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Monday, January 14, 2013

Out With the Old...

The Book Room



2013.  A new year.  A clean slate.  Twelve months of untapped opportunity.  What should I do with all that opportunity?  One leisurely stroll through my house was all it took to bring the answer home loud and clear.






The Bookcase

All the experts say, "get rid of the clutter."  Um, I did.  At least, I thought I did.  (I gave away lots of books last year.  Obviously, they sneaked back in when I wasn't looking.) For instance, take my book room.  Last year, I bought sturdy storage containers, alphabetized all my books and stored them in the book room (formerly the second guest bedroom) where I could find any book at any time.  Because they're alphabetized.  And contained.  Right?   It worked!  For about a month.  Until I needed a few of the contained books and "forgot" to re-contain them when I was finished.  Repeat that a few times (a month) for the next twelve months and guess what?  I have clutter.  Add to that all the new books that arrived throughout the year and, oh yeah, we have major clutter!  And what happens when I have major clutter?  I can't find anything!!!  Sorry.  Got a little emotional there. :-)

The Book Armoire - 3 rows deep




I've decided that this year will be the year I get rid of clutter once and for all.  New opportunities.  I've already begun.  Last weekend I started on the bedroom closets.  I finished one of them.  Only four more to go.  I already have the makings of a really good yard sale.  Yesterday, I started on the paper.  (something else that seems to multiply while I sleep.)  I shredded six bags of paper and made a few interesting discoveries.  One of them was an Amazon gift card with $50 (yes, that's FIFTY DOLLARS) on it!  Obviously, I need to shred more often. ;-)











This time around, I've decided to approach the "get my life in order" project in a more methodical way.  I'm taking one room at a time and not working in any other area until that room is finished.  (I'm easily distrac...CHOCOLATE!)  I've also resolved to ask myself the tough questions (If I haven't worn this outfit since 1987, do I really need it?) and listen to the answers.  (No, I don't really need it.  Off to Goodwill it goes!)


A clean, clutter-free house is a serene house.  Serenity.  Such a lovely word.  I could use some serenity in my life.  I'm naturally a positive, upbeat person but over the past year, stress has taken a toll.  That's about to change.  Cutting back on my work hours was project number one.  Allowing management to nudge my hours up and up until I was routinely working 35 hours a week (on my feet) instead of the 20 hours I had originally requested was taking a major toll on my physical health.  I've cut back on my hours, am making healthy food choices (instead of grab and go), gradually strengthening my knee until I'm able to begin a full exercise regimen again and (this one's important) spending more time with friends.




My ultimate goals?  To create a better me:  healthy, happy, serene.  To create a clean, clutter-free environment in which I can thrive.  To become better organized so I don't find myself facing this same dilemma next year.  And lastly, to give away books.  Lots and lots and lots of books!

What are you hoping to accomplish this year?  Have you set goals?  Do you struggle with clutter as I do?  Any tips for controlling the beast?  Want some books?  Leave a comment on today's blog and you'll have a chance to win a box of books from my "banish clutter" stash.  I'm giving away five boxes!  (US addresses only)

Pssst...Don't worry if you're not one of today's lucky winners.  There's still a lot more de-cluttering to be done!  :)

~PJ

64 comments:

  1. I'm a pack rat when it comes to clothes. I have a hard time throwing it away even though it's stuff I know I won't ever wear. I'm hoping to save a little more money this year. Thanks for sharing your stash with us.

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    1. I did a major clothing purge a few years ago but it's time for another one. I tend to form a sentimental attachment to my clothes. ;-)

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  2. I have set a couple of goals, nothing too hard to accomplish. They are to continue my weight loss and exercise so I can reach my goal weight. And to read at least as many books this year as I did last year (80). I do struggle with clutter, and my solution to too many books is to keep buying more bookshelves. :D I'm just about to buy a media shelving unit so I can free up another book shelf for books instead of CD's and DVD's. Luckily I have a pretty decent sized house, so there's room for my obsession.

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    1. Congrats on your continuing weight loss and journey to a healthier you!

      I do struggle with clutter, and my solution to too many books is to keep buying more bookshelves. :D

      LOL! Love your solution!

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  3. When you're done at your houser can you come to mine? Pack rat of the firstrder over here.

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    1. I struggle with the pack rat gene. Determined to win!

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  4. I do struggle with clutter but I figure I am going to clear out drawers shelves one at a time so that it doesn't seem too big of a job. Every year for a while I have made this one of my goals and I have gotten a lot of stuff out but then as the year goes on I don't keep clearing out.

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    1. I am going to clear out drawers shelves one at a time so that it doesn't seem too big of a job.

      That's what I'm determined to do this time. Not quite as scary that way. ;-)

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  5. With the volume of excellent books that come out every month, I've had to go through my keepers and really limit my keepers to only the ones that struck a chord with my heart. It was very difficult! I love my books.

    I'm definitely going to tackle my clothes next and then the numerous items my children left behind when they moved on to college.

    I always find room for my book obsession!

    GOOD LUCK!

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    1. Books are the hardest for me to turn loose but I'm determined. On the positive side, it makes me feel good to know they are going to good homes with readers who will enjoy them! :)

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  6. Glad you decided to clean up. Thanks for the giveaways. I have started cleaning up our basement. So much junk - garbage - and stuff we really don't need, hard convincing my husband of that. And Some of that junk people actually took from the curb.

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    1. I don't have a basement but I'm leaving my garage for last. It's a scary place out there!

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  7. I feel like I fight clutter all the time. I've weeded through the old 2012 paperwork and now I need to weed out my closet. However, there is a book calling me. There's always a book calling me....

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    1. There's always a book calling me....

      LOL! That's a problem I think we can all relate to!

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  8. PJ, I forgot to tell you that there is always room in my house for books. Books are not clutter. Books are treasures. I would be delighted to give your "book clutter" a good home! :-)

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  9. Both of my kids are now out of the house. I need to clean out their closets of things they've left behind, although it will be a bit sad to do so. :( My bookshelves are packed, but not in a cluttered way since my new resolution is to donate them to the library as soon as I'm finished reading them. I do however have some "keepers" on their own shelf. I now have room for a box of books if you feel like sending them to me!!

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    1. I think giving away those items with sentimental value is one of the hardest things to do. I keep telling myself, "You haven't used it in two years. You don't need it!"

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  10. I am always trying to fight clutter in my children's bedrooms. My oldest child hates throwing things away. My husband would say that I may have a problem with my books. I think he is crazy. I have books all over, but I always did. Even growing up, my mom read and she always had one or two books laying around. I mean, I may have more than a few books here and there in my...um...yeah, I have books all over. I love them. I love that my children can see how much I enjoy to read and that I have many different kinds of books that I favor. So, while I hate having clothes that don't fit and papers that are way too old, I can't seem to want to declutter all of my book piles, shelves, and every place else I put them.

    Thank you for this giveaway. The thought of winning a box of books makes me want to do the happy dance!!

    Julie K
    kornhsl@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Julie! Books are so hard to weed out. They're my friends!

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  11. Hi, I understand that I cannot win any books, but I wanted to share this. I love books and as a hobby, I also do Arts and crafts. Can you imagine all the stuff I keep. I have approx the same space to store my books, as shown in the photos, and sometimes I have to them away and it's hard for me to let go. I know they are just books...My grand-daughter, who is 21 and loves to read, gets all my books or other stuff I think she would love to have. I live in Quebec, Canada, not too far away!

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    1. Hi Nicole!

      I know how you feel. Yes, they are just books but they bring us so much enjoyment and, in many of the books, the characters become like friends. At least they do to me. Makes me feel like I'm giving away members of my family. ;-)

      Thanks for stopping by today!

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  12. It's funny you wrote this today, because last night as I was trying to go to sleep I thought to myself I can do one room a day and I would have it all done in no time. Now lets see if I stick with it! A box full of books sounds amazing!!!

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    1. Hi Mary!

      That's where I've always failed in the past. I look at the entire house and get overwhelmed. I'm hoping that by taking it one room at a time (or in some cases, one shelf at a time) that I'll stick with it.

      Good luck with your de-cluttering!

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  13. I can always make room for books. But I hate clutter and cleaned out my basement years ago. I don't keep a lot of knicknacks around.

    Glad you feel the need to clean out those books and maybe I will be lucky.

    Patty B Coral

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    1. Ahhh....knicknacks! I hate dusting those things! Got rid of most of them a few years ago but people keep giving me new ones! lol

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  14. I do a book purge every few months and give books to the library or send them to friends, and still the books multiply. But book clutter is not as big a problem for me now as it was before I had an ereader. There are still some books I want in print, but more and more often, my purchases and the review copies I receive are electronic. Of course, I still have more than a thousand keepers on shelves and at least that many more in a storage unit. But gradually I am replacing tattered keeper copies with e-versions too. I do however desperately need one of the shredding days you mentioned. I could probably fill several trash bags with old lesson plans and lecture notes.

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    1. The e-readers have helped, haven't they, Janga? While I (obviously) have plenty of book clutter, it hasn't multiplied as quickly in the past year as in years before and that's due to the increase of digital books.

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  15. To better reorganize my books. Lol. Get a full time job

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  16. Why yes I would LOVE some books <3!

    Now on to what I plan to accomplish this year...
    I want to lose some weight and start eating healthier (I'm eating a bar of chocolate as I type this...)

    I too want to get all the "extra" stuff out of my house. I did do my bed room and my spare bedroom/book room. I managed to depart with 2 books both going to my sister. Just in case I change my mind I can take them back ;) And I donated some of of my hubby's clothing his favorite holey jeans may have accidentally been in that donation pile. just kidding... it wasn't an accident I did it on purpose :D

    My youngest Quinn just turn 2 so I really want him to be potty trained soon. And my oldest Brandon starts kindergarten later this year so I really want to help him with his letters and number. These will most likely be the only 2 things I accomplish this year!

    lol oh wait I may accomplish one more! We have a very naughty puppy who seems to think chewing things is a hobby so this year I plan to break him of this habit! He took it to far a few weeks ago and chewed a corner of one of my books! His name is Rufus, beware ladies he is a book eater! A cute book eater but a book eater non the less.

    Thanks for the great post! I feel better knowing I"m not the only one who has issues putting her books away!

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    1. You're going to have a busy year, Savannah! I've never potty trained a child but I've trained more than my share of puppies. Thankfully, they've never chewed on my books though they've chewed on pretty much everything else! lol!

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  17. My desire for change has slowly surfaced in the couple months before 2013 began. I looked around, similar to you PJ, and realized that I'm at the point in my life that change should be affected. I'm past the frantic-frazzled-mom-of-super-young-tots age. My kids are school-aged and I'm fast approaching the "me time" portion of my life. You know, the time I'll have for all the things I've bemoaned in previous years' "resolutions"...organization, time management, gourmet cooking/baking, WEIGHTLOSS, reading for pleasure, writing for sanity (and renewed imagination). I feel empowered and light-hearted just typing this message--a breathless, yearning for what's to come. :-)
    My next 6 months will be a launchpad for new behaviors that lead me to this 'new year, new me' state. The following 6 months (God willing) will be my attempt to solidify and succeed in those new behaviors. I am sure it will be a 'chore', but only in the beginning, the midst of growing pains (or shrinking pains-in terms of a healthier me). It will not just be a year of "more time spent with my family" but a battle to instill in my children, husband, and self the importance of making moments count and memories that will last longer than a book, video game, or grade on a report card.
    This year is MY year; myself, my family, my world...is changing and evolving.

    <3 your blogs Romance Dish (et al)
    Chrissy

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    1. Oh, Chrissy. You have so many wonderful opportunities just waiting for you to find them. I applaud you for taking this step and wish you much success and happiness on your journey!

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  18. PJ!

    OMG! I am doing the same thing you're doing, however, last year was the full year I owned Kindle, so book clutter is not one of my problems [although there's a few I've already dedicated to give away at b2b and those are doubles of what I have already].

    I have three closets and one is all done, but the other two are gonna be a pain in the but because one's my DH's [who still owns Armani & Versace suits when he was in his 20's & his waistline was 29!]and another our 'paper' closet from hell in which we have documents from years and years ago, and neither of us is willing to dig through that one! It's like a Bermuda triangle! We're afraid if we go in, we'll never come out of it!

    Good luck finding your Serenity...and when you do, please share the way to it....LOL!

    Hugs!


    Mel

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    1. Have to laugh at your "paper closet from hell," Mel. Believe me, I'm intimately familiar with the term! lol!

      Good luck with all the closets. Be sure to tell someone when you're ready to go in. We don't want to lose you! :)

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  19. I definitely struggle with clutter. I admire the progress you've made with your bookcase. I need to do something similar. This year, I also want to address the pile of normal (non-keeper) books I read--give them to friends, donate them to the library, sell them, etc.--so I don't have so many hanging around the house. I also want to do a better job of working on my TBR list, whittling it down and not adding to it so much!

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    1. I used to have a tbr stack, then a tbr mountain. Nowadays, it's more accurately described as a tbr mountain range! :-)

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  20. I want to lose weight and get more physically fit. I also want to organize all my "stuff", in particular my closet, kitchen pantry, and those piles of mail, catalogs, newspapers, etc. that clutter up my kitchen counter! I am just not sure where to start! LOL!!!

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    1. Cheryl, my advice (based on past failures) is to pick one of those items - just one - and ignore the others until the first one is done. Good luck!

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  21. I finally figured out how to make a resolution that I could probably keep - make it one that is easy lol. Less computer and more reading :) So far I've been doing it and loving every minute. As to clutter, I admit I am a pack rat and it doesn't bother me one bit (it only bothers other people lol). I still like to be surrounded by books but just wish I had a larger house lol. The one thing I asked for Christmas was more shelves so let's see if my husband follows through!!!

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    1. I finally figured out how to make a resolution that I could probably keep - make it one that is easy lol.

      LOL! That does help, doesn't it? ;-)

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  23. My resolutions for this year include losing a lot of weight, cleaning out our basement, garage, and junk bedroom. My husband has cancer, so I have to work around his many doctor appointments.

    Thanks so much for your very generous giveaway, PJ! I love the idea of receiving a beautiful, nice, full box of books. After all, there is always room for more books.

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    1. Prayers for your husband, Cathy. And (((((hugs))))) for you.

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  24. Not much need to clean up here. Thanks for giveaway.

    Natalies Mama

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    1. Not much need to clean up here.

      You're one of the lucky ones! :)

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  25. You are doing a great job, decluttering and health wise too. I am always getting rid of items from closets and the garage. I will continue to do that this year.

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    1. Thanks for the pat on the back, traveler. It helps! :)

      Good for you for not letting the clutter get ahead of you.

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  26. I love to organize. Somehow tons of junk made it into the new house when we moved this summer so we are spending the winter working on the basement and I am going to spend next spring working on the garage. They will be defeated!! I find it easy to get overwhelmed with all of the kids' school papers. So I have one plastic tote each for Asher, Levi, and Josie. I dump every single paper they bring home into the tote. Then at the end of the year I go through and sort out my favorites and put them into a separate bin that I am keeping everything from preschool on up. That way I don't stress about what to keep or not keep all year and I only keep a few select pieces.

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  27. Starting to put clothes in bags for goodwill or anyone that calls to pick up last time forgo t to put it out what an idiot I am also going thru old books to give to a friend

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  28. Your post was encouraging and great. Getting rid of things is what I will be doing. Too much and totally unnecessary. Best wishes for your health and less stress. Many thanks for this giveaway.

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  29. Yes, I was there too....we moved with two young children about 5 times in 12 years and with that came much purging...MUCH...and frankly,I was glad to do it.
    Now, I have been in one place for about 7 years but have a difficult time keeping things. I throw out or donate often.

    Sometimes to me regret....but never, ever books. Yes, my daughter and I have many but they are such enjoyment to us!

    I think my thing this year is I want to develope more than purge....

    Hope

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  30. Thanks for the great post and good luck!!!! Ummm... don't hate me, but I don't struggle that much with clutter. I hate clutter and I'm constantly picking up, rearranging, decluttering. Drives my BF mad but he's learned to deal. However... my books do tend to get spread out. But again, I try and organize at least a few times a month.

    Some of my goals for this year are to: read, read, read! My TBR mountain range needs to be reduced. Say no guilt free and more often. and work less!

    Thanks for the fun giveaway!

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  31. I need to de-clutter also. I need to go through my books also. I also need to do the same thing with my desk. I also need to de-clutter my kids toys.
    Thanks for the chance to win.
    Christinebails@yahoo.com

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  32. You are an inspiration... in the past 4 years, I've not worked, except for overseeing the care of my mom and great aunt. We convinced my mom she could 'let go' of all those lovely size 12 white blouses from her working days... in the 80's.. She was 86 and had shrunk down a number sizes. Lots of stuff to Goodwill and clothing shop for women returning to the workforce. Sadly, they both passed away and I've since cleaned out 2 homes and worked with lawyers on both estates. Let's just say that the paper clutter is slightly overwhelming from those projects. I did burn up one home shredder..

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  33. I have trouble with clutter. I have stacks of magazines that needs to be read. I have piles of books to get to. But I won't give them away until I've read them. Also, I have the tendency to let important papers and receipts pile up. About every other month, I will take the time to file the papers. I will grab a few magazines and skim through them. I've pledge to cut back considerably on magazine subscriptions. Books will always be in my home. Once in a blue moon, I will scan my books and decide which ones to donate. I need a library room. :)

    bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

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  34. I have found myself wanting to do the same to my house....badly! Finding the time is driving me crazy. I've been taking a lot of double split shifts and then on the days I'm only working one, I find myself spending hours online just trying to get through the emails from not being online the day before. I may just take a few days and begin. I know that once I do, it will drive me to complete it. I have an entire bedroom and closet upstairs that I need to go through so my daughter can take her belongings that are still here into her new house. She got married last May and they are closing on a house next month. I just may have my own book room once I complete that task. :)

    Asking if I want books.... That's like asking if I want to breathe, LOL! Thank you for the chance at one of the boxes!

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  35. Last year I finished having the major projects done that I had to get others to do (that required tools & skills to lay tile and some carpentry & electrical work). So now I have to - find some new drapes (really hard to find pinch-pleat drapes for use on traverse rods!), refurbish a piece of my grandparents furniture for the newly redone vestibule (even bought myself a small orbital sander). I have to work on organizing (once again) my boxes of books. I bought two more small bookcases that I have to put together. I also want to go thru all my clothes - I know there is a lot I could weed out. Then in the spring I have projects to do outside - build a base for my new fir pit, demolish the old chicken coop shed that got smashed by several falling trees (thanks hurricane sandy!). And somehow I have to fit in reading time to keep myself sane & happy.

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  36. Last summer, we remodeled the main bathroom. Our biggest project for this year is to get my MIL to move up here to Iowa from Texas. She is being very stubborn. (I know it would be hard after being in TX for the last 40 years, but WE'RE here, hehe, as well as 2 of ther brothers.)

    I am not a hoarder, but do have stuff I don't need. I hate to pitch and I hate to have garage sales, so it stays in the basement until I can't stand it, and then really do pitch it. Then, of course, regret throwing stuff away months later. My daughter was in the mood to organize and bagged up all of her clothes and shoes that are in decent condition and don't fit any longer and we will take them to Goodwill this weekend.

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  37. This year I'm going to "clean" my bookcases up and get them organized! Right now I have bookcases in 3 different rooms so I'm going to organize them my genre and alphabetically and have different genres in different rooms!

    Unfortunately for my husband that way I'll be able to choose which book I want to read next in less time and his 2 bookcases will just have to wait until NEXT year to be organized!

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  38. Just moved so. Likeorganizing, nw my closet and books, whoo, great prze thanks
    Kimh

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  39. I'm like you and want to declutter my house and get rid of the junk!! I also want to get my books organized where I can find them and know what i have. Wish me luck!!

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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  40. I have been fighting the clutter beast for way too long. We were in the military. I was really good at "unload the moving van and be set up in a week or so." That changed when we retired and bought an 1898 victorian farm house that needed to be gutted and redone. We have been working on it for way too many years. The first 5 to 10, we played musical rooms. Gut a room, wire-insulate-sheetrock-paint-and-finish and move on to the next after moving everything around. I got used to having piles of boxes and things all over the place. In addition we added the entire contents of my aunt's 3 bedroom house plus my mother-in-law's 3 bedroom house contents (the family antiques). There was also half of my boss's belongings when she retired and moved plus all my stuff from my job as a children's librarian when I lost my job. I have sent out truck loads of furniture, household goods, clothing, books, you name it to several charities I work with. There is still more to go. We live way out in the country in a bad spot for a yard sale, so I would have to drag it to one. I am working on it, but when I start in one spot/room, it always seems that something in a different room needs to happen first.

    However, this WILL be the year I reclaim my house. (At least that is what my husband has informed me.) I am more motivated than ever, so maybe now it will happen.

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