Since my entire life seems to be a quest for order, and because I am constantly finding new things to replace the old ones (see Cheap Thrills, for instance), I need all the help I can get in the whole process of reorganizing my workshop and my vast stash of "stuff."
In the beginning, my mentors told me to save everything. Well, I did, and I have - for YEARS. Now I am forced to make hard decisions, because my work space is so small and my storage options are finite. So, what to save? What to keep?
When I was agonizing about the size of my stash, the amount of clutter in my workroom and my inability to work effectively, I came across some questions from some organizing person (unfortunately, I forget who) that have been of great help in my Giveaway/Throwaway Crusade for the past few years:
1. Have I used this in the past year? If not, why not?
2. Does it have value to me, sentimental or monetary? If the answer is No, but I'm still not sure whether to keep it or not, then I ask the clincher:
3. MIGHT IT COME IN HANDY SOMEDAY? If the answer is Yes, put it in the Giveaway or Throwaway boxes. Why? Because that phrase indicates hanging on to clutter!
Now, to adapt this to my mini situation, the last question might be a bit Iffy, as we all know that we need a supply of "stuff" that we will use Someday. So, I thought about this a bit further, and came up with another series of questions to ask myself:
1. What do I really, really like to do?
Well, I like to accessorize and to make something new out of something old, or something different out of something else - bash- and I like whimsy, and I like to tell stories.
2. What do I not particularly like to do or am not very good at and will be willing to pay someone else to do who can do it better - and likes to do it.
Well, I don't like construction and I don't like to wallpaper and I don't like to use detailed plans or math.
3. Then, why do I have all this construction stuff? All these books on how to build houses and make furniture? Why do I have all these cigar boxes? I do not like to construct; I found the directions for making cigar box houses very difficult and they gave me a headache. So, I am giving away the cigar boxes, except for one old wooden one that I may still use for some kind of setting.
5. So, then why don't I do something about these empty containers just waiting for me to wallpaper or finish in some fashion? I either need to get them ready to fill, or get rid of them.
6. Also, I don't particularly like formality, so I am getting rid of furniture that doesn't fit a particule niche or suggest a future story. I mean, how many sofas, how many beds, how many tables, chairs, etc., does one NEED if they don't just cry out to be used somewhere?
7. I want to do more dolls, so that means I need to make decisions as to what fabrics will be useful for that purpose, and which ones I am less likely to use.
All of these questions helped me focus.
I have learned the basics; I don't need to keep making Fimo foods, or flowers, or little somethings, because I already have a stock that will last me til the bell tolls.
I have gotten rid of most of my construction supplies, keeping a smallish supply of wood and wood trims. I have passed on dollhouse and construction books and plans, as well.
I have gotten rid of most of the wallpaper that I had accumulated over the years. Nowadays with the computer I prefer to make my own or use something from scrapbooking or whatever, rather than readymade wallpapers.
I am passing on fabrics that won't work for dolls, and I am not likely to use for a second purpose. If I've made pillows and bed dressings with it, I am not likely to use it for any future purpose.
I have gotten rid of much that I had saved, thinking my grandchildren might want to make something with it someday. They are all growing up and their interests are changing.
The main thing I have decided is to quit thinking in terms of Grand Ideas, and settle with Little Quickies, small settings in domes or other containers that tell a story, since I have all kinds of finished items languishing in drawers just begging to be displayed.
Also, I cleared some shelves in the extra guestroom that had been full of old toys and games from my own children's day, after asking myself Question 2. at top: Do these have sentimental or monetary value?
It helped to say, Yes, they have sentiment but I cannot keep every old game. So, I kept the basic games that all generations can play, but those with missing pieces or that nobody seemed interested in, I got rid of. I removed a few chess pieces and some of the ships from the Battleship game, etc., and put them aside to incorporate into some kind of sentimental shadowboxes for my children.
Of the other toys, after a survey of my grandchildren as to which ones they thought I should keep, the ones that remain are old standards like blocks and balls, Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys, jump ropes and marbles, etc. They are now in nice baskets with liners for visiting children. The matching decorative baskets neaten up the shelves, as well.
It is wonderful seeing spaces open up that I can use to display my finished miniatures.
I still need to take some pictures of the workroom, as it is coming along nicely since I finally got back in gear with the reorganizing and throwing away, but ..., but ..., where is my camera? Under which Throwaway pile?