Thursday, January 30, 2014

The great 'Who Needs It' - Challenge #1

(The WHYs are coming. I promise. I have been thinking about it a lot).

Challenge #1 = Fessing up. Below is my version.

I didn't really know SRB. She was Bunny's friend and left great comments on her blog, but I had not followed her before. But then Bunny posted about the Who Needs It challenge, which meant I clicked over to SRB's site and you can imagine what came next. LOVE. Maybe hyperbolic, but STRONG LIKING.

SRB is inviting us, ever lovingly and peacefully, to join her on a de-cluttering adventure. She wants to start with her house (and ours) and move on to her heart. A woman after mine, I say.

It turns out, I have major issues with clutter. Major. And my husband is worse than me. So, we make a fine pair. The only thing is that he isn't bothered at all by his mountains of disorganized shit, and  I AM (by mine and his). And I have been acutely aware of how much the stuff weighs on my psyche. It's like a glom-filled alien that is sucking the life right out of me (maybe more like a zombie eating my brain). I spend so much time noticing the clutter and zero time doing anything about it.*

So this is my entry, just under the wire, of Challenge #1.

There are several areas of my home that are cluttered. My home is more clutter than harmony. I think I could create the world's most boring blog post if I tried to list everything here. I'll start small, with the two shelves flanking the window in the dining room.

Right side

What you see here: plants, cookbooks, plastic bag full of baby proofing stuff, a hot plate thingy, a soda stream (vital to our well being), a bunch of meds for Chicken that we didn't use hiding behind the soda stream, 2 shelves full of Gummy's formula/eating apparel (bottles, caps, nipples, formula, prunes!, spoons, containers, utensils), random candleholders, cypress oil used at Christmas to make it smell Christmassy, the candle-holder-given-to-me-by-Northern-Lad's-parents-a-million-years-ago-but-oh-my- do-I-love-it. Top shelf has vases, a few candles and a picture.

Left side
On this side, you see: world's messiest basket of teas, crappy coffee maker because our good one broke and mommy and daddy cannot get through the day without brown formula, Music Together Flute CD case, radio/CD player, pot overfilled with extension cords and rechargeable batteries, hot plate holders, wooden mortar and pestle, small bowls/tea cups, 2 extremely worn down teapots, one sauce boat (for people who mostly eat vegetarian at home. Don't ask why I put it on the wedding registry). On the 3rd shelf there is a wine jug that I use to make smoothies, a crystal decanter, 7 of the 12 riedel wine glasses we got at our wedding. On the 4th shelf lives a pottery bean pot given to us by the in-laws, a couple of beer steins that are used twice a year, 2 champagne flutes that my husband got at his high school graduation (1992) that he insists on keeping, 2 small wine glasses given to us by VIA Rail on the occasion of travelling by train for our honeymoon. Top most shelf has a ceramic flower vase and a great pottery salad bowl given to us by Oat's parents.

Phew! Even my description of the stuff is cluttered.

And then, there is this

Our kitchen is a great one if you happen to be a single person who hates to cook. Our family has two adults who like to cook, a cat who likes to hang out in the kitchen and a Gummy Girl who is just on the brink of being on the move. We would love to have a pantry big enough to put our food (we have endless jars of legumes and grains), but we don't. Hence, what you see above. Just 45 minutes ago, Gummy was bum scootching her way over there to inspect those different flours we have stored in bins. It is about to get messy and dangerous. I want all those things to either disappear or be stored on those shelves seen above. And somehow not look cluttered? Right.

To review:

1) The clutter is like a zombie - endangering my life
2) The clutter is tempting Gummy - endangering my child's life

So there's my motivation.

Other areas, in no particular order:

  • Kitchen cupboards - all of them
  • living room coffee tables
  • front hall external closet and hooks
  • bathroom shelf 
  • bedroom closet
    Bunny, if you want to reconsider our
    friendship, I will understand.
  • upstairs hallway linnen closet (the door barely closes) 
  • The Study (Oh, the study - it is one inchoate mass of stuff in there, which is why I avoid it like the plague and only dump things I don't know where else to put. To prove this, here's my desk

  • And finally, the basement. The basement didn't get to be photographed because it is too ugly down there. If all the other areas/rooms in the house are chapters in a book, the basement is the Encyclopedia Britannica. 
So, I've fessed up. It's hard. I feel like you will read this post and like me less. My house is messy. I don't have my shit together (or my shit has me by the collar). But at least I'm real. I'll give challenge #2 a go in a few days. But I wanted to start here.  

*Because it's all Gummy all the time


  1. Music together flutes!

    When I see your space, I just see all the lovely and intriguing objects that speak to your (plural) many interests and talents and experiences. I think about the fact that you probably have to have weird flour so you can bake your friends gluten-free cakes. So I will NOT like you less, or withdraw my great love. Plus, like Bionic said on my post, if you have a lot of things that are a real part of your life, and a small house, you're facing a different challenge. Like you have to cram all your clothes into a tiny closet when I have a giant one...

    Like I was just writing in response to a comment on MY post where the person was saying clutter posts make people feel bad, it's hard not to feel judged when people talk about this subject. But I like the idea that if the stuff ITSELF is making you feel bad, as opposed to other people's judgements about your stuff, then it's wise to do something about it. I rarely follow links on posts, but I did click over to the one on SRB's about how to live with other people's clutter...maybe you'll like it too.

  2. Awwww. I'm going to give this one to Jack. Bringing people together, man! (Fun fact: I used to live in Olivia Chow's riding. I saw her on the street during the last federal election and I straight up fan-girled her. I think I cried. It was weird. And awesome.)


    I have read this a few times (new stalker! Hi!) and two things are really jumping out at me:

    1) I am jealous of your built-ins. Like, INSANELY jealous. I want built-ins!

    2) "My home is more clutter than harmony." This is how I have started out feeling too. The more I confront it, the less power it has over me. I am taking teeny increments here, but I feel ever so slightly less shitty and have not actually *done* anything yet. The response to this has been really, really helpful, and made me feel like a real girl too. Out of all of this, I am just hoping to tip the balance more toward harmony, and how we all get there (or closer to there) is going to look different for all of us.

    The theme for next month will be "Start Small" so, LET'S!

    P.S. Are you are a scarf person? You have many types of flour? You are a Canadian? STARS ALIGN!

  3. You know, the first few pictures reminded me of this comic.
    But my closet does look a lot like yours, although we have sliding doors so the scarfs are in hiding (and my brother gave me a beautiful scarf for Christmas!). Gummy is a totally understandable reason for taking charge against the clutter. H is much more easily annoyed by clutter, and insists on cleaning marathons whenever we have people over, so I think for the moment regular visitors may be the best anti-clutter mechanism.

  4. Everyone has parts of their house they are not proud of. I think it's great that you're ready to take charge!!

  5. I loved this post. I don't know anything on the challenge but good luck. My bedroom is the worst clutter ever...that and our basement but it's not finished so it's just a dumping zone. Oh the clutter I need to clean out too. Therefore this post just makes me like you more because you have the same trouble I do and I'm hoping to be inspired to clean mine out too.

  6. Hi there. I have been thinking about you. Glad to read up on your blog and see that life is going well for you. Gummy is so cute. Take care.

  7. We would be the best worst roommates ever. I adore your clutter and I am a queen of making a pantry from nothing. I will need to email you and get some detail, but those shelves are ripe for wonderful things.

    Small homes and old homes make you reconsider every detail of your organization skills.

    I am now clicking over to SRB's site to dig in myself. The tying into emotional clutter click on a level worth further pursuit.

  8. Augusta - I was just trying to email you but couldn't get through. Would you send me a message to cc2 at gmail, where cc really is the title of my blog? Thanks so much!