Friday, August 10, 2012

The Box

Once upon a time…in my house, lived a box. And this is the story of this box. And how I kicked it out. ;)

I’ve told you before how I deal with some of the clutter in our home here. Some of it just…sits. Some of it goes into bags and piles and…just sits. ;) The bag is my favorite method of avoidance, the pile is a close second.

But this, this is a new one for me.

The Box.

Our friend The Box started out as just an fun surprise from the UPS man weeks ago. Then, one day, someone put STUFF in it. And it grew. And grew. And sat on the island for, um…weeks?:

The Box

It did.

And then, one day people were coming over and like any good, respectable woman, I grabbed Box and threw him in the closet:

organizing clutter

For weeks. :)

I think he wept. He was so lonely, with just the toy vacuum and random jackets on the floor to keep him company. Whatever dude.

Finally today, I brought him out into the light again to deal with him once and for all. About a month into seeing he and his crap every time I opened the door, I had finally had it.

I told myself I was dealing with everything then and there, right away. No stuff going into new piles. NO new bags (or boxes) – everything needed to be put away.

So I took five minutes and sorted it:

organizing the clutter

Yes, Nya has figured out how to get on the island. We’re working on that -- I’ve forgotten how hard it is to train a cat (compared to a dog!).

Anyway, I figured out the easiest, quickest categories I could – Bub stuff, paper, stuff to the car, things I knew exactly where to put away and the I-have-no-clue-what-to-do-with-you pile.

And can I say that after one month of not knowing what was in that box or needing any of it, I was SO tempted just to throw it all in the Goodwill pile or the trash bin? I mean, one month and I didn’t think about any of this stuff one time. Did I NEED it? No. But I sorted instead of tossing.

Then I set the timer and gave myself ten minutes to get it all put away:

Sorry it’s blurry, I was in a hurry. ;)

I put (most) everything away, and let me tell you, I was sweating. Ten minutes was cutting it close people. I came down the stairs from my last trip to five seconds left on the clock.

I did have one small pile left – the annoying I have no place for you stuff:

I took five more minutes to sort all of it and guess what?? I actually DID find a place for this stuff! Who would’ve thunk it?

While I was in the process I cleaned up some more of the little piles that had accumulated in the kitchen as well, and when I was done everything was clutter free again:

butcher block island

And by “everything” I mean the island and that section of the counter. You can’t see the one to the right of the photo. ;)

But it’s a start right?? Mr. Box is now just a regular old box sitting in the recycle pile in the garage. Yessssss. 

And now that I’m done with the box, I can move on to The Bags:

Yes, I still have a problem. These have been full since June. :)

This weekend there will be a LOT of decrapifying around here – I want to start out the school year lighter and with less stuff around. Cleaning out car is also on my list. (Send help if you don’t hear from me by Monday.)

I KNOW a bunch of you are baggers and pilers, but how about boxers? (Huh?) I gotta tell you I’m not usually one who throws stuff in the closet, but it was kind of freeing. It may start a trend. ;)

86 comments:

  1. ohhhh do i have the same EXACT thing going on in my casa. A box...or a bag...that has been moved around for way too long and is just dying to get cleaned out. I like your timed cleanings...very motivating {and good for those of us that get distracted while cleaning!}

    Cheers
    ~ Jillian
    www.hersplitends.com

    * Check out Her Split Ends for a fabulous giveaway!!

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  2. Out of sight out of mind. :)
    I have about five of those aweful boxes hidden in my house.

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  3. I just did this EXACT same thing yesterday. It was a box my sister sent me, and then I started throwing stuff into it. It has been moved all over my room for the past month. I finally made it mandatory that I take care of it.

    I did. :o)

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  4. Timming yourself is a great way to not get distracted but all the other great stuff you seem to find. Although we are more basket people than anything else =)

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  5. Oh everything at this house goes to the garage and then it becomes a huge mess that you can't even get your car in. I just cleaned all of that out and either found a home or gave it away. It is such a great feeling, I so understand how happy you are to have it all done. Hugs, Marty

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  6. I'm a bagger, piler, and little bit of a boxer. My husband, though, is totally a boxer! Sometimes even when we travel (not on planes or anything, but on road trips) he uses a small box for all his little random stuff that he doesn't want to put in the suitcase and wants easy access. Huh? We have a million bags at our house (Although I usually use 999,999 myself for each trip) so why on earth does he use a cardboard box? So strange. But I'm pretty guilty of shifting piles around and leaving things in bags for extended periods of time, so I don't have much room to talk :)

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  7. I am absolutely a boxer. It started at least a year ago in the same way. Paper by the computer clutter, Time Warner Cable coming, in-the-box! Several more followed. I had no closet room in our tiny apartment so they stacked up by the bookcase. I walked by them every day to use the computer. Now I have a big walk in closet and other than what moved here (those boxes stacked by the computer were sorted through) I have no new boxes that stay more than overnight. In fact, I am kind of phobic about having any papers, etc hanging around in our new place. BTW you would be amazed how many of those 3 boxes was junk to be tossed. I ended up with one very small one. It is amazing how the things that were SO important a few months ago lose a lot of their power over you when you go back.

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  8. Sooo glad to know I'm not the only one! My husband gets rid of stuff., but I pile or bag it up.

    I did go to Target not long ago and bought some crates and the dollar store for plastic shoe boxes! Oh, my! Way too much stuff cause I want to 'craft' everything I see! I just got rid of a bag of plastic water bottles and a bag of paper towel and bath tissue rolls! They would have made some great crafts! :(

    Thanks for sharing!

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  9. I do the exact same thing! Piles, bags, boxes, baskets, bins. If I'm in a hurry (meaning people are coming over or if I'm just lazy), things get thrown wherever they will be hidden! Every single time I have to go through it all I give myself a good talking to that if I had just taken time THEN to do it, I wouldn't have to spend so much time doing it now with this LARGE pile, bag, basket, whatever. *sigh Apparently I am not a very good listener! LOL

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  10. Omg, I wish I could upload a photo in the comments to show you that your box's twin has been living at my house. Same thing: an unexpected delivery and all the sudden we're boxing the who-knows-what crip crap around here. (And when I say "we" are boxing, I really mean me.) I'm a total stuffer; it is one HARD habit to break. But I aspire to (at least partially so my husband will stop calling me Arianna Stuffigton). Kudos on tackling the box and taming some clutter. I know how triumphant that can feel :)

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  11. Decrapifying = my new fav word!
    And what a relief to know we all have this struggle! I have so many of these "to sort piles". Great post!

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  12. Ugh, ME TOO! I have some decrapifying to do myself.

    Oh, and some advice about the cat- the way we trained ours to not jump up on the counter was with packing tape. She would jump up at night after dinner (looking for leftover morsels) so we would just get a few strips of packing tape and place it on the edges of the counters sticky-side up. When she jumped up, she’d get the tape stuck to her paws and freak out. She learned pretty quickly that hopping up there wasn’t much fun! ;-)

    Nice job! You’ve inspired me!

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  13. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for posting! I thought I was alone in my piles. My mail is the worst and then of course the dreaded junk drawer...and yes a few boxes here and there through out the years.

    I just started following your blog :)

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  14. I do the exact same thing with Diaper boxes. :) I'm so glad I'm not the only one...I've always viewed these clutter boxes as a sign of weakness, but not anymore!!! :D

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  15. Stumbled upon your page while avoiding my boxes, bags, baskets of stuff to sort!! Thanks for posting!

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  16. I am a counter clutter too! It seems like when guest are on their way over it is the 15 min.

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  17. clutter hitting rush too! Sorry for 2 comments...I'm not sure what happened!

    Cindy
    (www.mommyseveryday.blogspot.com

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  18. yes I have those boxes too!

    To help w/ the cat on the counter... try SCAT...it really really works. We had to do it with our mackeral tabby

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  19. Great post. I have recently become a tote-bagger, because I can hang the bags on high hooks until I have time to sort 'em, and the dogs won't tear them apart in search of forgotten granola bars. If I've got a lot of projects on the kitchen table and people are coming over, I usually resort to a laundry basket (we have a bunch of laundry baskets that nest together in the laundry closet when not in use). Inevitably one of my guests will need something from the laundry closet and the gig is up :)

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  20. I'm a big piler. Unfortunately (fortunately?) I have several surfaces to pile on, as opposed to our house pre-reno when there was no space anywhere!! Rich people problems ;)

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  21. Oh please come to my house and deal with my box.....boxes, bags, stacks and whatever else. Great story and congrats on getting that chore done.

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  22. Aaahh, mine is a drawer. Can you come over.. I will set the timer and everything.
    No really I too have been sorting out. It was labelled 'junk drawer' but this summer I decided we no longer needed one. So, it's quickly changing it's identity.
    Cheers, Gee

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  23. Confession: I'm a piler, too. I grew up with a mother who was a paper-bagger (much more accessible in that era) so I swore I wouldn't do that. I'm seeing the benefit of a bag system, though. Easier to grab and stash. :) We've dedicated this summer to "lightening" as well, though there's no backtoschool excuse or anything - we're just dealing with hauling in waves of stuff from deceased parent sorting and that's a slippery slope to hoarder status. Or appears anyway. I swear our kitchen island is magnetized to attract any and all "misc".

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  24. So Funny! I have two boxes! The first box happened at Christmas when I was hosting and had to hide my crap piles. So I threw it in the box. But since I didn't have a closet like you, I put it in the car. After Christmas, it came back out. However, as new piles appeared and new hosting events happened, I needed a second box. I plan to get rid of it all when the kids go back to school and I have time to myself again. Thanks for the motivation.

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  25. I am a bagger, piler, boxer, stuff it in the closet - all of the above kind of girl! b LOL! :) And the stairs leading upstairs?? Oh my, one day my husband is going to fall on them and ban me forever from shopping yard sales or thrift stores. There is always PILES there - and yes, I take stuff up with me every time I go up :)

    And yes, my Haven bag is still sitting unpacked in the office. I did rescue my spray paint sprayer thingy and the safety glasses from it - but the rest is untouched. Glad to see I am not the only one ;)

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  26. I go with multiple plastic bins that get shoved into closet. Oh the shame,I need to get on that.

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  27. I'm cracking up because I have a Box 'o Crap in my basement that I shoved a whole bunch of stuff in because I was cleaning up in a hurry. Now, I'm going to be sure to clean it out (along with all of my other Piles 'o Stuff). It feels so much better to just deal with it, doesn't it? I need to confront the clutter sooner! Great and timely post for me. I can totally relate!

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  28. I'm a bit of all three, but more of a piper and boxer... and my husband hates it! I'm trying to do better by getting the boxes into the recycling as soon as they get into the house so that nothing grows and multiplies in them. ;) I may have a box or two left in the bedroom and basement that need clearing out... will have to use the timer like you did... love that idea!!!

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  29. Thank you so much for posting this. I am really inspired to tackle my boxes, bags and piles. I need to just get after it. That could be on my chore list for tomorrow. Thank you!
    Blessings, Nici

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  30. I absolutely do this... pile things up. I start out with good intentions and categorizing things in like piles "for filing"... and the pile grows bigger and bigger until I have to take over the kitchen table to sort and actually file and organize for real. Haha, glad I'm not alone!!!

    My pet peeve is getting to the end and dealing with the things that have no place! Argh... it just makes me want to throw it out. I guess I better go deal with the pile in the corner of my dining room now.... :)

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  31. I am a piler, bagger, boxer, hide it in the closet-er. It's a real problem. Mostly my house is just too small for all my stuff, my husbands stuff and 6 kids stuff. It is complete insanity. It will help a lot when I get a bigger house and have room for everything to have its own place. I am constantly making those "I don't know where to put this stuff" piles. Someday I will be a mostly organized woman with a mostly organized house. :) Someday.

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  32. We are still unpacking after moving overseas...there's crap boxes in every room except the bathrooms. I'm gonna tackle them this weekend!

    To keep the cat from jumping on the counter (or any place), hang aluminum foil over the edge for a few days or a week. They don't like the sound of it.

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  33. I am also decrapifying this weekend! Here's to a clean house (and car) to start out the school year! Thanks for sharing!

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  34. I got such a good laugh off this! And I feel SO normal now!! I do all of this--the box, the bags AND the timed cleanings! My boxes tend to be plastic bins that I now label with a "papers to be sorted" or "stuff to go through" post it. I mean, I KNOW what those bins are but the post it makes me feel as if I have somewhat already organized it since its labeled. I have also so many times been tempted to just toss it after a month or months when I can't recall anything in there. But, I always end up finding some sweet treasure--like my son's waffle painting or my daughters jelly bracelet that we've all been searching for over the past two weeks. Thanks for making me laugh and feel that I'm not alone!!
    Brooke
    Http://mylittlehappies.blogspot.com

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  35. Yup. Mine are baskets but essentially the same thing. You have motivated me ti work on one today. Thanks. :)

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  36. Susan (with 4 cats)August 11, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    Did you find the cat in the box, too? (Because if you did, that is one big incentive for me to get rid of all the boxes in this house ++giggle++) Nice flowers, but where'd you put the cat???

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  37. I'm exactly like you! Bags, boxes, piles. Every other week I have to "clean" before my cleaning lady comes. I throw all the mail that multiples overnight into a bag and throw it in the closet. I pull it out after she goes but often it doesn't get sorted and the same procedure starts all over again. It's a viscous cycle. Try my hardest to go through and sort mail when I bring it in and do get the bills out. Having a bill in a pile for months would not be a good thing!

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  38. I love when you clean out. :) I get excited when I see a pile by the road because I know someone has probably cleaned out in their house.

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  39. I can so relate, but you are way mor organized than I am. My "box" is a laundry basket (ahhh truthfully... one in each closet and a box under the bed!) Paperwork especially is a huge downfall for me plus all the little things I need but have no place for so do not get away.
    I felt so alone at this till I read your post and the comments. Thanks!

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  40. Thanks for the smile as I can relate! I am a put random things in a laundry basket to take it upstairs kind of girl. The laundry basket sits downstairs for a week or so, then gets too heavy to take upstairs. Every time! My husband then carries it up for me where it will sit again for awhile before it's emptied and put away! Love the timer idea!

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  41. I do the same thing! I have boxes. And sometimes they multiply. And I always have a pile of "don't know what to do with but am not pitching."

    I have boxes that I have been working on for months. I get it close to empty...and "someone" fills it again.

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  42. Oh yes, I'm a boxer, and a piler. So nice to know others relate! And that there is hope for getting to the bottom....I get it done sometimes, but there's always another one waiting....

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  43. I'm happy to know I'm not the only one who does this!!! I spent a whole day earlier this week trying to get rid of those little piles, boxes and bags!! and they weren't all mind either! this time!

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  44. I just love you! I do the same thing with boxes...unless my kids get a hold of them first. Then all bets are off, and the girls use the boxes to cart toys from one room to another and just make a huge mess.

    I guess maybe this post was a hint that I should tackle the PILE on my sideboard today. :s

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  45. The cat on the island made me laugh out loud because I have a bad little kitty that jumps up on to the dining table, and try as I might...I just can't teach her to stop. They're definitely more of a "I'll do whatever I want" animal than dogs are haha
    I definitely have the "pile" problem going on in my craft room at the moment. It's so much easier to just dump everything in piles on the floor after I've used it than it is to put it away in the right place!

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  46. About the cat. . . we keep a spray bottle of water. If he jumps on the counter, he gets a squirt of water in his face.

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  47. Whew thanks for sharing this post! I now feel so much better and realize I am not the only one (as the dh would have me think), and yes the box of crap goes in the in closet when people come over till I can deal with it.

    Thank you thank you!

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  48. Never had a bag problem (I guess because I would put them in boxes) but I am a lifetime member of Boxes Anonymous. And since I hoard empty boxes (and bubble wrap) they are always available to feed my habit. I cringe when my husband is looking for something, because I know it's in a box, but the question is which one. They go fron the kitchen table, then to the dining room table, and then to the basement, which is a complete back hole! Happy to hear I am not alone. :)

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  49. My goodness - why do we do this to ourselves? I get so upset at husband and family because of their messes but then I look harder and realize that half of it is mine!!! Wish there was a cure for this!! But at least I know now that I'm not alone in my struggles!!!

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  50. My husband came up with the idea of laundry baskets for quickly storing junk when people are coming over. I have a hard time unloading the junk. I also use groccery bags. Pretty sure there are still some bags in my room from a few months ago. Glad i am not the only one.

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  51. Don't open my hall closet...My art closet and it is stuffed..All things for projects are art in the future...but about every 3 months I have to purge...will I ever draw that pic,you get it..and then I either toss, or take to a local home where they craft...and I donate...The counters I keep clutter free by a using a mini shredder. What comes in the mail I deal with daily. I learned a long time ago handle a piece of paper once ....my previous career life. It is not 100% but improvment

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  52. And here I thought I was the only one who had a boxing problem! I have random boxes under end tables in my living room. I have a box filled with random things that even has another box (filled with crapola)inside of it! I NEED HELP! lol!!

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  53. Is it ok to be a piler/bagger/boxer combined? My husband feels as if it is not OK, haha. In fact, I read this post as a "break" from sorting through boxes and bags and found stuff from 2009!!! Embarrassing!! Apparently I need to borrow your "timer" idea and this would get done faster. Hopefully in 2015, I'm not looking at papers from this year!

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  54. Oh Lord, where does that leave me??? I am not a bagger, a piler or a boxer. I am a poker! I will poke stuff in, usually where it goes though, but in with probably too much stuff. So does that make me a poker or a hoarder? *gasp*

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  55. Yes, I am a bagger, a boxer, and a piler. I totally live with clutter and my boyfriend can not stand it. So I have created THE BOX THAT GOES. It is a box that lives under my sewing machine cabinet that collects all those odds and ends that I touch and go, "What do I need this for?". THE BOX THAT GOES is now half full!!!

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  56. You just had to remind me of my bag/box into closet/basement problem, didn't ya'? And I'd been successfully ignoring it for months, too. Rats!

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  57. I'm so very thankful to read that I am not the only one who finds putting things in bags, boxes, or small piles normal! I am so relieved! Thank you so very much!!
    I will get to them, I will. Just not today.....
    :o)

    Jan

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  58. Oh, how unfreeing that is to throw it in the closet....don't get that habit started!! I do that and it makes you NEVER want to open up a closet. It does give you the appearance of being neat and all together, until you need a particular pair of shoes, or a blanket on that top shelf...then all those bags and boxes start tumbling down and you realize that you, too, have a big crap problem!!! No, out in the open, even in a box, is better....you KNOW you need to deal with it. Eventually, you do. Our closets get worse and worse. :(

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  59. Girl, you are singing my song! I have a jillion tote bags, and I can't tell you how many times I've gone to grab a couple for a trip to the grocery store only to find they are full of the stuff I cleaned out of my car, or the stuff that needs to go to Goodwill, or the stuff I need to sort... egads, it's ridiculous.

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  60. Wow, I am so cracking up reading all these confessions! I think you all could use a support group! Maybe someone should start one! Thanks for the laughs!
    I am a organization freak so I can't relate, but I had alot of good laughs! Thanks!

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  61. Take 5 minutes every day to sort mail, receipts, etc. Then you don't get piles. Way easier than leaving it pile up for months. Been doing this since I got married in 1971. Always have it under control.

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  62. Boxes and bags and containers, oh my!! I am so glad you posted about a real problem that most of us have. Containers are meant to organize you but they are really big dangerous pits to fill with stuff. I try to stay as organized as possible and not be tempted to throw things in containers like this. One time I did this by clearing off our kitchen counter before company came that included putting my hubby's Blackberry in the container. Needless to say, I totally forgot about it and when he needed it days later we had no idea where it was. I hung my head low when he found it in the container in our closet under other stuff. OOPS. I like how you set the timer. Good plan!

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  63. LOL, challenge accepted! I have a house full of "boxes" (and bags, and drawers, and piles...). Since it's going to rain today I might follow suit and try to decrapify! :-)

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  64. I do the exact same thing with my kiddies. We call it "super clean" where we run through the house for 5 minutes exactly, tidying like madmen at superspeed. I do it several times during the day and we're done!

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  65. Thanks for the chuckle! Looks like a lot of people have that box...in one form or another!! I don't like clutter, but for some reason, my office always is cluttered! My desk, wow, can't remember what that pile of papers has in it.
    Debbie :)

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  66. Okaaaaaay... I loved this post. OMG don't we all have our clutter that grows before our eyes? Magically. I enjoyed reading your post as I leaned my arm on a pilot that has been growing all weekend. Lol thanks for making me feel better.

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  67. I too have too much junk in my house. Not sure how to dispose of it..


    Rgds,
    KnowThyMoney
    www.knowthymoney.com

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  68. You are not alone, my friend! I, too, have a box! I also have a kitchen "junk drawer"...time to get organized! Thanks for the inspiration! XO ~Liz

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  69. I was a piler until one day I was having company and I became a laundry basketer-much larger than a box and there's handles...BIG MISTAKE!!! I'm now down to 2 laundry baskets and I like your timer idea but somehow 10 min isn't going to cut it for a laundry basket-maybe 20 or 30. I'll give it a shot his week in honor of you!

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  70. I have bags and piles and TUBS. Those darn plastic tubs with lids that come in all sorts of colors. It started out simple enough. I bought blue tubs for the Boy's too small clothes, and purple tubs for the Girl's too small clothes, but (imagine that) things OTHER than clothes ended up being tossed in the tubs and thrown in the closet when company was coming over! The past two weekends have been spent de-cluttering, and I am VERY proud of our progress. The long closet that connects the toy room and the office has been cleaned out so my children and once again use it as the secret passage. Yesterday, my husband cleaned out the garage (we can fit the van in it! Can I get an AMEN!?!) while I cleaned off the top of the fridge (ew) and the weird half-cabinet above the fridge. I'm also caught up on what I lovingly refer to as "downstairs laundry" (all the clothes we take off downstairs) and I can now begin the tedious task of "upstairs laundry" (all the clothes that have been on the floor of our room and is now covered in dog hair). One step at a time, pile sister!

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  71. bahaha poor Box. You stripped him of his identity. I am a piler and a boxer, personally. It's a sick disease. It seems I do the most de-cluttering when guests are about to come over, which is my own self-imposed timer. ;)

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  72. Yep, I keep things in bags. And inside of furniture, like dressers and chests. I also have a box, the cat stole it. He uses it to hide so he can stealthly attack the other animals.

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  73. Yes, I, too am closely familiar with "hot spots." HS's like rabbits and mice, mutiply in seconds. It's astounding. And sad. And me. Yuck. Working on it!

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  74. I toss a little bit off our countertop every week but it keeps coming back to haunt me. Don't dare put it away or it will be forgotten and 'some' of it really is important... LOL No, really.. it is!

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  75. Oh no, Sarah. Thanks to you, I realize I'm a "boxer," too. Now I have something else I need therapy for. :)

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  76. I do the same thing! I have a couple of boxes that need to get emptied ...

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  77. I would have to say the worst is when you move and realize all the unwanted things you have stored away in your house. Than you ask your self how did I accumulate so much junk?! We end up doing a combined yard sale with a few of our neighbors every summer and bring a little bit of extra cash.

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  78. I had cousins from AZ stopping in for dinner on July 20th and the house was a mess. (Yes,I'd known they were coming for weeks but just pretend I didn't admit that!)
    I had to straighten up fast so I grabbed four of those reusable shopping bags and just stuffed them full and put them in the guest room (no, the cousins were not staying over!).
    It's August 15th and they're still there. Out of sight, out of mind.
    But you have inspired me and I will "handle them" tomorrow (I'm going out to dinner tonight!).

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  79. I have an entire room full of junk that just hasn't found its home yet. Someday we'll actually get to use that room again. lol

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  80. My MIL is a boxer. A big. time. boxer. Me, I'm a piler. My husband and daughter? Good old fashioned tornadoers. Our son is the neatest person in the whole family. Sad commentary, really. The truth hurts, it does.

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  81. Such a common problem. At least you kept it to one box and a few bags and decided to do something about it. I wonder if hoarders start that way and then there are two boxes and then the countertop is full and it overflows to the floor...What do you think? It kind of puzzles me.

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  82. oooohh...I love this post! It reminds me so much of myself, only I'm not a "boxer" I'm a "bowler" There's a jumbo-sized pasta bowl on top of my toaster oven that is overflowing with junk. At least until last week that is.....when it made a long-awaited trip to the cabinet and everything inside it was dumped into the trash, do not pass go, don't collect $200.....I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the hubs doesn't start asking about it or for something that was in it!!!

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  83. I do ALL three. It starts out as a pile, sometimes gets into a bag, usually ends up in a box. It always looks like I'm packing up to move!

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  84. oh I am guilty as charged... but how wonderful that you handled that box (timer idea is brilliant!)... one question though: where's the cat?

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  85. I so wish I only had one of those boxes but I have several. Emptied several earlier this year but have many more to go.

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