I have always envied those pictures of perfect houses with not a pile of papers or dirty dish in sight. Do they exist? I'm realizing more and more that even if that isn't achievable, in order to have an easier time keeping the place neat and clean, you have to be ruthless. Especially when you live in a small space.
Most people who know me wouldn't consider me to have a clutter problem. Most people who know me would also say I'm good at organization and that I organize often. Catching on? I spend a LOT of time maintaining my stuff and the order of my stuff. I don't have serious issues with clutter, especially with the obvious ones that are problems for most people like mail and magazines. Occasionally, they'll pile up, but I keep that stuff mostly under control.
For me, the big culprits are all those extra things I don't use regularly and things I KNOW I don't need but hold on to either a.) "just in case" or b.) because it has some emotional attachment of some sort. Sometimes that emotional attachment can just be longevity. Having something for a long time can create pseudo emotional attachments.
I'm trying to start a ruthless but gradual process of elminating all that hiding clutter so that I can spend less time organizing and more time enjoying my space (admittedly, I enjoy it or I wouldn't do it so much, but enjoying in non-organizing ways). I am trying to do a little at a time so that I can really think through and complete each category.
I started with the linen closet and linens, which I also had stored under my bed and in a chest near my bed. I don't know why, but I tend to keep linens that aren't necessary. I guess because they are simultaneously comforting and practical--it's hard to say they're useless. That being said, I have enough blankets to house a large family of refugees. I keep many of these "for guests," but seriously, who visits? Aside from my mom, exactly 5 people have stayed at my house in the over 2 1/2 years here: Aunt Ginny, Leigh, Philip, Dad, and Ted. 4 of the 5 are relatives, 3 of which would be able to bring blankets if need be. Ted, the outlyer, normally wouldn't have been staying here seeing as he lives 5 blocks from me, if it weren't for his flooded apartment. And, honestly, I have enough to give each of the 5 a blanket ALL AT THE SAME TIME. So, as you see, the massive quantity of blankets is simply not necessary. The pile at left is only the linens I've either decided to give away or that I *may* give away. Princess & the Pea comes to mind.
I'm making some progress--here's the one presentable shelf so far:
Of course, living in a small apartment, my linen closet is not just for linens, so the next stage will be dealing with that other stuff!