Cleaning Out Life

With a recent move to Eastern Washington and the purchase of a home with a garage slightly over 1800 square feet in size, we have more than enough room for everything we owned plus all we can imagine purchasing.  But therein, lies the problem.

With that much space, we’ve realized that emptying the garage, and cupboards, closets, and spare rooms in our home, has become more of a priority than posting clever and informative articles on this blog.  Therefore, we are temporarily, suspending, or at the least reducing the frequency of, future posts.


It’s a Book Case My Dear Watson

We’ve got to have those.  Dump them in the garage.  From cherished find to not quite ready to throw away item, so goes the story of some of life’s possesions.  This is the tale of one of them.

Fruit crates similar to ours

Fruit crates similar to ours

Sometime after we moved to San Clemente in early 1970, we found a number of wood slat fruit crates behind a market.  My wife had read somewhere how these trash dump bound items could be converted into home decor items, evidence that upcycling was happening before the term was ever coined.

After getting the stores permission, the crates became ours and soon found there way into our home.  Over the years, we used them as book cases, display shelves, a place to store record albums and much more.  They changed colors and moved around the house but were as much a part of the family as our cats…only they didn’t require food or visits to the vet.

When we moved to Hercules, seven homes and over 15 years later, they made the trip with us but no longer as furnishings.  We may even have sold a few at the pre-move garage sales we held but we certainly didn’t prize them anymore as classy (or even quaint) items.  They ended up in the garage and have lived there ever since.

Me and my son and our fruit crates

Me and my son and our fruit crates

Every once in a while, we’ll get a nostalgic wave and think about re-utilizing them inside but then ‘common sense’ (?) kicks in and they end up remaining where they landed over 30 years ago when the moving company unloaded the truck.

What’s your story of treasure to trash?




You Can Do It

HGTV Can CraftsWhat do a bird feeder, night light, hanging planter, and candle holder have in common?  They can all start out as clutter and end as clever crafts.  HGTV’s ‘12 Decorative Ways to Upcycle Tin Cans‘ gives you easy tips for twelve projects, including the four just mentioned, using tin cans that may be lying around your garage.  Perhaps not as glamorous as some of the items featured on Flea Market Flip, these cans can still be turned into some uncanny projects.

But Wait, There’s More

From a site where Creating Really Awesome fun Things is what it’s all about, you can access 49 suggestions for tin can make-overs.  Of the ones I looked at, my favorite is the Tin Can Christmas Tree, and the hanging Snowman is pretty cool too.  You can also head on over to Red TED Art, where Maggy Woodley has compiled 35 tin can crafts.  And if that’s not enough thought provoking ideas for you, check out this search of ‘crafts with tin cans‘.

Can you guess the point I’m trying to make?  Clutter can become something cute, charming, or clever, and be worth keeping.  A project I’m dreaming about is turning an old waterbed frame in my garage into showcases for my photographic art, but that’s a post for another time.




A Quick Fill-up

If clutter itself wasn’t enough of a problem, how to get rid of it can compound the matter so rather than give you 101 ways to declutter your life, here’s one that should be fairly easy to implement and may yield big results.  “Create a small space for things to be donated and recycled and clear it out as soon as it gets full.”

So says Jonathan Hatch, writing for Get Rid of and it makes great sense to me.  We keep our trash in one of three color coded cans (brown-garbage; blue-recycle; green-yard waste) and put it out on the street once a week for pick-up.  It doesn’t pile up, the garbage is organized, and we see regular clean-up progress.  And that’s really what Jonathan’s idea is about.

Find a small space in your home.  Maybe you’ll select a shelf in the garage, one part of a small closet, or some other miscellaneous area.  The key is keep it small…don’t select that extra bedroom you’re hoping to turn into an office or it may become a clutter jungle.

Empty the space when it become full.  That’s step two in the plan and perhaps more important than keeping the space small.  If you don’t clear it out, you’ll locate another space, and another, and…you get the picture.  We donate most items to our local Goodwill but choose the organization that works  best for you.  If you like the idea of Goodwill but don’t know where a drop off location is, visit their home page and at the top of the page, click “Donation Site” and enter your zip code or city and state.

What you don’t have to do is stay chained to your clutter another day.  Taking small but sure steps, like creating a donation storage space and emptying it regularly, can put you on the path to victory.