A productive weekend in the fight against clutter

by Karen on September 14, 2008

For once, I actually stuck to my vow for a productive weekend.

Yesterday, I bought a cheap coupon organizer from the bargain bin at Target for $1. I categorized all of my coupons in a system that works for me.

I’ve struggled with coupon organization in the past, so I’m hoping that getting organized will make the process easier for me. For the first time, I was excited to go through the Sunday paper this week instead of dreading it. Unfortunately, the coupons in this Sunday’s paper kind of stunk. :(

Last night, Tony and I emptied the plastic drawers in which we had crammed all kinds of miscellaneous junk and important documents. We threw away a lot of junk. Our birth certificates were jumbled in the same mess as credit card statements that we don’t even have a reason to keep.

Using a larger organizer (also purchased from the Target bargain bin for $1), I filed our most important documents, including our birth certificates, insurance information, credit and student loan documents, and tax information. The rest of the stuff in the drawers was categorized and organized.

This jumble of miscellaneous junk:

Became this organized drawer of office supplies:

And this organizer filled with important documents:

The photos above only represent one drawer. We went through six “organization bins” that have mainly become vessels for a jumble of quilting materials, office supplies, miscellaneous junk, and important documents.

Our important documents are now filed in the organizer and kept in a safe location. Our six drawers are now separated and organized: two drawers for office supplies, two for quilting materials, one for electronics, and one for owner’s manuals and warranties for our electronics. I’m feeling pretty good about the fact that everything is finally organized in a functional way. Now I can get to the batteries when I need them! We’ll see how long it lasts.

I wasn’t thrilled with our closet organization efforts. The result was a small donation bag for Goodwill and a little less clutter. We still have a few weeks before we can switch out our summer clothes for our winter wardrobes. Overall, the difference is negligible. I’m telling myself it’s because our seasonal closet purge has been effective in keeping clutter to a minimum.

Our biggest project for the weekend was purging our CD collections. For two years, our obsolete CD collection has been cramping our style. Though we mainly listen to music electronically on our iPods and computers and only use CDs in the car, we’ve been hesitant to clear the CDs and jewel cases out of our apartment. Over 100 empty jewel cases have been taking up valuable closet real estate for the past two years, and stacks of loose CDs were in our way in every room. Today, I was finally motivated to get rid of them once and for all.

We collected all of the loose CDs from around the apartment. Then we matched the CDs to their jewel cases. We sorted them into three piles: already burned, not yet burned, and don’t want to burn. Many of them I didn’t even want. I spent the afternoon burning the music that I wanted to keep on to my hard drive and reorganizing my iTunes library.

Then I searched for each of the CDs on Amazon to see what used copies are worth. Most of them were only selling for a penny. I found some good selling prices for about 25 of them, including a Bob Dylan box set that’s currently priced at $40. We’ll be listing the ones that are worth $2 or more on Amazon for a little lower than the current lowest selling price to see if we can make a little money.

We decided that the CDs worth under $2 aren’t worth the hassle of selling on Amazon. We’ll keep the ones we might listen to in the car, and we’ll try to sell the rest at a local used music shop. If no one’s interested in buying, then we’ll just donate them to Goodwill or the library.

Two years ago I wasn’t ready to part with my CD collection. Now, after letting them collect dust and take up space for so long, I’m finally ready to let them go. Sometimes all it takes to comfortably let go of clutter is a little time.

It feels really good to cross this stuff off my fall clutter clearing list!

What about you? Do you still have CDs that you don’t use or other clutter lying around the house? Why not get rid of it?

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