Sunday, January 12, 2020

Decluttering at the Speed of Life (Part 2)...

First a note:  If you're here for just my YOP update, you might want to scroll on down the page to, I don't know...  I suppose the picture of my cross stitch project.   If you're game for reading about some yarn organization and encouragement to check out the book, Decluttering at the Speed of Life, just start with the next paragraph.

Yesterday was something of a book review and an introduction to Dana White's "container concept".  Today is Part 2: making the concept work for me in my craft room.

I won't repeat the basic container concept, so if you didn't read yesterday's post (and want to), here it is, or better yet... get your hands on White's book.  So that this post makes sense though, I'll repeat something I wrote yesterday:  For the container concept to work, the limits of the container must be respected.  In other words, you only keep what fits inside the container.  In making a decision of what to keep when you have too much, you choose what you want to keep most.

Before this weekend, my yarn storage issue had been pretty much under control, but in reorganizing some things that had gotten moved around during the holidays I found a cardboard box of crochet thread I needed to move back into the craft room.  Ugh! 

I'm well and truly done with random cardboard boxes as serious storage containers for my yarn so I looked at my closet storage situation and decided I needed to make a couple of decisions.  

Decision 1:  I am resolved to bringing no more yarn into my home than can fit into the craft room closet in a designated container.

Decision (or realization) 2:  I have no more space (or didn't want to make more space) inside my closet for another container for the crochet thread I still wanted to keep.

So...  studying the situation I realized I had a container of purple yarns I've been feeling pretty ambivalent about.  I've used lots of purple yarn over the years, but a dozen or so skeins have been hanging on - either not inspiring me, or just defying fitting a project I want to make with them.  

With Dana White's "container concept" in mind, it occurred to me that the box that contained the purple yarn skeins would hold the crochet cotton I wanted to keep (for the time being, anyway).

So...  I dumped out the purple yarn and quickly packaged some up for donating; some got put into a bag I'm collecting random yarn for a scrap granny blanket someday, and I made a decision to use a few skeins of the purple yarn in specific projects (more on that later).

And now I have the perfect size box for these threads I want to keep:

Yesterday I also mentioned that my storage of WIPs is inadequate and not inspiring me to work on them.   So I set to work on that situation, too:


got put into proper containers, and now looks like this:

And I placed it under a narrow table in plain sight so I'm reminded and inspired to work on my Sacred Space Blanket:

I was inspired to work on Part 2 this weekend, in fact! 😀

Buying one more storage container, this somewhat awkward storage of what I'm calling my Flower Garden Blanket:

Became all neatly contained in one box:   

And this WIP (a blanket I've never been completely sure of) got the plug pulled on it:  

For now, I bagged up the finished squares and set free the unused skeins of yarn for other projects (i.e.  they went back into storage in their appropriate boxes in the closet).  Truth be told, I think I may end up frogging the squares and setting even more yarn free.   I just need to come to terms with the time I spent crocheting the squares pictured.

The basket below got cleaned up from everything that had landed in it over the last few months and now I hope to be inspired to finish the pillow project it contains:

Here are two of the projects mentioned above stored where I can easily see them, 
and hopefully will continue to be inspired to work on them.

And wanting to use up some of my over abundance of purple yarn and use up some other colors too, I gathered coordinating yarns into this (freed-up) basket to await a blanket project that will be perfect for it:

The yarn that looks black above (on my screen) is actually dark purple. I'm giving myself until the first day of spring (it will be here before we know it) to settle on the project for the above yarn.  If I've made no progress in that direction by spring, the yarn will either be returned to the closet where there is a designated container with room for it, or it will be donated - or maybe put in the granny scrap blanket bag.  

I've also collected some pretty purple (and white) yarns in a large bag for starting another Leaping Stripes and Blocks Blanket:
I can't wait to start it!

And that's it today for reorganizing and regrouping my WIPs!  I feel like fresh air has blown into my craft room and I'm once again inspired to start working with yarn.


And finally, this Year of Project post would not be complete without an update of the stitching I've completed on my Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher:
Can you see the bird taking shape?

The frame holding the fabric is a 14-inch EZ Stitch scroll frame that I recently ordered from   I'm really enjoying using it.

And I think that's finally all there is from my place!  

Oh, okay...  here's something else worth pondering while deciding what to keep and what to let go:

“If I feel like my head is going to explode over a decision that isn’t life changing, but feels totally life changing, I choose to declutter the item. Because no item is worth my head exploding.”
       ― Dana K. White, Decluttering at the Speed of Life


  1. That last quote pretty much sums it up.
    I think you are moving in the right direction. I have spent the last 5 doing much of this and know it is a process to let somethings go or know when you need to donate or keep. I certainly don't want to rebuy something.
    The bird is coming along nicely! I can't wait to do another one of them.

    1. It is a process, isn't it!?! One I find that I do in layers (layers of emotion and energy - not so much layers of stuff). I'm kind of hoping to finish the bird this week. I would have gotten further on it if I hadn't been sidetracked by all my yarn shifting late in the week. ;^)

  2. Just a not unravel the squares you have made. Donate them to goodwill or some other place that has thrift stores. Someone may want to grab them and add them to other squares and make a blanket or Langham. Unless you need the yarn, then unravel.

    I love your container theory and am going through my craftroom today in order to move furniture around. I have found many things that need to leave containers to make room for useful items in said containers.

    Your bird is taking shape. It has some lovely colors.

    1. That's one reason why I'm storing them as squares. I may decide to donate them, but I also like the yarn, so I'm hanging onto them for a bit in case a use for the yarn presents itself. This week I take the "container concept into the bedroom, I think. That's the next (maybe the last) room to paint and re-carpet, so it makes sense to get to work in there. Just need to summon up the motivation. The idea of "dejunking" might just do it for me. ;^)

  3. A thought for you regarding the already-made squares that you're ambivalent about - what if you simply put them together and donated them to an animal shelter? Cut your losses so to speak, but yet have them serve a good purpose. I have to add that I love the colours you're using for the Sacred Space blankie. And the quote is perfect!

    1. That's a great idea, but part of my ambivalence about the squares is that I'm not all that fond of joining squares together. I'm hoping I have the fortitude to actually put my "Flower Garden Blanket" together one of these days. And the fancy granny square blanket I'm slowly making 12-inch squares for. I don't know why I start these kinds of projects - when I know I'm going to have to force myself at the end to finish them... if I do finish them.

    2. Perhaps there is someone out there who likes joining squares but not making them? I think donating them to charity is a great idea, especially if the thought of joining them is a burden not a joy...they are just something you’ll feel bad or guilty about, better to donate them.

    3. Are they a size suitable for Warmup America? They accept the sections and have volunteers who actually like joining them up into afghans and blankets for donating.I've sent them a couple of parcels of sections, and got very nice acknowledgements.

    4. Thanks all for the suggestions about donating the squares. Just to be clear... I'm only keeping the squares squared for now because frogging them was just a bit more than I was ready to do at the writing of this post. The yarn is a favorite of mine for blanket making so I'm likely going to unravel the squares and simply reuse the yarn. The point I was trying to make with this example is that I freed a basket (a container) that wasn't being utilized well and setting it up in such a way that I'll probably have more success completing a project that I want to finish. It's all part of the "power of the container". :)

      That said, the ideas above are great, so I'm leaving them for someone else who may read this and wonder what to do with squares they've made and would love an idea for where to donate them. I've donated squares in the past to local thrift shops mainly because I didn't want to add the cost of shipping to the cost of the yarn and time I'd already devoted to unloved squares. But Warmup America (and I'm sure other charities) would love to receive squares for all the reasons mentioned above).

  4. Good job decluttering. I threw out a whole bag of leftover yarn some time ago. I knew I'd never use it so I dumped it.

    1. It's very freeing to move out stuff that isn't what we're into using. Or using anymore. I'm trying to talk myself into looking at a bunch of beads I have with those eyes soon. Craft stuff is so easy to accumulate. I'm thinking because it comes with so many ideas and possibilities.

  5. I think I need that book! LOL! I must admit I am doing well with my method and on 'breaks' I also Google ways to organize specific items. Like fabric scraps and now I have a plan for that! You're doing great! Your stitchery is gorgeous and I like the idea of your projects nearby and visible. My problem is Miss Peeps! I love your coordinating yarn colors in the basket and all your colored crochet thread. You're inspiring a lot of us!

    1. You are doing great, Sam. And you provide me with continued motivation to keep on decluttering. I want you to know after you posted about the cleaning and clearing of a bathroom I went through the cabinet and drawers of the master bath and did the same. I think it's fun that we're all motivating each other. :)

  6. I love the title decluttering at the speed of LIFE. I also love the end quote. You are really inspiring me today. My stash is all in baskets too high up to see what is there unless I get them down. I think I will reorganized things and bring them down to a lower shelf and put those darn calculus books and tax papers out of sight! Also my husband bought a label maker and I am itching to get my hands on it. LOL. Love the mandela - the colours are gorgeous! Your cross stitch is so sweet too.

    1. Thank you, Mary-Anne! :)

      It might bear mentioning that the speed of life means that decluttering doesn't have to happen in a big emptying of an entire space. I think that's what's kind of refreshing about her book to me, because I while can appreciate the big guns approach, sometimes you just don't want to (or can't) make a mess by emptying out a whole closet, or sorting through all the kitchen cupboards in one go. She helps one see that it's possible to make progress just decluttering as you can. At the speed that life allows. If one is persistent, and develops better habits, it all adds up in the end.

  7. Congratulations Becki on your continued decluttering efforts! The container method sounds like a good one. I love the colours of your Sacred Space blanket!