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Monday, June 8, 2015

Journey of 100 Bags - Chapter 5

Chapter 5 – The Last Room
            During this whole journey there was one room I avoided.  We call it the front room.  It is basically a second living room.  It was originally set up to be my personal get-away space.  I had visions of curling up in the chase lounge reading a book, but I never did.  Over the years it became a place to store things, a junk room.

            When I first began purging the house, I put my give away bags there in-between trips to the thrift store.  I also stored items I wanted to sell there as well as things I wanted to keep but had no idea where to put.  Basically, I sacrificed this room to redeem the rest of the house.

            Eventually, I know I would have to face this room.  It would take all the skills I had developed, all the tricks I had learned and all my determination to successfully transform this area.

            One skill I utilized was visualization.  I began to dream about what I wanted the room to look like and what purposes I wanted it to serve.  I had contemplated having a dining room for a few years.  This seemed like the right time to pursue that goal.  I sold the chase lounge and end tables that were not being used and began to look for a decent dining set.

            This room also houses my daughter’s piano, my library, and my computer desk.  I sketched out how these items could be rearranged to form a multi-purpose room.  Then it was time to eliminate everything that did not fit the new vision.

            I revisited the ‘packing party’ concept.  Starting in one corner of the room, one shelf/drawer at a time, I sorted every item.  Anything I wanted to keep went into a labeled box.  Items to sell went into a corner and bags to give away went by the door. 

            I unloaded my file cabinets into boxes of paper to be sorted.  Eventually I eliminated three partially-filled file cabinets and condensed into one with four drawers.  As I looked through these papers I was mortified to find ten year old electric bills as well as my high school calculus notes.  It was embarrassing to admit that not only had I kept these useless items, but I had paid to move them a few years before.  In the end I had one box of papers to save and file, three boxes to shred, and numerous bags of paper to recycle.

            Next I turned to my bookshelves.  Before I touched the first book I sat down and made a list of all the books and types of books I knew I owned.  If a book was on the list it was a keeper.  This helped me pre-set my mind so that when I picked up a book I didn’t even remember owning, it was easier to let it go. As I boxed up my books I asked myself various questions:  Have I read this book?  Do I even want to read it?  How long have I kept it without reading it?  Am I keeping it because I ‘should’ read it?  If I did read it already, did it bring me joy?  Do I really plan to read it again?  Can I find the information contained in this book online?  Did I even know I had this book?

            I put all of my baby-raising books in a giveaway box since I am not planning for any more children.  I got rid of most of my diet books and all of my college texts.  Then I turned to the religious reference section.  I decided to pair this down by looking at categories and only keeping one or two in each sub-category.  Overall, I eliminated boxes of books I did not even remember having.  Lastly, I put many, many books on probation.  I decided to keep them for now, but plan to donate them if they are not read in the next year.

            As I continued to work my way around the room, I discovered things that could now be re-homed in other rooms.  Because a large portion of the house was now organized, I knew where things belonged.

            Eventually, I got everything I wanted packed up.  Then I was able to rearrange the remaining furniture and begin to unpack.  I used the container concept and only kept the desk supplies that fit in my drawers, the movies that fit on the shelves, and the decorations that made a pleasant display.

            At the time of this writing I still have four boxes of pictures to sort through.  I can’t quite make the leap to scanning and discarding them, but I am paring down.  I’m only keeping the best ones to put in albums.  The rest can be given away to family or discarded.

            I love the fact that this room is no longer an embarrassment.  It is now functional and attractive.

1 comment:

  1. I love "watching" your wonderful journey from afar! Love you and very proud of this new healthy & happy life you're creating! Kimmy