My Mammoth Bookcase and Dresser Declutter Mission ~ By Moni Gilbert

Meet my bookcase. It looks messy and cluttered – hardly the poster piece for 365 Less Things but this is the “before” photo.. There isn’t an “after” photo. Not yet anyway. It is pretty obvious that I have quite a bit of work ahead of me as my goal is to have it eliminated by December.

The Bookcase

The next photo is a Balinese dresser that lives in our main lounge and it houses our DVD collection – all 150+ of them. My hubby would like the dresser out of the lounge so his beloved big screen can be centred along the wall. To do so means reducing and rehousing our DVDs before selling this dresser. Ideally this also needs to be done by December, in time for holiday guests.

But here’s the thing, both these projects are a little more tricky than they appear on the surface. The bookcase is the last of three identical ones we had in the house and has become a holding pen for not just the last of the books, but also cd’s, video cassettes, camcorder cassettes, photos all needing to be digitised, data disks to be sorted thru, reference books etc. So this isn’t a case of just donating books and selling a bookcase because sitting on these shelves are projects within projects that each must be done carefully. At this stage I don’t have a master plan and I’ve never not owned a bookcase so I’m not sure entirely how this is going to turn out.

The Dresser

The DVD’s are a whole different can of worms. Housed neatly within the dresser, my family have assumed that the DVD’s have escaped my notice. They have taken everything else in their stride – wardrobes rifled through, underneath their beds examined, sorted through boxes together, helped me cart loads off to goodwill, etc – but if they notice me looking through the DVD cupboard they go on high alert placing me under surveillance until I leave the room again. I suspect they would cheerfully commit mutiny if The Lion King ever disappears.

So why am I writing about this? Well, these are the last two major decluttering projects on my list that have yet to be started. Now I’m not saying my home is clutter free, definately not ~ there are other areas which are still works in progress but have reached an acceptable level and I’m happy to keep chipping away at them in the background. The difference is that this bookcase and this dvd cabinet are the last completely untouched territories in my home.

The bookcase stands out like a sore thumb in the small lounge off my kitchen as we have decluttered the rest of this room. We have cleared all the excess off my computer desk, streamlined the drawers contents, eliminated a filing cabinet plus the student desk the kids used as a dumping spot. The DVD cupboard isn’t such an eyesore but I’m sure we don’t need 150 DVDs and one less piece of furniture to dust sounds good to me.

So I have volunteered to 365 Less Things to undertake this mission right here for all of you to watch my progress each month, hold me to my deadline and to share the decisions and the dilemnas along the way.

So if you were me, where would you begin?

The Dress / Media Centre Space

The Weekend’s Mini Missions

Saturday – Kitchen gadgets ~ Moni had an amusing story about possibly decluttering a couple of these last week. My advice is that if you have gadgets that aren’t being use just get rid of them. Nine times out of ten the same task can be performed with a more versatile item in your house should you find the need.

Sunday – Gift wrapping supplies ~ one reader mentioned that they are decluttering the last of their gift wrapping supplies while another was saying how ~ due to 365 example ~ she was now only giving non-cluttering gifts to her friends and family. I had saved a token supply of gift bags when I decluttered the bulk of them two years ago. I have discovered the ones I saved don’t seem to have diminished since then so it is time to declutter them also.


Continue reading with these posts:

About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Begin with the CDs. Upload all the CDs to music files on the PC. Then donate them. If your family can handle it, have them look through and choose FIVE to keep each if they must.

    Also have them go through the DVDs and pick out any that they KNOW they will never watch again. I bet they don’t even know what’s in there.

    • Hi Kim – it has just gone 9am this morning Saturday NZ time and the starter’s gun has fired and I’m off and running! Well decluttering. Approx half of our music has previously been uploaded to iTunes around two years ago and so that is on the checklist to finish the job.
      I have been told that is ok to do that but legally from a copyright point of view you still have to keep the cd if (in the unlikely event) your computer is ever examined. I am looking into whether a photo showing previous ownership would cover bases. 🙂
      In the meantime my hubby feels we should hang onto them until we have a better back up system in place for pc. More research for me! Sadly he hasn’t come into the iPod age so I think that he is a little bit wary that he won’t be able to rock out to Def Leppard or Jon Bon Jovi anymore.

      So under CD’s lets add to the checklist:
      Finish uploading
      Research Copyright
      Back up system for pc
      Buy and educate hubby on iPod technology.

      • One thing you must realise is that technically if you upload the music and then donate the evidence that you had ever paid for that music then you, if caught, could be charged for pirating said music.

        What we did was upload the music, minimised the space the CDs took up by removing them from and discarding the cases and filing them in plastic sleeves in three small boxes which reside in a closet. The DVDs could be compressed in the same way as the CDs if your are careful about how you file and handle them because unlike the music you they will be handled.

        • Hi Colleen – yes copyright laws are tricky – and after we had the Kim Dot Com arrest, search warrant (bungled) and extradition hearing right here in NZ – we’re all taking it a little more seriously. You hear of searches happening in America but it was a little bit more closer to home when all the drama went down here.

        • We also got rid of the hard plastic cases from all of our cd’s and dvd’s. We purchased the storage sleeves and storage boxes from Case Logic (US) and have been very pleased with the results. We use the storage boxes rather than the storage notebooks because we feel that they are easier to use. Each box holds 80+ cd’s or dvd’s in the protective sleeves. We have never had a problem with damage or scratches or anything. They take up very little space this way.

          We are big music and movie fans, and have thousands of cd’s and dvd’s. We were told not to get rid of the original copy to protect ourselves. Also, our insurance will replace the original cd’s and dvd’s because we can show pictures of them in our home in their storage boxes (if something happens to them like theft or fire). We are out of luck for replacements if we do not keep the originals.

          • Hi Kathy – I have a friend who works in insurance, especially in the area of total loss – she agrees with you on this one, that only original copies would be covered as contents. If you had downloaded copies on a laptop and the laptop was stolen you would be able to re-download from iTune from your profile/account, however illegal copies would obviously not be covered.

        • This infuriates me, because if a CD gets broken, what do you do? Keep the broken bits to prove you owned it? Just so irritating…

          • I would just toss a broken cd or dvd and replace it with a new one if it was one I liked. Since I have a $5000 dollar deductible, there is no way I would bother reporting a broken cd to my insurance company. The time the paperwork alone would take would be more time than one cd is worth. However, if some one breaks into my home and steals my very organized collection I know that they will be replaced (including the extremely rare out of production ones).

          • I understand your pain Lynn but it is what it is. One of the Ted talks we heard in Tacoma when we were there in April mentioned how the music and movie industry complain about how they are continuously ripped off my people downloading free stuff. They provide statistics to emphasise the monetary loss but what they don’t tell you is that the industry itself is worth many many times what it used to be worth before downloading music and movies because possible. The easy access has increased their sales so much that the losses they do make to piracy is chicken feed in comparison.

      • If it were me, I would be happy to get rid of the CDs, but my husband is right with you. I can’t imagine why he thinks that the CD police will ever be at our house, but he insists that, legally, we must keep all our CDs. Thank goodness it’s a relatively small number, fewer than 100.

        • Hi Cindy – yes I have friends who decided to take the risk and sold off their cd collection, so far the cd police haven’t shown up. 🙂 My hubby thinks we should keep them for now until we have implemented a better backup system for our pc – ie if the computer dies we would be stuck.

          I tell my kids that they are fortunate to be growing up in the digital era.

  2. Some ideas regarding starting points. Is there anything on the bookshelf that you can make decisions about alone? Start there. Or is there anything that you know would be easy for someone else to let go off? Start there. Videos are another logical starting point as they are rarely watched anymore. I also like the idea of the family pulling out things they will never watch, listen to or look at again. You could even have them do an initial sort – declutter, definately keep and unsure. I’d also consider paying someone to digitize the photos after you remove all of the iffy ones. It looks like quite a project – good luck.

    • Hi Juhli – yes I have waaaaay less resistance about the bookcase than the dvd’s – I should have explained the videos a bit better, I started with two big boxes of video cassettes and I had to sit down and fast forward thru every single one as family videos were mixed in with videos recorded off tv – I need to convert to DVD and get the camcorder cassettes (off different sizes) also to DVD. Did I mention I’m not a technie sort of girl?

      I have one of the camcorders – I think it is in the picture somewhere – but the other one is missing. I have a dvd player which can play and record video to dvd and dvd to video but it will be a big task to read the manual. I might be able to hook one the camcorder up to the tv and record from there……but like I said…..I’m not a techie kind of girl!

      Oh and the photos – three years ago I had to put together a digital picture frame for grandparents (in a hurry) so I paid to have the negatives digitised BUT photos have surfaced which we don’t have the negatives for PLUS ones we were e-mailed which need to be incorporated into the file. Add to the mix, two years ago my external hardrive was damaged but fortunately we had a partial backup (rougly 3/4 of them) on my bro-in-law’s hard-drive and so I’m going to have to go back and check each photo off one by one.

      As you will have gathered, I’m quite particular about these projects and I want to be sure all our photo and video memories are 100% done and at the same generation of technology.

  3. Ideealistin :

    Hi Moni,
    the books and the dvds, are those family possessions or do they belong to your kids/husband individually?
    I’d tell them the dresser needs to be emptied and thus they are to take their stuff into their room. Everything that isn’t taken is yours to decide about. Would that work? If it is family possessions you could offer your kids that they can take all the dvds that they want but that they then have to take care of them/put them in their own room.
    Of course this doesn’t solve all problems but you could start on the rest that nobody cares about anyway and when everybody has to carry the dvds from their room to the lounge they will notice which ones get watched and which ones just gather dust, I think …

    • Hi Ideealistin – ownership of DVD’s is a bit of a mixed one – I’d rather they didn’t migrate to the bedrooms as we have done rather a lot of work getting their bedrooms sorted. As they don’t know my eye has turned to the DVDs (unless of course one of them read this post and in which case I’m sunk) so I’d like them to stay herded together.

      There is a drawer in the cabinet the tv sits on that could house the DVD’s we decide to keep but at the moment it is full of cables. I know, I know – get rid of the cables – that is the master plan but I made a deal with my hubby earlier this year that we would bag them individually and whatever hadn’t been used by the end of October would be freecycled out. Also as I have to organise transferring camcorder cassettes onto dvd, it is possible there might be a cable in there that I need.

      As I mentioned earlier – I’m not a technology girl so my IQ drops by half just looking at cables! Maybe I need to find an expert. And a psychologist!

      Jane has suggested using software to burn dvd’s to hard-drive so I might look at my options when I’ve got my head around it a bit better.

      • Ideealistin :

        Oh Moni,
        I totally get you on the cables. I am so uninterested in how tech stuff works, I just want it to work, have as little and simple as possible and as much and complicated as needed.
        I attacked the cables some time ago with the help of my boyfriend. I took the big box of cables I had and asked him piece by piece what it was, if we had an appliance that went with it, if we needed it, what it would cost to replace it in case we ever needed it. Thus we could eliminate about half of the cables and the rest (some of it now labeled if it belonged to a certain appliance) went back into the box in the attic. I still doubt we need all of what we kept but I am fine with the 50% reduction for now. Took about an hour and wasn’t that hard after all, BF could even lounge on the couch while I held things up and labelled them.

        • Hi Ideealistin – if you notice in the picture a cable running in front of the bookcase, I went and bought it the other day as we’d moved around the tv in the smaller lounge and we had problems with the aerial jackpoint when we plugged it back in, so the quick fix was to buy an extender to plug it back in to the original aerial jackpoint. It didn’t occur to me to look in the drawer of cables if we had one already. That should tell me something. I might have a quick cull in there tomorrow.

          The last year or so as anything new with cables came in I label it for example “Moni’s Camera” and then wrap clear cellotape around it so it won’t fall off. This has been handy with camera cables especially which are particular to that thing. We have 3 digital cameras in the house and all by the same brand and all have different usb cables, so its been handy.

        • The Other Lynn :

          I use the tabs that keep bread bags closed to label my cords. They are folded into an empty TP roll, and it’s labelled and put in a spice rack holder my 4 year-old son made for a do-it-yourself project. Now, they are in one place in my desk, easily identified, and can be removed easily. Of course, then there are the three other places in the house with cables stored, but I won’t talk about those!

          • Hi Lynn – when you say tabs – what do they look like? Here our bread bag is held closed by a square plastic disk thingee with a notch that sort of closes around the plastic. Bread from a bakery has this tape that folds back on itself – is that what you mean? Or a twisty tie?

            I did try doing a double length label that folded back on itself but they tore off pretty quickly. I figured out that I would need to buy heavy duty label cassettes for the label maker as I was using ones suitable for on paper and plastic.

          • The Other Lynn :

            I am referring to the square tab thingys. Here’s a website that shows it. http://storageandglee.blogspot.com/2011/05/bread-ties-cord-labels.html

          • Hi Lynn – I get it now! That’s a great idea!

          • Grace from Brazil :

            The other Lynn, I LOVE that website. I have looking at many other suggestions they have. The cord holder on the side of the desk with one of those simple clips is great since mine area always falling to the floor. (It was at the bottom of the page with your bread bag clips, March 23)

  4. Having a CD and DVD collection doesn’t have to be so space-consuming, overwhelming and tricky. I have hundreds of CDs and a number of DVDs. The space they took up was overwhelming. I decided to take out the disks and the CD/DVD art (booklets/slipsleeves) and get rid the plastic casings. I tried to donate these cases to the library, but they said they had too many as it was. No one on Craigslist seemed to want them either, so I just discarded them. Just getting rid of the plastic cases made a HUGE difference!

    I bought white CD sleeves at Walmart(http://rogerdvd.com/images/paper-cd-sleeve%5B1%5D.jpg) and three black media boxes on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001B0APOO/ref=pe_175190_21431760_C1_cs_sce_dp_1). I also got dividers so that the disks could be alphabetized. I find myself enjoying these disks more now that I am able to access them more easily with this organization system.

    I will probably get rid of most of the DVD and CD art, with the exception of a few special ones. I have also almost wrapped up the my project of uploading all my music to my computer, so I may get rid of many CDs. I know someone who is more minimalist than I am would consider my library to still be excessive, but it doesn’t take much room and I do get good use out of it all, so I’m happy.

    As for VHS, it would be best to convert the content to DVD since the tapes wear over time. The cost can get quite pricey if you seek out a business to do this for you (usually $10 a tape), so it might be worth investing in VHS-to-DVD software if you have enough tapes to justify the cost (around $60). This advice would apply to things like home movies, because there would be no point in putting this effort into converting cinema movies as they would be easier to just purchase an already-released DVD version.

    • I forgot to mention that a lot of my disks were in large CD binders and in alphabetical order at one point, but it was a pain to reorganize after getting new items or getting rid of old ones.

    • Hi Quin – I like the sound of the alphabeticized dividers – did they come from amazon too? Or did you make them yourself?

      I have a video/dvd player which allows me to copy but involves careful reading of the manual. I would prefer to do it myself but I get easily bamboozled by electronic stuff. We have one of the camcorders so possibly I could at least watch what is on those cassettes first, who knows I may be able to record from that direct. The other size cassettes might need to go directly to a professional as we don’t seem to have that camcorder any more. There is a part of me that just wants to scoop it all up and send to a professional but I’m going to give it a go first.

      At this stage I think the mission is to get all the different cassettes to dvd level but ultimately I want them saved to an external hard-drive. Like I said I’m not a technology girl and possibly am doing things the hardest/longest way possible but I will persevere.

  5. Moni, this is a good example for having others help you make decisions. I like the idea Juhli had of getting rid of the things you know you alone can decide on. Then going to the idea of getting each person in the family to decide what is most important to them. I have found that the hardest thing for me is to find the time to upload things to my computer. You will laugh. I have 5 DVD’s that I have not watched and have had for 5-6 years. I need to watch them/get rid of them/give them away. I keep hanging on to them thinking that I at least want to see them before I get rid of them. I think I will just give them away.

    • Hi Deb J – I could have plugged away these two projects and eventually got them done, but where is the fun in that? Why not harness the power of the elite 365 team and have some fun with this!

      Jane gave me a good idea about software the other day which is much better than what I would have used. Of course negotiating computer time between three teenagers will be its own challenge.

  6. I’d start with the bookcase because it’s open. In addition, I’d put the TV on top the the dresser and get rid of the black thing holding the TV instead of the dresser.

    I’ve only ever commented one time before but I want you to know much I really enjoy this page. I’ve even used reading the new posts as incentive for doing a project I didn’t want to do (most recently, cleaning a closet to make room for our homeschool supplies). Thank you for all you do! 🙂

    • Hi Nichole – thanks for commenting today! You know everytime I sit down at my desk – which is on the same wall as the bookcase – my head automatically turns to look at the bookcase. It really bugs me because as you said its open. I can’t believe this bookcase used to blend right in with my home. Good on you for clearing out the closet and best of luck with future projects.

  7. I’m loving the comments so far on this one – I have THREE bookshelves that look like Moni’s one – they are in the garage so they are at least out of view in the house but they still need to be sorted and weeded through. My goal is to empty one so that my sewing supply bins (which I am already sorting through and reducing) can be housed there instead of my master bedroom closet. While it seems like a bunch of shuffling of clutter at my house, I am reducing, culling, and throwing away tons of stuff while I am doing the shuffling:):) I started storing our CDs and DVDs in plastic sleeves similar to what Colleen posted about months ago – that has greatly reduced the sheer “real estate” needed to store those items.
    My problem with the bookshelves is that I am a serious reader – I have several series that I will keep forever and I mostly read everything in hard cover so it takes up space. I am doing really good on reading and donating immediately the books that are not meaningful to me – my “fluff” reading. I am looking forward to watching Moni’s progress and putting some of the great ideas listed here into active use with my bookshelves and entertainment center.
    I just have to say Colleen and Moni that I love this blog so much and it has helped me tremendously in my quest to reduce things in my house. I can see my focus shifting – I used to shop and thrift shop merely for pleasure and now I am focusing on pleasurable things like going to the movies, or pedicures which fill that same void but don’t add clutter. So thank you both so much!!!!

    • Hi Raesha – I too am a serious reader – and I’m a very fast reader – but fortunately I re-read my favourites every year. Two years ago I went e-reader and love it, love it, love it. I notice from your blog that you’re a fan of the Outlander series – one of my favourites too. Yes I have bought it again for my e-reader (the book versions were old and tatty) and I put out the word to friends and family that my perferred gift is kobo vouchers so I can replace my favourite books onto my e-reader. Have you read Sara Donati’s “Into The Wilderness”? If you haven’t you would love it.

      • I’m a serious and fast reader too. I still have 3 sets of authors that I have the books for. 2 reasons: I reread them at least once a year. My mother doesn’t have an ereader. I can’t afford to buy them all again. Here in the US we can get so many free books through Amazon or read them through the library that I don’t pay for the books I read. If we both had an ereader and I had the books on them I would probably give them away.

        • Hi Deb J – I bought my e-reader as I had an injury and it was difficult for me to hold up a big book for the length of time I spend reading, it took me a while to convert in preference from book to e-reader but I definately am in camp e-reader now.

          I have never been good with library’s – I always ended up with fines – besides which the suburb I live in was about 15 kilometres from the nearest library when we shifted out here. They built one a couple of years ago out here, but my habit was established.

          • One thing I like about our library here is that it has ebooks so you don’t have to go to it but can get them online. I bought my Kindle because I have problems holding the books. Some friends actually bought it for me as a thank you (long story).

        • HI again Deb J – our city library has just recently introduced e-books though the selection is rather small at this early stage. I will look into that more.

    • Good for you Raesha. My blog may be giving you the inspiration but you are the one following through and changing your life for the better. Give yourself a pat on the back from me.

  8. We got two “binders” that hold the DVD discs themselves. There is one binder for the kids (holds their Wii games, too) and one for the adults. What once took up loads of space is reduced to two zippered binders. I thought all of our movies were in their binders until we decided to get rid of the 400 dvd player. I looked in there and found tons more DVDs. Our family needs to go through all of them until each and every one fits in the binders. I’ll try to sell the unwanted ones. We recycled all of the DVD cases.

    • Grace from Brazil :

      We have done this too and it is a great space saver. If you lend them out keep a case or two and write your name on the case so people will remember to return it. : )

      • Hi Grace – I’m thinking this could be a good solution for the ones we keep for visits by my young nieces – they seem to be under the mistaken impression that we want to watch a Barbie marathon with them each time they come over!

    • Hi Kandice – just a question about using the binder option – do you find the discs get scratched more often? I have used a small binder/sleeves arrangement for some music that my daughter uses for dance work and we found that we had a lot of problems with scratching. I never established whether it was the pulling them out and putting them back in, or perhaps the handling of them at the cd player end of things. These days she uses her iPod.

  9. OK. I’ll concentrate on the dresser and media centre as that’s where I can offer most suggestions. By the way, what lives in the dresser drawers? I have a number of questions to ask as I can detect things other than a TV and the ubiquitous black stand.

    Is that the TV in question? Nothing bigger coming in?

    How many other items “need” to go there with the TV or need to be connected to the TV: DVD player, games console, controllers and games; video player, videos, surround sound speakers, amplifier?

    Where do you keep the remote controls, instruction books and sundries used only with games, DVD’s and videos?

    And finally – this is a bit provocative! – where the dickens does he think he’s going to keep all the associated stuff once you’ve got rid of the dresser?!

    • Grace from Brazil :

      I wondered this too. (snicker snicker)

    • Hi Lynda
      Drawers – nothing. They were decluttered during a “drawer” post some months ago. They are rather annoying drawers as they have no sliders or anything to stop them being pulled right out if they are yanked on too hard.

      TV – no plans at this stage for a bigger TV but the TV in my little lounge which also has the bookcase……is a 27″ box style one (I joke it would be 50″ in volume but not in screen). TV has going/gone digital here, we have a freeview box attached but we lose the margins because the shape of the screen isn’t the rectangular shape of a flatscreen – very annoying if watching sports. The kids and I use this tv more because it is the warmest room, close to the kitchen and it has the TiVO on it. So…..there has been mention of upgrading this tv and the possibility of us having the existing flat screen and hubby getting something updated, but its not an option until I have finished paying for my daughter’s braces.

      On the flatscreen there is a home theatre DVD/Blue Ray – LG HB905TAW – hubby doesn’t like it as it was a bit of jump in technology for him but mostly because it won’t play out of zone dvd’s. And no there is no code to make it multi zone it was designed that way. It has an iPod dock – Jane has recommended software called “RipIt” which will convert DVD’s to a digital version that can be loaded onto an iPod so that could be a possible solution.

      There are speakers around the room which are wireless and there is a subwoofer sitting beside the tv cabinet.

      Remotes sit on the coffee table.

      We also have a PS2 and a PS3. But more often they are attached to the old tv as hubby gets wound up when son changes cables and settings around. PS2 only comes out for SingStar which is pretty rare these days. PS3 Son has two games but tends to hire games, he goes thru phases when he plays a lot and then months will go by when he doesn’t touch it.

      There is a Wii but once again hubby gets upset when people change the settings on his tv or move the cables.

      Alot of this stuff already fits into the tv cabinet, there is a big drawer and shelves etc. Unfortunately the big drawer is full of cables that we don’t know what are for. We have put a time limit on keeping them and if nothing is taken by the end of October we’ll freecycle them out of the house.

      I’m realising it as I’m writing this, that a lot of problems could be avoided if my hubby upskilled himself electronically-wise (isn’t going to happen) and if I move all gaming to the old tv. I will keep that in mind when I do get to upgrade the tv and buy a cabinet that can accommodate all of that as well as the dvd player and tivo.

      Have I answered everything?

      • Yes, thanks!
        So if you separated the Wii, PS2 and PS3 stuff away from the main TV, although it creates a problem in one room, you can see what’s left in the main room…

        Is it worth doing any work on the Barbie DVD’s as I bet the small relatives will be growing out of them soon?

        Back later.

        • Hi Lynda – fortunately/unfortunately I have 4 nieces ages 8, 6, 5 and 6 months. I think Barbie and pink sparkly nail polish won’t be going anyway in a hurry. 🙂

  10. You can try a CD/DVD suitcase. They come in lot of sizes depending on how much you want to store. They have separate sleeves with labels on the top (for each DVD) that are just sitting on builtin rails, so you can easily take whole sleeve out, reorganize your DVDs as you want (for example sort them alphabetically).

    Also for daily use maybe it would be more convenient to convert the DVDs to files and use DVD player with harddrive where you would have your movies. (In would be wise to still keep the original DVDs stored somewhere, so noone could acuse you of movie piracy)

    • Hi Verka – a hard drive could be a very good option. We have one which has a usb plug between hard drive and home theatre (or could have been the screen) no other cables or power cords required. I got it because it is so transportable and easy, I got it to upload some family movies when I was at my parents. It is very compact, I can hold it in my hand. I’m not sure how much it can hold as it wasn’t main priority at the time.
      It is a WDBABV5000ABK – otherwise it is on WD’s website as being a portable hard drive.

  11. What’s wrong with putting a nice runner on the top of the “DVD Cabinet”, centering it on the wall and then putting the tv on top of that?

    Family and hubby will be happy and things will still look more streamlined.

    Okay, so the dvd collection will still need to be waded through…

    • Hi Kathryn – we did talk about that, but its just a little bit too high for ideal viewing. We could live with that but I’m not sure the dresser could cope as it was constructed without support in the centre of the unit – if you have another look in the photo you will see it already curves down a wee bit. When we move it out for cleaning we have to be careful ie two people shift, not one person dragging it around.

  12. I’d start by putting the TV on the short dresser, thus keeping the CD’s there until you decide what to do with them. Then, sort the bookcase and put whatever CD’s are in the bookcase in the short dresser and copy or upload them as one project. I have a bookcase similar to this loaded to the gills – books on top of books and books in front of books – that I am trying to sort. I can appreciate your predicament. Keep us updated as to your progress. I could use you as a mentor. 🙂

    • Hi Maggie – its Day One and I’ve already made a big mess. My inspiration music for the background is “Eye Of The Tiger” from Rocky, my hubby says it looks more like Eye of the Hurricane.

      I could have just done this quietly by myself, but what is the fun in that? This way I can tap into everyone’s good ideas. I’m just glad that I have already gotten rid of hundreds and hundreds of books.

      I pitched this idea to Colleen only days ago, it was one of those hey I had an idea 30 seconds ago – definately hadn’t thought it thru – no game plan at all – right now I’m looking at the chaos everywhere and wondering what the heck have I done? But I have an international cheerleader squad cheering me on – how does it get better than that?
      (suggestion just in from daughter: I could clear a path to the kitchen) 🙂

      • So, are you moving the dresser out of the room and the games equipment into the other room??

        • Hi Lynda – yes dresser out. I will need to consult with the kids which games require changing around cables on the tv/entertainment system to work, and which just plug in without anything changing around.

          To be honest not a lot of gaming happens here.

          • If you leave the console to TV cables attached to the gaming consoles if it needs a different cable would that help? (Label as well, though!)

            If the console, controller and games for each format had its own container, would that help?

            And, finally: if you had some way of documenting when the stuff had been removed from the container, then that’s fuel for the argument for getting rid of it!

        • Hi Lynda – I had to go thru the cable box tonight to try and find the cables for the camcorder and felt my blood pressure going up. 🙂

          I think it would be a wonderful idea to “batch” a console with cables and label them – then throw out the rest of the cables of course.

          My son says when we upgrade the old TV we should consider making that the games station and to buy one with that in mind. Or to find out if there is some sort of docking station that the console cables could stay permanently plugged in.
          (He also suggested buying him a flat screen for his bedroom but a big fat no to that one)

          I will have to ask the girls about the Wii as its theirs but they do seem to need a lot more room as it gets rather active. But the Wii console is very small.

          If I do get another tv I will make sure the cabinet we get for it has housing for all this stuff.

          What I am getting from this exercise is that I don’t really know a lot about electronic equipment and should probably make the effort or ring hire-a-geek to help me.

  13. Maybe just pick one of the projects that will be the simplest and start there (baby steps)? Or take the most challenging/time consuming and being there, then every thing else will be ‘small potatoes’!

    You inspire me! While you are tackling your large project(s), I’ll tackle some in my own home that I’ve been putting off!!! So thank you, Moni, for sharing this with your fellow 365’ers! Good luck and it will be fun to see your progress along the way!

    • Maybe just pick one of the projects that will be the simplest and start there (baby steps)? Or take the most challenging/time consuming and being there, then every thing else will be ‘small potatoes’!

      You inspire me! While you are tackling your large project(s), I’ll tackle some in my own home that I’ve been putting off!!! So thank you, Moni, for sharing this with your fellow 365′ers! Good luck and it will be fun to see your progress along the way!

      • Hi Annabelle – thanks for the encouragement – unfortunately today (Sunday here) I can’t do much as my daughter has friends coming over. Maybe I could take the opportunity to list the ‘projects within projects’ and what will be required for each now I have had so many good suggestions.

  14. I have a question for Raesha. You say: “I have several series (of books)that I will keep forever.” Why exactly is that? Do you read an entire series over and over?

    • Connie – actually I do read them over and over. My most special series I probably re-read about every 5 years. I’m a dork, I know:) Some of them are also hard cover series that I’m hoping my daughter will want to read when she gets a little older – if she doesn’t then I will get rid of them at that time (she’s only 11 now).

      • Raesha, I’m the same way! I have the entire Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden series that I do re-read every few years. I too hope my girls will enjoy them when they are older. If they don’t, I’ll continue to enjoy them myself. 🙂

      • Then I’m a dork, too, Raesha. I have about five series which I reread with regularity (while still reading new stuff voraciously). This is why my physical book collection is not smaller than it is. First, I can’t afford to buy electronic copies of all of them right now. Second, the books themselves hold a certain comfort for me. Like hanging with good old friends. ^___^

    • Hi Connie – I too re-read my favourites including series every year. I am a very fast reader so its probably a good thing. Its my only vice. 🙂

  15. Do you REALLY need that big screen ?

    I have been living without any screen (nor DVD) for years, so I am not of much help !

    • Hi Nicole 86 – oh yes, the big screen stays. Hubby grew up without tv so he’s making up for lost time.

  16. First off, I would ask – do you even go back & rewatch some/all/none of the DVD’s?
    If no, then those get sorted immediately into the sell or donate box.
    If yes but “not in a long while” then those get a good quick yay or nay as to keep or get rid of.
    If yes, then start ripping copies.

    When we parred down the DVD’s – our “keep” pile was large…but once we started ripping them we realized we never really want to rewatch most of those again – so our keep pile kept getting smaller & smaller. We ended up ripping only 8 & kept only 6 original dvd’s – the rest (close to 30 or 4o DVD’s) didn’t make the cut & we sold them off for a few bucks each on Ebay.

    CD’s we kept only the songs we liked – not the entire playlist on each CD. If 1 CD had say 15 songs & we only liked or listened to 3 of those songs, then those 3 songs were the songs we kept in our iTunes. We also sold off ALL the CD’s (a little over 200 I recall) as well on Ebay.

    We simply started with pulling out a armful of discs & sitting on the floor making keep piles, burn/rip piles, trash piles. Then re-evaluating again & again. All in all, it took a few weeks to rip/burn & list on Ebay, etc. Time well spent as now we have not a single CD & only 6 DVD’s in the house.

    Funny thing, those 6 DVD’s we couldn’t part with because we just knew we would watch those movies again? Well it’s been over 2 years now. Still haven’t watched a single one yet.

    Good luck Moni, be ruthless with decluttering the CD’s & DVD’s. Ruthless & be super honest with yourselves as to what you really will watch (or listen) to again.

    • Hi Jane – DVD’s – I’m going to have to go softly-softly. An outright invasion would see an uprising similar to the fight scene in the Transformer movie. Which we have in the cupboard. I’m hoping first round I can weed out the ones that nobody is too hung up over.

    • Hi Jane – is this the Jane who told me about RipIt software? Just another question – when you rip the dvd where does the computer default store the digital copy? In iTunes or ????

  17. Grace from Brazil :

    Moni, Thanks for sharing with us your challenge. I know I have a couple of places like this in my house that have been neglected…I started with some inspiration and then quit when it got a bit too complicated, like you said projects inside of projects. You have encouraged me to get going on some of my projects in waiting like ripping CD’s and scanning stuff. It is always nice to get synergy from eachother. I am reading the comments for some needed inspiration as well. I guess as I think of my situation and see yours I wonder if you can try to make the book shelf more attractive. Those books on the top shelf is there a reason they are stacked? (probably to save room). I think improving the look makes me more interested in working there. Pretend you have company coming in 10 minutes, what could you do to that area? Since they are projects depending on other projects it means that it will not go away anytime soon. So as you look at the shelf what are the easiest projects you can deal with and start there. (Have you made a list?) Once things start leaving it will be a great encouragement. I think it is time to get to work here.

    • Hi Grace – if visitors turned up in the next 10 minutes they’d be given a job to do on the bookcase.

      The top shelf is rather short so most books cannot stand up in it. When I ordered this bookshelf approx 15 years ago I wanted the bottom shelf to be tall enough to house taller books and ringbinders. The firm that made it did so but didn’t change any of the other shelves to make it asthetically pleasing.

      A good tidy up would be a bonus but I’m all primed to dig in and make a start. It is getting the videos and camcorder cassettes converted to dvd and then ultimately loaded onto hard drive or external hard drive that I am the most hippity-hoppity about as I’m not an electronics girl, but I will persevere. I could send them to a conversion expert across town but the amount I would need doing sort of justifies the effort or at least an attempt to learn how to do this.

      As for picking which is the easiest project – I have picked up and put back so many items so far. I’m a checklist kind of girl so I’m going to start with that and write ideas and possible problems and solutions.

  18. If I were you moni I would get rid of that TV cabinet and keep the dresser to put the TV on. By drilling a couple of holes in the back your electronic media equipment could then be shut behind the dresser doors when not in use. The dresser is a nicer piece of furniture and potentially far more tidy looking. If you reduced the DVDs to just those you really watch then potentially everything could fit in the dresser.

    As for the bookcase there isn’t anything in there that we don’t keep on a couple of shelves in our now well decluttered small linen closet or in the closet in our spare bedroom. Our minimal paper files, our photo albums, the compressed CD storage…

    • Hi the dvd dresser is a bit too high for comfy viewing if we are allowed to be precious about it and I don’t think the dresser has very little structural strength so I don’t think it is probably very wise.

      We have a similar (and in my opinion nicer) dresser in our dining room area so I’m ok to let this one go if it comes to it.

      I can’t wait to have all our music and photos packed down into digital form. I’m leaning to using the RipIt software that Jane talked about to do something similar.

      I need to figure out some sort of grading system for the dvd’s. There are ones nobody probably is too bothered about unless I’m seen leaving the room with an armful of dvds. There are ones my youngest daughter wants to keep for comfort sake – she feels the older two got to hang onto childhood items longer – which possibly in a year or two would be ok with letting go of. There are ones which both girls think would be fun to keep. And ones the whole family will want to keep. I probably need a different strategy for each group.

      • The difficulty with LCD TV’s is that they have a limited viewing angle; if the TV is too high or you’re watching from the sides the picture isn’t so good. That’s why we bought plasma and why Moni’s current dresser may be a bit high.
        Also, you need to think about air circulation to keep things cool if you adapt either dresser.

        • Hi Lynda – I didn’t really understand the difference between LCD and Plasma so just gave the sales lady a rough idea of what we wanted to achieve and our budget and let her decide. Crazy I know but we’ve been buying off her for 15 years so I knew she wouldn’t rip us off.

  19. I m with colleen get rid of the tv stand and use the dresser. paint the wall a bright colour on the tv wall and get rid of the painting. then pack up all the stuff from dresser in boxes I bet no one misses all the dvds. Put the boxes in a staging area.Then wait to see what you go back for.After a few months you will know what is really missed then go from there.I did this last year and out of hundreds of dvds the only ones we wanted were the christmas ones everything else went to a nursing home

    • Hi Shirley Do – I honestly don’t think the dresser was built structurally sound enough to hold the TV as well. It has no support in the centre.

      I have used the staging technique before and worked well. I think it is the principle of the matter to the kids. Just as I would feel really upset if someone took away some of those camcorder cassettes because I hadn’t viewed them in years I would feel the loss of family memories. The kids kind feel the same as they have some fond memories, we have friends that visit over the summer holidays every year and all the kids sit down and watch The Lion King again, even the though the two eldest are 17 and 18. I think if I approach this as a one by one, softly-softly thing I will have better luck than if I go all invasion-style on them.

  20. I haven’t read all the other comments yet, but I would say to start with the CDs and weed out the duplicates first. Then with the help of your family, attack the rest of them. If CDs are important to them, you can find a different place to keep them.

    • Hi Willow – my kids are of the iTunes generation so they aren’t attached to cd’s. My hubby has barely evolved passed cassette tapes so there’s a fair of education to be done here.

  21. Hi Moni!
    This is our DVD-collection (or at least the bigger part of it): http://www.abload.de/image.php?img=foto1506kcb6a.jpg
    http://www.abload.de/image.php?img=foto1507zub2u.jpg

    It’s not my invention, rather we got this little basket including the slips and some DVDs when friends were moving overseas (those DVDs were in a foreign language we’re learning, so we were happy to get some fun material). I was fascinated by how little space that took up and started including our own DVDs in that little basket as well. It works wonderful for us, better than any file binder, as we’re both not tidy enough for any kind of binder. Plus, you can still remember the “look” of a DVD (in our case the colour) which makes it easier to find it. I also started designating different colours to different genres (pink for children’s animations, blue for action movies etc.). You can also still easily lend one out to friends etc.

    As to where to start: I’d probably start on all ends at the same time as I always do with mammoth projects. I think, I’d work on fitting the contents of the bookcase in the dresser as well, as it just looks tidyer (especially as this bookcase doesn’t hold many books anymore but a lot of jumbled things) – Maybe, I’d also put the dresser where the bookcase is at the moment so that your husband gets his beloved TV-wall. (maybe he is also willing on working harder on the DVDs when there is the treat of getting his screen in place? 😉 )

    • (maybe this looks weird at the moment, as the previous comment is still awaiting moderation, probably due to the links to photos I included), but:
      P.S.: There are currently about 60 DVDs in this basket which takes up about the space of 9 DVD cases.

  22. One of the things I do is I put a price tag on it in my head. I will look it up online and see the actual price. If I am willing to buy it again if it got broke or destroyed I will keep it. If not time for it to go unless I am not willing buy it because its one of those items I could no longer afford to buy but bought with a tax return or something along those lines. With the kids, I ask them if they have a friend they want to give/sale it to. Its a win win. The other thing I see is if its available at the library. You might even be able to donate to your library so its not totally gone unless its hugely popular there. Most kids movies have 99cent rentals. My child only gets to have the control of the t.v. very rarely long enough to watch a movie and I can afford $12 a year to let her pick a movie a month.

    • Hi Brook, I will leave Moni to respond to your comment but I just wanted to say welcome to 365 Less Things.

    • Hi Brook – I wish we belonged to your local library, no such service. The reason we ended up with so many kids dvd’s is that the suburb we shifted to (back then) we had a choice of driving 10 minutes each way to hire a new release dvd for $15 overnight or driving 3 minutes up the road and buying it for $21 from TWH, so it felt like good economics at the time.

      We got a video store after a while and eventually a library. I haven’t bought a disney dvd in a number years as the two olders outgrew that era.

      If the house burnt down I wouldn’t replace 90% of them and then it would only be thru the iTune store.

      My kids are probably a bit older, but the younger one is especially attached to the dvds and as far as she is concerned they aren’t doing any harm sitting in a cupboard and obviously she feels some sort of ownership to them. So softly, softly. I haven’t told them that I have turned my eye to the dvd cupboard yet, so it will be an interesting couple of weeks. 🙂 Thank you for your suggestions.

  23. It’s easy to alphabetize your DVDs and/or music CDs if you use a storage box with pocket type folders for each disc and tabs separating the various folders. I tried the binder route but didn’t like it, so I searched for a better method. I bought everything I needed from Amazon for little money and organized our DVDs. Removing the discs from their plastic cases made a huge difference in the space required to store the discs. Previously, they took up two shelves of a built-in bookcase. The storage box is about 10″ x 12″ so it can fit on a shelf, in a cabinet, etc., and holds 300 or more discs. Our box is the only item on the coffee table. Every so often, we thumb through the box and eliminate movies which have fallen out of favor. Personally, I would keep very few DVDs, but our four children DO watch them over and over. We stream shows from Netflix, but our internet service is very slow so the process can be frustrating. We don’t have satellite or cable tv service.

    I really encourage you to involve your family in making decisions about what is kept and what can go. I sit a stack of items on the table and tell the kids (ages 12-17) to go through them and decide if they really like them or not. It doesn’t take them long and isn’t overwhelming to any of us. They do a great job of being honest and letting go.

    • Hi Lisa in NM – I like that idea of the pockets in a filing box I will add it to the idea list.

      Each person in the house has some particular dvd’s they want to keep but by far it will be my youngest daughter who will want to hang onto the majority. She is very visual and finds movies entertaining and comforting. She feels as the youngest the ‘kiddie’ rug got pulled out from beneath her. It actuality it didn’t but the two older ones simply outgrew that era and she was a little bit left behind and became a minority vote. So the most resistance for the bulk will come from her.

      I will involve them but I might need to do it over a series of sessions. I think it will be less alarming to have half a dozen at a time rather than seeing me packing them away into boxes.

      • Lisa in NM!!!
        I’m in NM too – would love to chat with you. I love that we are both in NM and both reading a blog written halfway across the world:) I’m in Albuquerque – how about you?

  24. I haven’t read the other comments yet so hope this doesn’t duplicate, but I will just add my two cents worth. The Balinese dresser appears to be a lovely piece of furniture while the TV stand…does not. If your husband dearly wants his TV in the place of the dresser, why not put it on top of the dresser (is it the same TV, or does he have a larger one he wants to replace it with?). If you are not attached to the Chinese tomb soldiers they could be sold. ALso…if DVDs are a super hot button category, you must get the family involved–they have been so cooperative thus far! Chances are they do not really even remember what all is in there. What if they all agreed to pull them out and just categorize together into MUST keep, probably will want to rewatch, not sure, and maybe even nope, can borrow from the library if desired. You may actually not end up having many leaving, but the process could start them thinking about it…and you could use the money for any sold for a family treat of their choice.

    • Hi Mama Minou – the Balinese dresser is nice to look at but it is poorly built and almost no structural support in it so it would need to be re-built to hold the weight of the tv, and it is a bit high for comfortable viewing.

      Hubby isn’t in love with the tv cabinet that came with the tv, and maybe one day he will address that. At this stage his priority is to have his tv in direct line of his comfy spot on the couch with the coffee table at just the right distance to put his feet up.

      He said he wanted it out of the house, but who knows I might be able to find another location and purpose for it in the house. Who knows? We have another one (and I feel nicer one) in the dining room so my home isn’t heading towards completely bare.

      The Chinese tomb soldiers have been repaired soooo many times due to kids, cats and a couch pillow being thrown by son at sister who has excellent ducking reflexes. I bought them 10 years ago and would be ok if we retired them.

  25. Here’s my 2 pence worth, before I read the other replies and suggestions (all 65 of them so far). I suggest starting with the DVDs.
    I have moved abroad 2 months ago and despite minimizing most of our other possessions in order to prepare for the move, I wanted to bring almost all of our DVDs with us. We love films, watch them repeatedly, have no other way of watching them but on DVDs, and some are very rare. So, I bought one of the CD/DVD binders where you can put the discs only. I threw away all the plastic cases, but kept the discs – the amount of space needed to store them had shrunk from 3-4 medium size removal boxes to one binder the size of a bigger photo-album which sits neatly on the shelf.
    I know it may sound like a cheating to some extent, but even saving the space had saved a lot of my sanity and I had felt so good seeing stacks of DVD cases leaving my home.
    Good luck with your project.

    • Hi Ornela – sounds like you put a lot of thought into your overseas shift. I know people who immigrated here and had decided to buy new beds, linen, dinner set, a basic pot set and a frying pan, lounge suite and tv when they got here – their house lot was coming after them in a shipping container that was going to take about a month. By time their shipping container arrived they’d gotten used to living quite simply and wished they’d sold everything prior to leaving.

      • Grace from Brazil :

        I love hearing things like this. We will be making a major move in 2014 and I have an inclination to just bring some clothes and a few books for teaching/reading. I have been forced to think of my irreducible minimum and with a post like yours I can look forward to taking only a few items.

      • Hello Moni – I’ve relocated “only” within Europe :-), but nevertheless have had major downsizing exercise as we’ve moved from 4-bed to 2-bed home. Getting the smaller space here was part of my plan to actually force myself to be even more ruthless with parting with many of the old possessions. Emotional clutter, aspirational clutter, “someone might need it” clutter – you name it, it was all still there, even with the 18-month long preparation fueled by the ideas from here. I will never forget the day the movers came to pack our things and load them on the truck – seeing box after box being loaded brought home the reality of why I want to live with less. Even though they said ours was a very small move, to me it was additional motivation to keep purging. Now, as I unpack those same boxes on the other side, I keep separating things further and it feels so good. Before our things arrived we had to live with very little of everything and that really brought home the relation between need vs. want.
        Funnily, in the meantime I have met a couple in my new neighborhood that had relocated to Australia just last week and the lady was very enthusiastic when I mentioned her this blog. I’m sure once their container arrives to its destination she’ll probably be inspired to look at its content through different lens 🙂

        • Hi Ornela – my most major shift in my life was 3 hours drive, so I find the idea of shifting country quiet exciting.
          Shifting from 4 bedrooms to 2 is quite a jump isn’t it?

          I haven’t got any firm plans to shift or downsize at this stage, but I’d like to be able to without pressure or drama, when the time comes. I have teens so they’ll start leaving home before long and my hubby and I are starting to talk about what we’d like to do – downsize? build a house? rent an appartment at the beach for the summer? try a townhouse? All of the above?

          And to be able to pack up easily, without having to go thru the decluttering process on top of all the other drama, and just enjoy the new situation would be wonderful.

  26. I write all of my projects on 3×5 index cards. I tape the cards to my wall–every project I’m working on, sorted into categories. Every week, I have so much time allotted for projects and other chores. For example, in an average day, I spend 3 hours cleaning/organizing the house and 1 hour on projects. I sit down on Sundays and plan what cleaning and organizing projects I’ll work on during the next week, and how much time I’ll spend on them. So for your bookcase, I would write down everything you want to get done, make sure you have all the materials you need to complete the job, estimate how long it will take, prioritize the projects, and launch in on project #1, working on it a set among of time each day and setting aside the others.

    • Grace from Brazil :

      Some great advice to get me on those projects I have been putting off. Thanks! I have just made out a few cards for this week. If I get those four projects done (not too big) then I will have made an advance. Because of Moni’s post I did finally knuckle down and get two projects done. (Under the bed has been cleared but for 2 suitcases which have no where else to go and my dresser was decluttered!) So thanks Jude for some practical direction and once again, Moni, for making your project “ours”.

      • Hi Grace From Brazil – well done you! Its pretty cool knowing that across cyber space all this activity is going on.

    • Hi Jude – I did something similar for my husband a few years back, I wrote a list of things that needed doing before the holidays in big block letters and cellotaped it to the wall in his line of vision at the dinner table. LOL.

      I have a pin board above my computer desk and my list is going up there, right now its sitting on my desk as it was being added to constantly yesterday with all the input from the 365’ers.

      I started project 1 last night and already have come up against obstacles but that is the nature of the beast isn’t it? Glad I have allowed myself plenty of time.

  27. oh wow. I just wanted a quick look, and there are almost 100 comments again. I have to catch up a lot, if I want to read all of those.

    I am not sure if someone already said it, and its basically almost a cosmetic thing. but book cases look so much nicer if you place the book with right on the front of the shelf. this way, there is no place to just dump stuff at the shelf – in front of books! (and there is no more dusting required!) Place all the little items that are there into a box while you tackle the bookcase in general. and make it look neat. then it can be crammed full from top to bottom and still appear very nice. same goes of course for CDs. I like that you have 2 rows – if you want to keep them you probably could have it easier if you place a carton or wooden board in between. this might be a solution for book rows too, if you can collect the same size books. (thats a reason why I love my very flexible IVAR system – you can just make them at the height you need and never waste space)

    I think I spent a year now decluttering CDs, so I know what you mean. just start slowly and work your way through. you will get there in the end.

    for the DVDs: gather you family together and surprise them with a little challenge. they need to write down the list of DVDs that they have and want to keep – from memory. every DVD that is not on that list, but in the cupboard can leave the house for good. maybe you can even make a compromise and watch the movies one last time before decluttering them for good!

    • Hi Lena – I definately like your idea about the DVD’s – I could name the ones my son would be able to name and I know the ones my middle child/older daughter would name.

      I would have to make a rule: no blanket titles such as “Disney” or “Pixar” 🙂

      • ah I would always keep the disney/pixar movies. they are often my sunday treat 😉 but I can remember each and every one of those…

  28. Hi all 365’ers – a big thank you for all your ideas and encouragement. I have begun work and am looking forward to reporting back to you in August.

  29. I read this post and felt guilty. I have places like these in my house. I have a bookcase just like that (no, I have TWO bookcases just like that, :O). Guilt is making me write this. Yes just goes there and when we see something like this post we go: “Oh my! I can’t believe I have been ignoring this problem…”

    • Grace from Brazil :

      I know I can relate to you! I can’t speak for everyone but I know I have some places like this also. I think that is why I have enjoyed this conversation so much. I am not alone in this constant battle. It is great that you only have two bookshelves! I wonder if I took pics at my house if I might suddenly see other places just like this that I have been ignoring or just grown so used to. It was a brave step by Moni and has encoraged me to start in on those places where I have put off because there are just too many steps to get it cleared. Above my head on the top shelf I have journals that need to be put into my computer, teaching resources that must be dealt with (will I use them again?), and some other important papers that need to be scanned or filed. Ugh! It won’t be quick or easy. I have a deadline of a few months since some of the stuff will take time. I began in on one basket yesterday and got very little accomplished…..but I started. (Yippee!)

      • Hi Grace from Brazil – good for you making a start – and I love how you have described it as “just too many steps to get it cleared” because I havn’t come up with an explanation for how it ended up like this and why it is a hard slog now that I’ve committed to the challenge.
        I’m almost to the end of the first week and I felt I hadn’t made great inroads until I (just now) saw the photo at the top and could yes progress is slow but there is progress. I might take weekly photos – why don’t you do the same? A “before” photo and weekly progress photos and then an “after” photo.

        • Grace from Brazil :

          Okay, Moni, I did just that. I took that picture of my desk which holds a lot of “works in progress”. It seems like some of my clutter problems are because it is hard to think of NEW solutions for things that I use often but are still cluttering up the floor next to my desk. I did some quick searches and did not come up with any solution to my stash of “bags” next to my desk. These are bags that are in use all of the time, my swim bag (it needs to be in the bedroom because in the morning I add towels or clothes to it), my English teaching bag (it acts as my file and holds all of my ESL stuff I am currently using), and then I have my Sunday School teaching bag, (which I am continually adding supplies, looking at the lesson etc…) I don’t want to put up hooks for these bags (we have cement walls and it did not seem to be a working solution for me.) So what I decided is that they go in a large square plastic container that slides in and out from under my bed, like a drawer. I am not sure what else to do but it works because it is close to my desk and they will not be “out of sight out of mind” because I use them frequently. So I cheated a little bit I added them back into my “before photo”. : ) Thanks for the idea of taking the photo.

          • Hi Grace – there you go, you’ve already on your way! I read an excellent post by Cindy a few weeks back on what she describes as “Black Holes” which are little piles of “stuff” that build up.

    • Hi Andreia – you are in great company as so many 365’ers have put up their hand and said they have a similar spot in their house. Just below Grace From Brazil described the situation as “just too many steps to get it cleared” which hits the nail on the head of how things got to this point. But if we all tackle one step each day we’re going to get there in the end. I’ve suggested to Grace taking a “before” photo and weekly photos so you can see the progress – even if it is small, its going to add up over the weeks.

      • Hi Moni! I did a very big declutter job in my home about two years ago. I still declutter and have made a big effort not to reclutter again. But it seems that the more you declutter, the more you take stuff out of your house, the more you start looking at other stuff that is just there, collecting dust, and having no real purpose in your life. These bookcases I refered to were just being ignored by me. Yes, I passed them on a daily basis and I pretended they were NOT there. But one of them was bugging me. and when I saw your post, let’s just say I decided action was in order again. And Grace, you just pointed another big problem: paper that needs to filed. Some clutter are an ongoing problem. Thanks for the help ladies and I will try and keep you posted on my new declutter challenge.

        • Hi Andreia – yes its true! The more you declutter the more you want to do. I often come across something and I wonder why it didn’t go the last time I decluttered this area!

  30. To Grace from Brazil, Not sure what your desk is like but could you put hooks on the side of your desk and hang your bags on them. I find that if things go under the bed, they usually get forgotten so I don’t do that anymore. If you use them every week, it might work for you. Also, a hook in your closet for your gym bag might be a good option. I am a “bag lady” too and find them sitting everywhere. This morning, I cleaned out one bag filled with CD’s and books left from our beach trip. Didn’t take 5 minutes but it has sat there since we got back 2 weeks ago. I am bad at walking past things that have been in their spot and not seeing them.

    • Grace from Brazil :

      A VERY interesting idea. Hmmmm. It might just be the thing. It is a wooden desk so yes hooks would work. Let me ruminate about that. I am not sure I want to put holes in it but they will be small holes. Thanks, Maggie and congratulations on the bag decluttering!

  31. Hey Moni, By the time you read this you may have already rectified your situation but hey: I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and probably get stoned at the crossroads, but my 2c worth – Pack everything into boxes and leave somewhere accessible. Get rid of the furniture you don’t want or get a chippie to put some support struts in your cabinet. If you want to get rid of the furniture and revamp woohoo!!!! May I suggest when everyone is home have a huge party with an IKEA catalogue and choose the billy bookcases with doors and hide everything you want to keep behind the doors. In no time at all you will have everything pared down because you will notice how it get accessed and how often. I did this not long ago and I was amazed at how many times we didn’t watch, listen to or get out to read any of the goodies in the boxes and shelves. I do love open shelves on a bookcase but they always end up holding everything but books!!! I have been training myself not to put down but to put away. (Straight away). Books are my achilles heel and I so want to keep them but at the same time I loathe too because of the space they take etc etc….. I will deal with this in due course This my dears is my next mission, after I have cleared my scrap room and cleared yet again my linen cupboard. Oh and the garage AGAIN!!!!! I am leaning towards having everything behind doors as I am getting really dizzy looking at open everything! I can’t wait to get started again!!

    The reason I suggest Billy bookcases is they are slimline and a reasonable price, or something similar if you’re not an IKEA kind of gal. They hold a variety of sizes and you can easily hide a lot of discs, books and goodies away but they are all still easy to get to.

    I wish you well on your mission 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Dizzy,
      we hear so little from you these days. Where have you been? I have missed you!

      • I’mve missed you to, Dizzy.

        • Hi Deb J,
          I have been reading a lot of comments and trying to keep up with everything. I finally got caught up to here. Sounds like everyone is doing amazingly well with getting rid of STUFF!!!! My son has added 5 more dust collectors to his stash with all the trophies he won at our recent Dance Comps!! They are his to deal with but even as he collected his awards I could feel myself starting to jitter hahahaha!!! :0 🙂 🙂

          Looking forward to getting home and unpacking and re-shuffling and tossing!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

          • Dizzy, I know what you mean about starting to jitter. Every time I see something new come in the door I get that way. What is funny is that Mom is getting that way too. A friend brought over some stuff last week and Mom slipped over to me and whispered, “What’s all that junk for?” I was able to tell her that I was just passing it along to someone else for her. It was a hoot.

      • Aaww how sweet, sorry, I did get your e-mail but I hightailed it back to our comps and got sidetracked with everything Dance!!! I am fine and looking forward to getting back into sorting all my %#$* out. I have been taking photos of everything and I am a little anxious about getting things done as it looks like I’ll be looking for another house SOON!!!! Yay and Whoa at same time!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Dizzy – good to hear from you – would you believe it but we don’t have Ikea here in NZ. I have seen their stuff online and don’t mind it, I’m not hugely hung up on craftsmanship or quality, after raising three kids am very ok with not investing big in furniture. Maybe when all the kids and cats have left home I’ll feel differently.

      • Hi Moni,

        Well that sucks not having an IKEA, oh well I’m sure you’ll find something. I’m the same now with furniture, by the time we all go our stuff would be so well used no kids in their right mind would want it. They will definitely have their own opinions about such things, my boy said all he’ll need it a beanbag and a PS3!! Typical! no thought to how or why for anything else hahahaha. Mind you this coming from a young man who said ‘I’m packed’ for a two week dance comp he took 1pr sneakers 1 x jeans 3 x socks 3 x jocks 2 t’s and a hoodie. Pretty good BUT!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Hi Dizzy – yes no worries about obligation family heirlooms and antique furniture. And yes a nuisance of not having Ikea it sounds ideal, some people don’t like it, but that’s ok. I find that what I like in my home evolves every 5-10 years and so it doesn’t pay to invest too heavily in quality items.
          We are currently in the age of the bean bag too. I find them a bit of a nuisance but its cheaper than buying another lounge suite.

          So did your house sell? Got plans?

  32. The dresser is very beautiful. The TV and that thing it’s sitting on are hideous and distracting. What a shame to choose an ugly television over a pretty piece of furniture.
    Declutter the TV!!!
    Don’t let that energy-sucking screen take up visual space in your home! Put it behind cabinet doors, or even hang a handmade pretty tapestry over it, like a curtain. You and your guests won’t have to look at it, and you will end up watching it much less too which is a great bonus!!! It probably wastes far more of your time and creates far more “clutter” (feeding nonsense into your mind) than anything else you’ve got in there. It certainly is the worst-looking thing in all the pictures, by far.

    • Hi Sarah – my hubby would chain himself to the TV before I got it out the door 🙂 Its his pride and joy along side his fishing dinghy, I think I come in 3rd or 4th 🙂 🙂 🙂

      His family didn’t have a tv for a large chunk of his childhood so he’s making up for lost time.