That being said, the plethora of "get your shit together" posts on the blogosphere this month did seem to rub off on me, so I've been on a mission of sorts to ban chaos from my life.
I started with the kitchen. For some reason the kitchen is the place where chaos seems to accumulate with great ease. It's a small kitchen and I cook everything from scratch so I suppose it's not surprising.
Anyhow, the stove area was a constant source of frustration for me. There's not much space or storage there to begin with, and part of the problem was that 2 of the stove burners were always occupied - one with the tea kettle, and one with the oft used but heavy and therefore a pain to "put away" cast iron deep pan/dutch oven.
Since the kettle was well over 30 years old and starting to develop some rust inside, I decided to replace it with an electric model which got it off of the stove and put it over on the other side of the kitchen.
Just that move made a HUGE difference because I was able to move my prep area for coffee, tea, oatmeal & cat food (I mix a bit of boiling water with the cat food to both add moisture and warm it) to the other side of the kitchen where the coffee, tea, oatmeal & cat food are actually stored, and where there's a bit more room to operate.
The result has been AMAZING! It lightened the load on the stove area and it's been soooo much easier to keep it clean. Seriously, I didn't even do any "pre-photo" cleanup before snapping this!
I'm not sure if you can see the little strip between the stove & counter top, but I found that thing on Amazon for about $4 and it's WONDERFUL! I knew I couldn't be the only person who had trouble with crumbs & spills falling down the gap between the stove & counter - so I went on a mission and found a "gap filler." It's made from rigid metal and has a magnetic strip which holds it in place.
Before I installed it I decided I really should do a thorough cleaning - which led to pulling out the cabinet, fridge & stove, which, in turn, led to the discovery of some seriously disgusting stuff. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that cleaning back there is a job that perhaps should be done a tad bit more frequently than, say, once every 10-15 years!
Anyhow, I then moved on to the other side of the kitchen where I banished everything from the counter top that didn't get used multiple times per day. NO MORE HOMELESS ITEMS ON MY COUNTER!! And here's the result.
I realize this probably wouldn't be considered great by "neat freak" standards, but for me it's pretty darned incredible! And it's soooo much less stressful to cook when you've actually got counter space to work with!
So next I moved on to the desk. My desk is always a disaster because no matter how I try to resist the urge, it always seems to become a dumping ground for stuff that I don't know what to do with. So I dove into the piles of papers. I filed, I purged, I dealt with stuff I'd been avoiding... which led to a purging of the file cabinet as well - and here's the result:
Yup folks, I knew it was under there somewhere - my desk actually does have a surface! And after I took this I was inspired to scrub the wrist & mouse pads so they're nice and shiny clean now. (And what looks like debris hanging out on top of the computer isn't - it's a towel covering the fluids bag for Princess - I keep it there because the top of the computer is warm so it warms the fluids a bit, and the towel is there to keep the sunlight off the bag.)
And here's the box full of stuff to be shredded:
DOWN WITH PAPER DOCUMENTS!!! Some of the stuff in there actually dates back to the early 1990's... OY! I'm gonna redouble my efforts to get everything possible switched to paperless, and to consider closing the accounts from the places that won't do it.
Which brings me to this:
Yes, my friends... that is an EMPTY inbox! OMG, OMG, OMG!!!! Seriously, I haven't had an empty inbox since I first started using Outlook waaaaaay back in the mid-1990's. It took about a week, with numerous false starts and tweaking of systems, but with CatMan's help I was able to set up a bunch of folders for archiving important things, and rules to move incoming mail to appropriate folders.
I can't even describe the mental lift it has given me not to have thousands and thousands of emails hanging out in my inbox demanding my attention constantly! And yes, it was a bit like an archaeological dig since there was stuff over 10 years old in there. OY!
I've gotta say, this whole experience has led to a sense of peace & zen that is much more foreign to me than it should be.
And along the way I had a very interesting revelation...
The vast majority of my clutter problems have NOTHING to do with laziness!
Seriously, most of my problems stem from either systems that don't work and are difficult to maintain, or from an inability to make decisions about where to put things and/or what needs to be kept.
I'm not entirely sure what to do with this new revelation at the moment, but the idea that perhaps I'm not just genetically programmed for clutter & chaos is a new one for me.
Anyhow, I am determined to keep up my new systems, and to keep tweaking them as life changes so the systems don't become outdated and non-functional again.
So how about you? Have you done any organizing lately?