So stuff is being moved out of our house in 16 days. That is in the TEENS people! But if you walked into my house right now you would not be able to tell we were moving. That is, unless you go in the garage. If you have ever seen the Friends episode where super clean and organized Monica has a secret messy closet, then you understand where I am going with this (people who know me know that I relate everything back to a Friends episode). The garage is my secret messy closet; the pit of despair; the dark abyss of castle Eishen. Every time I walk out there I want to begin gnawing on my nails. You know, I drive by other people’s homes with their garage doors up and am AMAZED how little there is in them. How does this happen? If you are one of those lucky ones, give me your secrets. I’ll pay you for them.
One thing I’ve found as I’ve gotten older is how little clutter I can take. It’s bad. I have a serious problem. And I think moving every few years has made it worse. I’ve been out in the garage tossing stuff left and right, north and south, up and down. But even with all of the sorting, I still find it hard to believe that it all will be boxed up and put on various trucks in the near future. It’s freaking me out.
Since I’ve been off work I’ve been trying hard to make this move as organized as possible. When we moved to Japan all of our stuff was just thrown in random boxes with no rhyme or reason. The same was done to our storage shipment, so when we returned to the states and my garage was full of stuff I hadn’t seen in four years, I almost began to hyperventilate. Seriously. Just look:
That is like an organized persons worst nightmare (it doesn’t look that different today, in all honesty!). But this time around I have been given the gift of time, so I have been busy taking advantage.
Now I may not keep every meaningless trinket, but I do keep cards, letters, and notes. I have kept every single letter and card my husband and I exchanged from when we began dating up until the present. We began dating when I was 15 and I am now 30, so that is 15 years worth of notes. I had them in boxes still folded up in their clever folds. You guys remember those? Do the hellions today still do this? Ah, the days before texting. I am now officially one of the “in the good ‘ol days” folk. Sigh.
I’m talking hundreds and hundreds of notes in random order. So what did this genius decide to do? Read through every single one, put them in order, and stick them in binders. OH MY GOSH, I am literally going insane. To all of you kids out there who still keep your notes, FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, put the friggin’ dates on them. I so wish I had taken a picture of my living room as I was doing this. I had piles sorted by person, year, month. It was ridiculous. Two 3-inch binders later I had them all organized (all but about 50; some I found later in other boxes and refused to go and sort them…lol). Look how pretty! (I’ve edited out hubs’s name…)
After doing that I went on to organize the cards and notes from family and friends. I have a binder for old notes my friends and I passed in high school (Oh my gaw, if I need a laugh all I need to do is crack open this binder and sniff the nerdom), cards/notes from my parents and sister, one to/from my husband, and one to/from my kids. My friend is going to kill me, but this is one of the many blast from the past notes I found. It’s like high school threw up on a piece of paper:
Now with all of that out of the way I decided to go through our photos. For all of you youngins out there, photos used to be taken from a camera you had to wind up. You had to touch something called film, insert it, go get it developed at a store, then sit in anticipation to see the pictures you took, hoping they all turned out okay (gasp…no preview mode?!). Well, all of those pictures I took in junior high, high school and college, plus all of those portraits our parents bought a bagillion copies of had been kept in various kinds of containers taking up space in my house. I had photo boxes, big albums, small albums, mini albums, all with fancy designs on them from leopard print to fuchsia paisleys. At one time that didn’t bother me, but like I said, my organizational mind keeps intensifying by the hour. If the containers don’t match, FORGET IT.
So, I went on Amazon and found this handy little container which holds 1200 photos. Sturdy, compact and perfect for an overseas move.
These photos are priceless to me! I don’t have digital copies of them, so I want to make sure they stay around for awhile. I have so many goodies I could post, but to respect the dignity of my friends, I shall refrain. But I have no problem violating my own dignity, so here you go:
So anyway I went to work and took over the dining room table to sort and organize the photos by date.
Now a container like this only holds 4×6 photos, so I had to find some other options for the larger ones. I found these white scrapbook paper storage boxes that were big enough for the larger pictures we took in high school. I liked them so much that I bought a few of them: one for our wedding stuff (my shoes, scrap fabric from the bridesmaid dresses, our invitation, program, bridal shower stuff, etc.), one for my keepsakes, and one for my husband’s keepsakes.
I broke it down even more and organized the larger photos/portraits into our family photos, extended family photos, older photos, etc. I used these see through document portfolios I found at Staples to divide them up. They worked perfectly!
So, there you have it. I have officially lost my mind. After this I went on to sort my kid’s LEGOS by color. I need a drink.
Btw, I am not affiliated with any of these products; they just really did help me out!