"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to BLOOM…This is the Element of Freedom"

-Alicia Keys

20 January 2010

I lost 31 pounds this weekend!

{photo from here}

No, it is not what you are thinking. As you know, I am in the process of cleaning out & organizing our 3rd bedroom. It was always designated as "The Craft Room" but after we moved and got married and went on our honeymoon, things were just sort of placed in there. So, it sort of became the catch-all room, with no systems or storage. I had tried to organize, but when you spend only an hour or so in there, never to return until the next time you get a chance, nothing really ever gets done.

A couple of weeks ago, my very good friend Ale ("Alley") came over to visit. We have been friends since we were in high school & have had fun together no matter what we are doing. She understands me really well & can give me the truth without hurting my feelings...and I really needed that this time around! She came over to help me come up with a plan to get the room to be what I want & need it to be. Ale is currently living in New York City and is in the process of starting up her own organizing company. She helped me draft up a plan & come up with some ideas of what to do, so that I could do it when she was back in NYC. The beauty of the whole thing is that this allowed me to do it on my own, while having a plan that helped guide the process along. I needed to do it on my own in order to gain the confidence that I am good at organizing my things & that I am totally capable of setting up systems that will help keep things running smoothly. She called me the night before I started to see what I was planning on doing the next day & also during the following days of organizing.

I started by taking (almost) every single thing out of the room and putting each box, bag or item in a designated spot: all desk/paper/correspondence/bills in one area, all crafting stuff in another, etc. I was shocked and a little embarrassed at the amount of stuff that came out of that little room! Bit by bit, pile by pile and bag by bag (I have inherited my grandmother's ability to organize by putting things into cute bags, only I leave them in the bags "to put away later" and later never seems to happen often enough!). Last night, as I was surveying my progress, I decided to weigh the bags that I have filled with paper: 2 to be recycled & 1 for shredding. All together, they weighed 31 pounds. THIRTY-ONE POUNDS OF PAPER. I know that admitting this is making me seem like a hoarder or something, but I am not. Really. Hoarders see nothing wrong with what is surrounding them & I saw everything that was wrong. I just didn't have a system to keep me in check and I didn't have one place to put paper related items. It was just stuff that had accumulated, but now it is gone & it feels so good. I literally feel lighter. I know that all of you neat-nicks out there are thinking "how did she accumulate that much stuff?" I think it some of it was me trying to do too many things, not having one place to take care of paper-related things, not maintaining so things don't get out of hand, etc. I took a NO MERCY position and feel so much better. I am proud of myself in a way that I have never been before. It was a huge job & I did it on my own & on my own terms & that feels fucking amazing.

P.S. After reading this post on Small Notebook For a Simple Home blog, I feel much better knowing that I am not the only one out there who struggles with the paper monster!


  1. I love that feeling of getting rid of stuff you don't need weighing you down. Good job girl! Keep it up!

  2. I resemble this remark.
    Thankfully, we have a shredder/recycle bin at work. Perhaps it's crossing a line, but I bring all of my to be shredded/recycled in. That has cured me of the beast.
    However, now I can't find my house insurance paperwork.


  3. You are NOT alone. I am in a constant battle with the dreaded paper beast. It's never ending, but every victory sets us up for future successes.

  4. I too am a victim of the paper monster. It's awful, especially because I believe, however falsely, that I am really organized.

    And, by the way, I saw an episode of HOARDERS last week; you are definitely not one of them. This one lady was not able to defecate in her own toilet for TWO YEARS. You're definitely, definitely, not a hoarder. :)


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