Decluttering and Discovering What We Already Have
January 3, 2020
I spent the last week decluttering the house. Well, not actually decluttering but rearranging and trying to find more space. It all started when my younger brother had a leather office chair almost new that he passed down to me, and a shoe rack. I showed the picture of the chair to the kids, and they both wanted the chair. So began, this round robin of shifting furniture and decluttering to find out where that chair fit into our lives.
The chair ended up in my room, because the back is a bit too extended for the kids’ comfort. For now with a large body pillow draped behind it, it’s the perfect ergonomic position for me. My chair ended up in my daughter’s room, as she had always liked my office chair. Then her chair ended up in the game room built-in office space, and that chair ended up back in our master bedroom where I was trying to create a reading nook/yoga space. Then I realized that the large fancy leather Costco Euro-Lounger in our bedroom reading area should go into the Game Room. The bunnies were permanently moved from the Game Room onto the adjacent balcony that has a weatherized hutch. They have a huge space out there, and I have no guilt about permanently moving the two thriving bunnies outside.
Moving the bunnies outside ended up being the game changer. Their bunny fur, no matter how much I try to clean, gets everywhere in the Game Room. Eventhough the kids would go in the game room and play, now I realize that the small bits of bunny fur that was the remnant of even my thorough cleanings was impeding the children from fully using the Game Room. And hence after the bunny relocation to the balcony, and the swap of the nice Costco Eurolounger/Futon in the Game Room for an older couch into our bedroom – the Game Room Redesign began.
I spent most of the last few days rearranging toys and books, and deep cleaning the Game Room. This led to decluttering some of my daughter’s shelves and her room, and our walk-in closet area. We didn’t throw things out, but did make a small pile of donations of things we really need to pass on. And now I feel like I live in a house that is double the square footage, just because I rearranged the house to make room for one chair and started looking at how to create more usable space in our house.
Our Game Room is above. Its the same TV and entertainment center, but it’s the only TV that can get HBO Max and Disney Plus. Rather than buying a new TV, since the whole point is to not buy things we don’t need and to keep things out of the landfill, it really pushed me to transform the upstairs space. The Love Sac is super comfortable and a gift from my parents. We had to move the bunnies before we could move the nice comfortable seating into the game room, since the bunnies’ fur gets everywhere. The kids have been hanging out there more, and the great side benefit is that it’s further from the ktichen. So when we are doing movie night now, we don’t snack as much.
In the course of shifting things here and there, and finding more storage space we rediscovered things we had. Here is a list of 15 things I found that are now being put to use, or stored properly. I really felt like I was shopping in my own house!
Fifteen Things I Rediscovered In My Own House
- Wedding Dress: I knew it was in the garage. It cost us about $500 back when we were medical students. Mr. Plastic Picker and I were married the summer between 3rd and 4th year of medical school. It’s stored away in one of those huge boxes and wrapped in acid free paper. Anyway, it was on top of the garage freezer. The garage freezer was on it’s last days, and Mr. Plastic Picker bought a new one for $800 for his parents and Home Depot picked up the old one. So that we didn’t spend anything is a bit of a lie, since we did spend $800 on a new freezer to repace the old. But getting ready for the new freezer which is taller made me realize I should move the wedding dress inside the house. I showed it to my tween to remind her I was saving it for her. The tween was somewhat horrrified about the idea of a future wedding, but the wedding dress is now stored safely in our closet.
- Glamour Shots of My Sister. My sister had glamour shots taken while in college. It’s a requisite if you went to this southeast Asian country of our ancestors. She was there studying languages. I had similar shots taken when I did HIV/AIDS research there is medical school. Hers are very glamorous and she hates them! I texted her the pictures and she wanted me to burn them. I’m holding them for ransom. I fully expect my brother-in-law to be a senator one of these days. LOL.
- Picture Frames. Being in the garage, I discovered old picture frames we’ve had for 6 years in the garage from our last move. I was thinking we finally needed to put up frames and I completely forgot about those. I’ve since dusted them off and they will be hanging soon. In total I found about 10 large picture frames/diplomas and beautiful momentos that will finally hang in our house.
- Two Perfectly New Deck of Cards. I found two perfectly new deck of cards. I put them in the small box of smaller games that stores those more portable games like Sushi Go and Exploding Kittens. The kids like playing cards and it will come in handy the next few months of quarantine.
- Yoga Space. Swapping the Costco Euro-Lounger that now is in the game room, for an older sofa that is now in our room has improved both spaces. Now our teen son wanders upstairs to sit on the Euro-Lounger which is more to his liking, and even Mr. Plastic Picker started laying on the older sofa in our room. The older sofa is from his home growing up that traveled from New Jersey to Boston and now to Southern California. That is probably why he gravitates to it. The side benefit is that the older sofa is smaller and I have now a luxuriously big yoga space. I did yoga there last night and I was very happy. I told the kids if they want to stretch, do yoga or do free weights – that they can use that space.
- Three Perfectly New Activity Sets to Gift to Patients. While cleaning the game room, I found three brand new unopenend activity sets that are perfect for a girl that is 5-10. Since my daughter is past that age and she doesn’t want them, I will regift them to kids in clinic.
- NightStand for My Daughter and Nightstand for Me. My daughter really needed a nightstand. We swapped her big full bed for a twin a few weeks ago. We just swapped beds with my mom (her guest bedroom). It worked out better for both houses. And I realized she needed a nightstand. Our master bedroom had two and eventhough it’s a matching set, it made more sense to move my nightstand to her room. I just need something to put a book and my phone. I actually fashioned a makeshift nightstand from two plastic boxes and wrapped a pretty bedsheet over it and it is tres chic! It looks really good and works for now. It may work forever. Plus it opened room in our closet for more shifting things!
- Five Shirts. Yes deep cleaning my closet I discovered five shirts that I really like, that were stuck amongst the things I cleared out. I haven’t seen these shirts in a few months. I feel like I have an entire new wardrobe!
- Three Christmas Photo Ornaments. I have no idea when I bought these three ornaments. I must have purchased them at some after Christmas sale. But I found three perfectly new christmas ornaments, the kind that you put in your own photo. To comemorate our 2020 COVID Christmas, I lovingly clipped out photos to put in them. Now they adorm our tree.
- Measuring Spoons. Our tween daughter was just bemoaning our aluminum measuring spoons and that they get bent once in a while. I found a perfectly new set of measuring cups and set of spoons in our crafting supplies. They are sturdy plastic, and now in our kitchen. Our daughter is very happy and she baked cookies last night.
- Remote Controls. In all the cleaning and shifting things, I shifted things in both entertainments centers so there is a ledge that makes sense for the remote controls. Yes, hopefully this prevents the ever frustrating drama of where is the remote control!
- Repurposed cotton lounging pants: In the deep clean of the closet, I was confronted with a pair of cotton lounging pants that are at least 17 years old. They are now worn on the waist and at the hem. I finally saw that I have plenty of pants and I actually needed more rags for the kitchen. I cut out the elastic from the waist band to give to my mother-in-law who saves things like that, and cut out 10 rags from the pants. This will help us continue to decrease our paper towel usage. We usually buy paper towels from recycled paper anyway, but we’d rather use more cloth rags.
- Three Sets of Christmas Cards: We sent out photo Christmas cards this year for the first time in 15 years. But in my cleaning yesterday, I found three sets of Christmas cards. Maybe next year we’ll just print out pictures and use these cards. At some point, they need to be used.
- Boston Memories: Just going through things I found old year books, photo albumns, and photos. I got to show the kids some of the albumns and fond memories of our fifteen years in Boston. We are settled in Southern California, but it was fun to go down memory lane.
- Found my Family. It seemse crazy but I did. With the opened up Game Room and more functional living spaces, the kids started wandering around the house more. I’m not really allowed in their rooms as much because it’s their private space and they are going through puberty. But I see them in the game room, and I hear them playing the piano more because those areas are decluttered. Even Mr. Plastic Picker is moving around more from his office space.
And guess what else I found? This puppy amongst the plushies. No, that is not true. I staged that photo! But I did tell the kids no more plushies. We have so many. But we’ll love those that we have, and we’ll love the people and puppies (and two bunnies that have been kicked out onto the balcony) that live in our house. Again I’m not sure how it happened that we found so much more square footage in the house we already have, and more things that we already owned, yet very little went to landfill and a few boxes to Goodwill. But it all magically happened because my little brother gave us a hand-me-down leather chair.
In fact, I found some old pictures of my little brother who I love very much. I’m going to put it in one of those photo Chirstmas ornaments. He belongs in our house too.