You Have More Room Than You Think

I just had the most fun weekend.  What did I do?  I organized, of course!

In the process of organizing, I made some interesting discoveries that I wanted to share with you.

My husband and I had decided to get rid of a large piece of furniture that sits in our living room.  I call it a china closet.  It has glass doors and, with the flick of a switch, it lights up inside.  For years, it held our vases and fancier serving dishes, most of which we never used.  A few years ago, we converted the top three shelves into an archive for our family photo albums.  We consolidated the serving dishes into the bottom two shelves, making room for a half-shelf of vases in our upper kitchen cabinet, and donating the rest of the stuff.

Our Empty China Closet

At that time, I was very impressed that we managed to reduce five shelves of fairly useless stuff into only two and half shelves!  Now it was time for another transformation.  In order to completely eliminate the china closet, the plan was for the photo albums to move onto our built-in bookshelves, and for the serving dishes to relocate to the kitchen.  But would there be room?

The first step was to cull through the books to make room for the albums.  We purge our books regularly, so we wondered if we could possible find more that we were willing to part with.  Surprisingly, we came up with a lot of books we could let go of.  In my case, I asked myself when was the last time I had looked at this book.  If the answer was “not in the last two years”, then out it went.   There were a few sentimental favorites — but only a few.  Removing and relocating books also offered the opportunity to scrub those shelves and to dust off the tops of the books.  We’ll breathe a lot better now!

We finished the photo album relocation project on Saturday morning.  On Sunday morning, it was time for the serving dishes.   The first step was to take them all out of the china closet and review them.  There were only a couple of items that I was willing to let go, since we were already down to the absolute favorites.

Next I turned my attention to the kitchen cabinets, since that’s where these items would be stored.  The highest and lowest shelves in the kitchen usually hold the stuff we hardly use, as the more frequently used items make their way to the more accessible shelves.  So I got up on the step stool and went to the top shelf.  Not surprisingly, most of the contents are now in the give-away pile.

In the bottom cabinets, I found more things to eliminate.  I also discovered that we were not using those cabinets very efficiently.  With a little bit of work, I found easy homes for the rest of the serving dishes.  While I was at it, I also took the opportunity to scrub the shelves as I emptied each cabinet.

The china closet is now emptied and waiting to be donated, along with some bags of books and some kitchen gear.

What are we to conclude from this exercise of mine?  (Other than that I must be a wacko to have found this fun?)

  • We may think that we use everything own, but a careful examination will show that there is always stuff that can be given away.
  • We think our cabinets and closets are full, but there is probably more room left because we are not always using the space efficiently.
  • Rearranging your storage spaces every now and then gives you the opportunity to clean them properly.

I’m very excited that we are about to get more open space in our living room by eliminating this large piece of furniture.   I am very happy that several bags of unused items will be making their way into the hands of people who want them.  And I can’t wait to tackle my next organizing project!

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