Home Forums Challenges Living in just one room.

This topic contains 28 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Avatar of djk djk 4 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #158612
    Avatar of ValH
    ValH
    Member

    I live with my parents. I am at heart a messy person, but living mostly in one room makes that difficult. Outside of my room I have a area for gaming stuff and share a sewing room with my mother, and both of these areas are clean and organized.

    My challenge is my actual room. It is not only my bedroom, but my office, library, and relaxation area as well, and it does poorly at all of those.

    I have been working on uncluttering one thing a day (or for me at least 3 items), but I wanted to make a topic to hold me accountable to my goal, which is to create a room that is actually effective at doing what I need it to do and is not just cluttered with things I have trouble parting with.

    Thus far I have gotten rid of three pairs of shoes, several books, some DVDs, and a chair. Not much, but it really is a huge step in the right direction for me. I am setting my first goal to be that by the 15th of July I have enough stuff gone from the room that I am able to figure out what is the best way to organize it, and by the 25th of July to have a space that I would be proud enough to show off.

  • #166734
    Avatar of Zora
    Zora
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    WTG!

    I find it easier to get rid of things once I’ve got them sorted out. If I had DVDs scattered all over the place, I wouldn’t know how many I had and wouldn’t be able to look at the whole collection with a critical eye. When you see them all at once, it’s easier to get rid of the DVDs you are least likely to re-watch.

    Of course, if your room is jammed, it’s hard to do that. You’ll probably end up doing several rounds of sorting and purging.

    Keep at it and I’m sure you’ll meet your goal.

  • #166736
    Avatar of inga
    inga
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    I’m with Zora on this. Get all your similar things together, clothes, books, dvds, whatever. It makes it much easier to cull effectively when you can see all that you have in one place. Once you have found a home for these remaining things make sure you put them back there when you have used them.

    What storage furniture do you have in your room? Is it perhaps a mess just because you dont have places to put things? My daughter always kept her clothes on the floor. It was (IMO) a combination of not having enough places to keep things, simply too many clothes, and a need to be able to see everything to know what she had to wear. Understanding why your existing systems fail is part of the solution.

  • #166737
    Avatar of ValH
    ValH
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    Zora – I think you are right. I am going to work through getting rid of some of the big and obvious things I really don’t want and then work on sorting an eliminating. It is hard because my room is not that large, I think I might borrow the guest room for a few days to put things into piles to go through.

    inga – One of the things I am hoping to is to get some new storage things. Most of what have have are short bookcases, for everything. Which are fine, but mean that there is a lot of vertical space that is not being used and a lot of floor space that is. I am hoping to just go out and buy new shelves and containers that better fit my space and needs when I have things organized and eliminated to the point that I know what I need.

  • #166738
    Avatar of SunshineR
    SunshineR
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    ValH – Keep at your goal and celebrate your progress.
    Zora – I agree with sorting things out. It’s worked well for me.
    Inga – Having some new storage things sounds like a great idea.

  • #166761
    Avatar of Jenage
    Jenage
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    I’m having a similar problem. I think it’s compounded by the fact that I’ve been living in the exact same room for the last 18 years. Moving is a good chance to declutter, I think.

  • #166768

    Living in just one room.

    @ValH and anyone else living out of just one room, if you’re not already familiar I highly recommend http://ikeahacker.blogspot.com/ and http://tinyassapartment.blogspot.com/. I’ve found them to both be great inspiration for making a smaller living space more livable. Even if you’re on a limited budget, Ikea is fairly inexpensive and saving up for a specific project that you know will make your living space better will totally be worth it.

    The most recent article on Ikeahacker as I post this is one of the best options for living in a limited space – if you’re OK with being on a bed that’s higher up, being able to store the bulk of your clothing under your bed is a huge space saver. There’s also an article in tinyassapartment in which somebody screwed two shelves together, face to face, to make a cabinet that opens up into a desk space – very cool!

    Anyway, it sounds like you’re already on the right track by coming here, joining in on the Community and getting involved in the 365 challenge. :)

  • #166775
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    ValH – very smart to wait till you know what you’re keeping before deciding on buying storage. It’s all too easy to think that an organizational device will do the work for you!

    Good luck, we’ll look forward to updates.

  • #166779
    Avatar of badkitti
    badkitti
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    Wow, sounds like you’re well on the way though, and have already started. I only learnt to do this by living in volunteer accomadation – one room included my kitchen – only the bathroom was separate. I thik hobbies take up the most room, IYSWIM. I used a library elesewhere so that saved a big space-taker for me. I slowly learnt that most things were extraneous.

    Now, I realise I hardly watch my dvds, so a lot of those went. I didn’t need 90% of old uni notes those went. I didn’t wear 50% of my clothes ever, so off they went. I had a lot of knick-knacks when I lived at home, and now 99% of those have gone except for a few treasured framed photos and small keepsakes. You’d think I’d feel bereft, but I really don’t. I read and watch tv mainly, and so, not a lot of space is needed.

    If you’re feeling brave link to some photos – not only will we all love nosing at them but we may suggest options that work for you.

    PS I really agree with high shelves – instantly doubles your storage! Plus if you can leave spaces on those sheleves, the room looks less cluttered somehow.

    Good luck!

  • #166782
    Avatar of RJ
    RJ
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    @ ValH, If you have short bookcases, can you stack them on top of each other? That may help free up some floor space and increase your vertical storage?

  • #166819
    Avatar of SodaPunch
    SodaPunch
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    valh – i know what you mean, i have a small room too and i’m trying to declutter. my problem is small furniture so i want a big bookcase to put *everything* on and then i’ll have less clutter everywhere. :)

  • #166824
    Avatar of ValH
    ValH
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    Chacha1: It is taking all of my strength to not just go out buying new things. Because I have a bad tendency to not judge what I need well. Although I actually did get a new bookcase this weekend, but it was the one thing I specifically knew I needed.

    RJ: How my bookcases were did not allow me to stack them. I actually went to Ikea this weekend and got myself a nice new bookcase. That, along with culling some of the books I did not really need has allowed me to open up a lot of space.

    badkitti: I will try to post a picture tomorrow. My camera has currently disappeared in the moving things around and sorting phase, but I would appreciate anyone’s input. My uni notes are one of the big things I need to get rid of…and actually some of my high school notes as well. I recently got a scan snap that I need to put to use scanning them in. I teach at a high school and actually refer to my notes at times to prepare for lectures, so I can’t just get rid of them, but I do not need the paper copies.

    Jenage: I have lived in the same house basically all of my life, apart from when I was at college. Moving would be nice because I think it would have gotten me to cut down things earlier on. College was nice because I did not bring that much with me, so it was much easier to manage everything, but it is harder to part with things when you don’t really have to.

    Girloverboard: Those are awesome sites! I have check them out a bit, but will be pouring over them more in my spare time.

    SodaPunch, and anyone else also living in one room, good luck to you all as well. I know for me switching over to one bookcase has been great because I can fit more on it and it gives me an easy way to limit how many books I can keep, they all have to fit on it. No more excuses and keeping books on the floor.

  • #166831
    Avatar of DebF
    DebF
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    I just saw this link [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRxvNhlS4V4[/video] on facebook. The YouTube video shows amazing furniture that is multi-function. Word of warning however. I have an Ikea sofa bed with the slats that are bent. I broke one. Called Ikea, and they don’t DO replacement slats (of course the sofa bed was out of warranty). So if you’re going to buy or look at the products in the video, find out if the ‘life-time’ warranty handles the slats, and if so, how!
    Good luck with your small space!

  • #166869
    Avatar of badkitti
    badkitti
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    ValH: I teach at a high school too – luckily a lot of stuff seems to be avaialble online. I have kept textbooks and specific notes. However, I do seem to have an extraneouds pile pof old worksheets and lesson plans that should go this summer. Have a great summer holiday soon!

  • #167055
    Avatar of Jenage
    Jenage
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    Ah. What I meant by moving out you’ve already done. I’ll be living in a college dorm this September through June. I’m hoping to get rid of a lot of stuff while packing. My room is going to become an official guest room (usually when we have guests they get my bed and I sleep on the living room couch but now it’ll always be ready for guests). This means it needs to be pretty cleared out, with nothing on the floor except well furniture. It also needs to be left toddler proofed and with anything embarrassing gotten rid of or taken with me.

    We’re painting the bathroom and my sister’s bedroom (Mom’s hoping to clean it out in the process) and if we have enough time and oomph, my room is up too. I’m excited about that!

    As far as I suggestions go, I think having minimal furniture helps.

  • #167161
    Avatar of Julie
    Julie
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    Valh:

    First, I completely understand your dilemma and I applaud you for setting goals and finding a way to hold yourself accountable. I am also a teacher, so I know what it is to refer to things that you may not have used for a while to form lesson plans. I have also had a clutter problem and have been actively working on de-cluttering my life and living space.

    One thing that I found (a friend suggested it) that helped me clear out old DVDs, CDs and book is to try to sell them on Amazon or any other site along the same lines. I’ve found that their fees are by far the lowest and their system for listing items is very easy. I sold 7 items in 2 days! I have a bin on the side of my desk that I put everything in that I’ve listed and as I sell them, they get shipped out! By doing this, you can help to raise some extra money for the storage needs that you have, or a nice reward for yourself once your goal is accomplished.

    I’ve also found that a complete change in my routine has helped me stay organized once I got to where I wanted to be. I will not sit down to work until my space is clear and organized and I find myself doing the same before bed. I just started an online Master’s program and my goal was to have a viable workspace for myself by the time class started. It took me two days to sort through the dumping ground that was my desk, but I threw away a lot, filed the important stuff and sold the rest. I have a portable file box and it has become my best friend when it comes to bills, school paperwork, pay stubs and even greeting cards.

    Good luck with everything – we are rooting for you! =)

  • #167180
    Avatar of Angelo
    Angelo
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    ValH,

    I’m kind of in the same situation as you, a one-room basement area for work, rest and play. As I’m moving in with my girlfriend in January, it’s imperative that I go through every nook and cranny (and under the bed, and under the couch, and behind the upright grand piano, and…) in the place and really cull the clutter that I’ve built up over the years.

    I started this project over the weekend. One thing that helped was removing any incentive to sit on my lazy butt, literally: I stopped by my local office-supply chain store, and purchased some cardboard storage/filing boxes. I’ve now got four sitting on my couch, labelled SELL, DONATE, RECYCLE, and SHRED, along with a huge garbage bag — which means there’s no room for me on the couch anymore!

    So, whenever I set foot in the room, I feel compelled to do some decluttering, if only to get my comfy couch back. :)

    Good luck!

  • #167191
    Avatar of Lounger
    Lounger
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    Now that’s a great idea, Angelo! Next time I need to attack my room (bedroom / study / workshop at the moment) the first thing I’ll do is stack stuff on chair in front of the computer – the internet being my biggest distraction.

  • #167192
    Avatar of Lounger
    Lounger
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    Actually, I’ll use drawing pins – nasty end up. That should do it.

  • #167196
    Avatar of Angelo
    Angelo
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    I will neither condone nor condemn the use of physical pain to motivate one’s uncluttering efforts, Lounger. Go with whatever peels your potatoes. :P

  • #167230
    Avatar of ValH
    ValH
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    All the random things I have for teaching can be such a clutter issue. There is a lot I may not have used, or have not used recently, but is something I need to keep because I very well might need it in the future. I am working on scanning things in, digital clutter is less visible than physical and easier to keep organized.

    Angelo – I love the idea of blocking where I want to sit, I think my toss, donate, recycle bags may move onto my desk in front of my computer screen.

    I have uploaded some pictures of my room before I started, prepare for clutter and very blue walls. (The links should bring you to the pictures in the album…I hope, it is my first time using picasa online.) I should not that these are just some of the horror of the room. And no real good views of the entire thing, it is hard to take a good shot of everything in such a small space. Plus it was hard to get anywhere but my desk. http://picasaweb.google.com/YoungJustice/Unclutter#5492321076841521506 http://picasaweb.google.com/YoungJustice/Unclutter#5492321088636361842 http://picasaweb.google.com/YoungJustice/Unclutter#5492321128674216722 http://picasaweb.google.com/YoungJustice/Unclutter#5492321170453370754

    Looking at them really makes me feel like a hoarder, although I want to point out, as my one justification, that this room is not very big, and basically contains my whole life.

  • #167231
    Avatar of badkitti
    badkitti
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    Are you able to keep some of the clutter for teaching in school? or try and make some of it eletronic is possible – I’ve found this has helped me a lot. This summer’s project is to go through the last remaining boxes and cull a lot of it. I want to scan the rest – I’ll try to borrow a scanner from a friend that saves stuff as word docs or pdfs.

    FWIW, I was expecting your room to look worse – I think it does only look bad as it is such a small space – I would take one corner and start there, and unclutter that. Your room looks like my uni room and home room did. I just had a moment one day where lots of ornamemts and stuff were removed. I never thought I’d do that, but the really sentimental stuff stood out and that was a small minority. I just read that back – it sounds patronising and I really don’t mean it to be.

    Maybe stash stuff in boes for a limited time and remove aything yo never missed or needed?

    Do you have a room that you could borrow for a weekend to spread out the stuff rom one corner to sort it out?

  • #167286
    Avatar of ValH
    ValH
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    Honestly, the pictures do not show much of the issue, which is that I have boxes of stuff under my desk, in my closet, and in the attic. Most of it is kids toys and such that I have not been able to part with. It is something I am going to work on this summer. My goal is not to eliminate that, but to at least lessen it. I was able to do this with some of my stuffed animals a couple of months ago. I pulled out a few special ones to save (at least for now) and photographed them before getting rid of. I was looking back at the pictures the other day and it made me so happy to see them. I get the same positive feeling/memory from the picture as I did with the actual toy.

    I went to IKEA today to finally pick up two glass doors for my new bookcase and a new desk. I think the desk with help me separate my room into work spaces for different tasks.

    I would say that I have reduced my clothing and books by a 4th (at least) which is a really good step forward for me, although not my final goal. I have also gotten rid of a lot of other random things, but have work to do there. And I have at least basically sorted out the rest, papers, kids toys/memories, art supplies, and so on. I just need to work on reducing those as well. I still have a ways to go, but I have been able to part with a lot of things that I would have thought would be harder to let go.

    Badkittie: I have a box of things that I did not have the energy to sort through sitting in another room to work on later. It was nice to just have that stuff cleared away for the moment. And I imagine that I will not miss any of it, which will hopefully make it easier to reduce down in the future.

  • #167291
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    ValH, you are on the right path–keep us posted!

  • #167304
    Avatar of Angelo
    Angelo
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    Great work! I’ll use your progress to motivate my own one-room decluttering efforts. :)

  • #167427
    Avatar of ValH
    ValH
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    Today is the 15th and that means my self-imposed goal number one, to get rid of enough stuff that I can really figure out how I want to organize my space. I would say that I met the goal, I know what I want and need and how much room I am willing to allocate to various places. I still have room to go before I have my room exactly as I want it, but I am happy with what I have done (and only now do I really get how much I really like clear space).

    My hardest task now is a box of essentially random things to sort, which I will likely be putting off for a while to give myself a break.

  • #167429
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    congratulations on reaching your goal!

    RE: the box of random things, it helps me to ask myself what would other people see if they looked at this particular item/box/whatever. And if it were someone else’s, and they were showing that to me, what would I think of it?

    That helps me distance myself from things and gain objectivity.

  • #167482
    Avatar of ValH
    ValH
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    @djk, I never really thought about looking at things that way, but I think that is perfect. I really think I could use that perspective for getting rid of some of the random things.

    Asking “What would the object mean to me as an objective observer.” And maybe even “What would the object make me think about the person who owns it.” Not that I think think I should overly worry about the judgments of others, but they are far too often not something I think about.

  • #167493
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Living in just one room.

    yeah, it is not about living for other people’s judgment, it is more about trying to see an item with someone else’s eyes to gain perspective.

    A trick I learned from my best friend, who is enormously talented in design, decorating and uncluttering: She takes a hand mirror and stands with her back to the room and looks at the room through the mirror. With the mirror image you get a new sense of how your room, your stuff, looks.

    I do that sometimes too, when I remember LOL, but my trick is to take random digital shots on my phone then look at my things with a critical eye. Nobody lives in a magazine-perfect house (ever notice there are magically NO cords or cables anywhere? all photoshopped out) but nonetheless living in beauty is possible. Clutter has no place in beauty.
    (NOTE: I am absolutely no minimalist, but by clutter I mean real clutter. Junk. Useless, cluttery junk.)

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