On the Shelf

Floors are wonderful spaces.  You can put things on floors.  You can stand, sit, lie, exercise, eat, read, sleep and work on floors.

Here’s a mildly amusing anecdote I heard many years ago – so many years in fact, that one might have whimsically referred to a radio as a ‘wireless’, and not caused too much confusion among younger people around you.

A man was stuck in a traffic jam and noticed a small shop that always appeared to be open, yet didn’t appear to sell anything.  The lights were on, the door was open, customers occasionally went in and out, but their window display showed only empty shelves – it didn’t appear to sell anything.

The tailback was very long and it enabled the man to take a good look at the shop, finally to realise that it sold shelving systems.

Which brings me conveniently to the subject of this week’s epic blogular post.  It may provide a solution, if you feel your situation would benefit from it.

If you can’t see your floor, or can’t see much of it, this is because you have put too many things on it.  You will be unable to achieve many of the wonderful activities listed above, and that would be a shame. 

Fig 1: A floor, seen from above (actual shape and colour may vary.

Try doing those things on a wall.  Tricky, isn’t it.  No matter how hard we try, we can’t do anything on walls without having to ‘hang on’ in some way, and that prevents us from doing anything else.  So what’s the point of walls, and how can they help you sort out your stuff?  I will tell you.

Walls are great places to put shelves.  Shelves are great places to put stuff.  In fact, that’s the only purpose of shelves!  It is their one real purpose in life, and, unlike many of us, they achieve it well.  Brilliantly, in fact.

Take a look at your floors.  How much of them can you see?

OK, now take a look at your walls.  I expect you can see a lot more of them, yes?  If you’re the sort of person who likes pictures, perhaps you won’t see much wall, but for many of us, if we were to work out the area of wall we could see, and compare that figure with our floor space, we’d find a lot more wall.

Fig2: A Wall, Two or three Shelves could be built-in to each alcove, or free-standing shelves could be placed here, to take items off the floor. I’ve removed some pictures to demonstrate just how much space is available.

So here’s a notion: how great would it be if we could turn all that useless wall space into useful floor space?  It would be very great, I think.  But how do we turn vertical spaces into horizontal spaces?  The answer lies in Shelves.

There are two principal types of shelving system: wall-mounted, and floor mounted.  Shelves mounted anywhere else will not work properly.  I would not recommend mounting shelves to a ceiling; that’s just asking for trouble.

The wonderful thing about shelves is they come in many forms so you should be able to find a form that suits you.  If you feel unsure about fitting them yourself, there are many people out there who may be able to help, even me.  Yes, I will fit shelves if you think they will help you sort out your stuff (and you would be right about that).  My only stipulation is – you buy the shelves.  It’s simpler this way.

Shelves are wonderful things.  They turn lots of ‘dead’ vertical space into functional, useful horizontal space.  They get stuff off your floors.  They place useful stuff at eye-level (a wonderful place), or very nearly so.  So all your important stuff is easy to find.

At a pinch, with judicious use of hooks, you can even hang stuff underneath shelves!  This is useful in places like kitchens, where utensils and cups can be stored for easy access, or where storage may be limited.  Just don’t put too much load on them.

Best of all, shelves enable you to appreciate your floor again for the fabulous space it is.  A great floor is one you can stretch out on and not be able to touch anything, preferably in all directions.  This enables you to reclaim a fabulous space to yourself, one that is all yours to enjoy.

Re-connect with your floors in your life – install shelves.

Bossin’ it

First, find a safe space to work.

Offices where you have to go to work are only good if you’re the boss.  If you have an office at home, you’re very lucky.  An office is a great place to get organised, and it’s even an ok place to be a bit disorganised and still look pretty cool at the same time.

If you had an office at home but can’t remember where you left it/where it is, hmm, not so good, but on the plus side, you know it’s there somewhere.  All you need to do is find it.

I’m being flippant – one needs to treat these situations with humour, or they become overwhelming.  To return to the subject, an office is a wonderful place to start getting yourself organised.

So pull on your organising trousers and let’s fix this.  Maybe you have a spare bedroom, or a spare bed, or a spare table (a trestle/decorator’s table will do), maybe even a garage floor (but beware of dust).  Any big space like this will help you to sort stuff out into piles of

  1. stuff you need
  2. stuff you don’t need
  3. stuff you aren’t sure about

You may even be able to sort it further, like specific bill types – but if you want to work fast and efficiently, stick with these three piles first.

This all assumes you have such rooms or organising spaces available.  If you read this and think ‘Hm, I can’t find a useable office space like Neil suggests’, then your problem is a bit more sticky, and you might want to give someone like me a call.  It’s a bit like unravelling a badly packed bundle of Christmas lights, and at those times it helps to have a second person to help out.

Give me a call on 07985 490 810 and find out how I can help.

Don’t let the clutter boss you about.  Boss your clutter!

Testimonial

I would like to thank Christine Durrant for her help in cleaning and tidying my home. Thank you Christine for giving me the strength I needed to do this project and thank you for becoming a good friend as well. I would like to say that it’s people like you who help others to understand and get over their problems.
Thank you again,
Your friend,
Paul Hawkins

Are we more creative when surrounded by mess?

I am a professional organiser but I am not an inherently tidy person or in favour of minimalist living. People worry that I am going to come in and ‘make them’ get rid of all their stuff. Nothing could be further from the truth. My role is to help you manage your belongings so that they enhance your life rather than stifle it.

Some people need to reduce the quantity of stuff in their home because they can no longer function in the space. Clutter has piled on top of clutter and they can’t find anything even though they know it is in there somewhere. This leads to them spending more money buying something they know that they own but they cannot find. Now there is yet more clutter to deal with in the daily struggle to function.

In these homes clutter is not creative, it is very stressful, so stressful in fact that people develop mental blinkers which enable them to cut out the clutter so that they are not overwhelmed by it.

As an organiser, I do not see it as my job to leave you with an immaculate desk or living area in which you can no longer find anything. Many people need visual clues to remind them of their ‘to do list’. My role is to help you sort out what is working as a system and what is not. Once we discover the things that do work then we can bring that knowledge to the areas that don’t work for you and revise them so that they work too.

My husband sent me a link to an article today ‘The Psychology behind Messy Rooms: Why The Most Creative People Flourish in Clutter‘ and I found it fascinating reading.
http://elitedaily.com/money/entrepreneurship/psychology-behind-messy-rooms-messy-room-may-necessarily-bad-thing/708046/

Certainly I have found many of my clients to be interesting and creative people. They are also extremely generous with their time, devoting much of it to outside the home activities helping others. The combination of these elements can have the effect of accumulating mess that brings a resulting chaos in its wake. That is why they call me in.

If any of this resonates with you, leave a comment.

For practical help and advice, call me!

Christine
01803 527072
07794978095

Do you store on the Floor? Part 2

A mountain of clothes litters the floor and from it you pull any items you can see that will

a) fit you and

b) look and smell relatively clean.

You can’t open the wardrobe door or chest of drawers because the floor mountain is in front of it?  It is possible that you have lots of space in the wardrobe but you don’t actually know because it is so long since you last were able to explore its interior.

Take courage in both hands and sort the mountain into separate piles on your bed: tops, trousers, jeans, jumpers, underwear etc.  Have the laundry basket close by for the things that don’t pass the visual and/or nasal tests.

The pile will now take a form that is easier to deal with.

Once the wardrobe/drawers are accessible check what is inside.  Chuck any that are too small too big or follow advice in part 1 of this blog.

Clean the cupboard spaces and line drawers and shelves with pretty paper.  Old Sunday supplements are perfect for this job as long as you don’t let them distract you from the task in hand.

Why do this? Because we don’t like cleaning and the next time you have to sort your cupboard you take out the lining paper and throw it away before putting fresh paper down.

Think carefully about your wardrobe.  Why did you stop using it?

Do you dislike hanging things up?

Maybe a hanging wardrobe is not for you.  Get a local handyman to fill the hanging space with shelves and put your clothes in neat piles on them.

Do you hate coat hangars that snag on each other?

Try buying some rounded plastic ones or wooden ones.  They are better for your clothes and snag less easily.

Do you find it difficult to find what you want?

Think about putting items you wear together next to each other rather than sorting your wardrobe into trousers, skirts, tops.  Now you have outfits together instead and you take three things out together.  Now if the coat hangars snag it won’t matter so much because they are all coming out together anyway.

If all this is too daunting you can get help.

Check out www.devonclutterbusters.com

Do you store on the floor?

Part 1 of 3

A mountain of clothes litters the floor and from it you pull any items you can see that will

a) fit you

b) look and smell relatively clean.

This could be because you have a wardrobe so full that you cannot squeeze any more in it, and if you try to extract one item, a further three will try to prevent it from leaving.  Why is it that coat hangers all desperately want to stick together?

If you (and your beloved) are never irritated or frustrated by your ‘clothes mountain’, then read no further.  You are happy, and you have the right to remain so.

However, for those of you who get frustrated because you can only find one red shoe and one blue, or even a matching pair of black left shoes and you are already running late, read on, and see hope rise.

Take a moment, and think about why your clothes mountain is there.  Is it due to the packed wardrobe?

Now is the time to take a day to clear it out.  Chuck anything that is too small or too large. The former fills you with guilt that your sylph-like figure is receding; the latter tells you that you are not strong-willed enough to keep the weight off.  Either way, do yourself a favour and get that stuff out of your wardrobe!  If you must keep it, box it, label it and put it out of sight.

If you want to make money you can take good stuff to your local ‘As new’ shop.  They are interested in clean, nearly new, quality labels (Primark is not for them).  Old unusable items can be sold as ‘rags’ for about £3 per 10 kgs (a large black bin liner full is a close approximation) if you know a local merchant. If not, cloth recycling is often carried out at your local recycling centre.

For the rest, you can take it to the charity shop of your choice. There are many represented in every high street, and the money they make from resale supports many worthwhile causes.

If all this is too daunting, we are here to help if we can.

Check out our range of services at:  www.devonclutterbusters.com