smudged a bit. It does dry pretty fast, once I noticed I had smudged it didn’t happen again. It flows nicely for writing and forces me to write larger, which is good. I touched up his eyes with colored pencils. Just a quick sketch, but I think some of his “I didn’t do it!” stare came across. Majyk is the Bart Simpson of the cat world! Five stars for the pen.

Pretty in Pink Office Cubby

Recently I read that one typical problem of hoarders is that we simply don’t figure out where things belong. For instance, my broom floats around my home, usually getting left the last place I used it. I started to put up hooks in the closet for it, but as usual, got distracted, so it remains a floater. Which means I have to look for it every time I use it. It isn’t difficult to find, its yellow with black leopard spots! Still, it adds to the mess and doesn’t bring me joy.

When I moved in here, my needs were very different. I bought a shelving unit that could hold my big monitor and with a cubby and flip down shelf for my pc. All of those were bulky, my printer, my scanner, my pc, large monitor and the unit itself. Since then I’ve gone to a lap top, bought a different printer which lives in my studio and is wireless, bought a flat screen tv which is much too wide for any shelf on the original unit…well you get the picture. I stopped using the cabinet for my office and things just got jumbled out of the way in there.

office-cubby

Recently I’ve been doing workbooks, journaling, and paying my bills downstairs. The office part of my studio really isn’t working, so I decided to reclaim this nice, hidden away spot. I gave some thought into why I didn’t like using it, and came to the conclusion that it was dark and depressing. Even my Puss-In-Boots pencil holder had migrated to the shelf above. Meh.

I’ve declared a moratorium on starting new projects that don’t get me closer to my goal, but I decided that brightening up the space would make me much more likely to use it. I’m probably going to sell the console when I move, the thing weighs a ton and takes up a lot of space. I’m not in love with it, so I didn’t want to paint it and drop the value. Instead, I went through my wall paper books and found a sample I liked. Surprisingly it was pink. It’s only been the last few years that I have been drawn to that color, my mother overdosed me on pink, pink, pink. Our huge kitchen was Pepto Dismal Pink my mom’s whole life. The fridge was pink. The stove was pink. The dishwasher was pink. If she couldn’t get an appliance in pink, she grabbed automobile paint, and yup, sprayed it pink.

It’s not that it looked bad, it was fine. I simply got sick of it. I have red hair, and most pinks did not look good on me. Pink was simply not a part of my life. But the last few years and two little girls, pink has been sneaking back into my life. So, the cubby would be PINK! Not only that, it would be girlie girl. After all, the door closes on it so it shuts away completely. I kind of liked the idea of a lacy hidden office spot.

I decided the easiest way to make over the spot was to simply wrap cardboard in a pretty paper, stick on the wallpaper sample and go from there. When my dad showed me how to make things as a child he would always tell me “measure three times, cut once”. Now, sharp, pointy objects are not compatible with me, inspite of using them on a daily basis in work. In fact, an exacto knife once attacked me by rolling off the light table and sticking in my ankle. I also hate cutting up cardboard but I had a huge box which I had saved to make a fun house for the cats (sorry kits) so I measured at least three times, trimmed, measured, trimmed until my pieces fit nicely. Then all I had to do was wrap the boards. I decided to use cardboard inserts so I could change them out easily.

I had some pink gift wrap paper I hadn’t used for the girls yet, so I just gift wrapped the cardboard. Since this is just a glorified storage space, I didn’t worry about wear and tear, but if I was doing it as a work space, I would use either spray adhesive and a sealer or Modpodge. It would look much nicer and wear a whole lot better. (Note to self, when using fairly thin wrapping paper, make sure the packing label still stuck on the box isn’t going to show through. Sigh)

pretty-office

MUCH nicer! Now to fill it up. Almost hate to hide the pretty!

Organizing my supplies took a lot longer than putting together the boards. I have way too many felt pens and doodads in here still, but as my journal progresses I’ll find what works and what doesn’t. But I now have an organized home for my bill paying, workbooks and Bullet Journal supplies. The only thing I bought for this project was the pink magazine holder and a few plastic pouches to hold the bills, stickers and for taxes. I already have ideas on how to make it even more efficient, now I can see what I have. It also gives me an excuse to buy a another pink magazine holder if they get them in, yay! I also found supplies that belong in my studio and things I forgot I even had.

office-cubby-after

This feels like a win in the battle against hoarding!