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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

11.15.2004

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cull, baby, cull: living room edition 
by Yee-Fan Sun
| 1 2 3

I hate messy rooms -- I really do. I hate seeing clothes thrown willy-nilly over sofas and chairs, tables strewn with papers, shelves with books jammed in so haphazardly that it is would be physically impossible to access any single item without jeopardizing the balance of the whole damn mess. All this is a bummer, because after many years in denial, I have to admit: I'm not the tidiest person in the world, by nature.

I just can't seem to do anything without leaving some physical evidence of the activity. I collect stuff, I generate stuff: if there's the smallest spare nook in the house, I'll use it to pile ever more stuff. There's a definite and direct correlation, I'm afraid, between the amount of clutter in a room, and the time in which I actually spend in it. This, then, explains my living room.

The living room is the room in which I curl up each night with the boy, and many weekend days as well, to read books, or watch a movie, even eat a meal. It's where I'll sit to open my mail, or bang away on my laptop when I get tired of sitting at my office desk, or make a birthday card for someone special, or mend a hole in a sweater. Gone unchecked, my very large coffee table has a tendency to accumulate books and magazines, bills to be paid and papers to be filed, clothes to be fixed and photos to be organized, to the point where it becomes a feat to even find space to set down a mug of coffee and a coaster.

Really, what I need is a maid. Sadly, reality continues to put a damper on those dreams. Which is why every once in awhile, as much as it goes against my packrat nature, I make the commitment to spend some good quality time sorting through my junk. In the first installment of cull, baby, cull, we walked through a good kitchen weeding; this time up, it's the living room.

The living room declutterer's toolkit
1 File folder: For any papers that need to be put away, bills that need to be paid, post-it notes that need attending to
2 Storage box: For any stuff that should stay in the living room, but that you don't need ready access to on a frequent basis
3 Deep storage box: For seasonal stuff, and stuff you want to hang on to but don't really use
4 Donate/sell box: For stuff for which you, personally, have no use, but that someone else might conceivably need or want
5 Recycle box or bag: For trash that can be recycled
6 Trash bag: For trash that can't
7 Big fat magic marker: For labeling your boxes

skedaddle this way folks

---------------------------> lounge . nourish . host . laze . home.