At a mom’s group meeting several years ago I heard a speaker on home organization say that you should make a rule to remove one old thing every time you bring something new into your home.
Everyone else nodded knowingly.
I had absolutely no concept what she was talking about.
I’ve finally figured out why I didn’t get it.
In my house at the time, and up until I started this blog, there was so much clutter that swapping one for one wouldn’t have had any effect. If your drawers won’t close because you have 20 more pairs of shorts than you need, why would you remove one when you got another pair? 21-too-many looks about the same as 20-too-many, so you might as well just shove a little harder and keep them all.
I got out my summer clothes last week. As I designated one of my drawers for my shorts (a new concept for me), I realized that I have some really ugly shorts. Old, mommy-waisted, not-exactly-the-right-size-anymore shorts. But I also don’t have the money to go buy myself a new wardrobe – one of the mixed blessings of having lost some weight. So, I decided that as I find new shorts – on sale or at garage sales, I’ll swap them out one for one. And suddenly this tried and true organizing concept made sense. It only works if you have what you need, not what you need . . . plus 35 more.
I’ve also been thinking of applying the same concept to my cookbook stash. I read a while back on Orgjunkie.com that she likes having a shelf designated for certain things, so she can be conscious of how much she has. I’d been thinking about my cookbooks since reading that.
I have a cookbook shelf in my pantry. But I also had a shelf-thingy on top of my fridge with more cookbooks “on” it.
It was a pretty lousy little shelf, so the cookbooks fell off (obviously) and it was in an incredibly inconvenient spot. Since I’m not one to use cookbooks as regularly as I should, having to get on a chair to get to them made it even less likely that I would use them.
So I took everything off of the top of the fridge (including the pot that I debated removing pre-picture since it belongs to one of the three real-life people who read my blog, and I’ve had it for probably two years now, sitting up on the fridge so I’ll remember to take it back . . . . ).
I took the shelf out to the garage sale, and I windexed the ultra-nasty-probably-never-before-cleaned fridge top. Lest you think that no one can see up there, we do have a 6’7″ friend who comes over regularly. Seriously.
I replaced the pot, you know . . . so I’ll remember to give it back. Here’s the fridge top now.
I don’t have the room for 500 cookbooks, and I really don’t need 500 cookbooks, but with my excessive personality, I could easily end up with 500, filling up every shelf of the pantry and spilling out onto the floor and into boxes if I don’t set up boundaries.
Check out my decluttering page for more ideas and inspiration on how to declutter!