Reclaiming Shelves Part 2 and Ongoing Clutterbusting

Reclaiming Shelves Part 2 and Ongoing Clutterbusting

Last weekend I spent time decluttering my livingroom, which doubles as my office, into a more livable space. It had been WAY too cluttered for too long, and I realized that I’d been going to Starbucks primarily because I didn’t find staying at home very pleasant.

Here’s what’s new this week!

Tidier Shelves

All books pushed back. It could be better!A piece of pine used to 'rack' the book spines evenlyImprovement!

One of the problems I had before was my tendency to put junk on the shelves, which made them look untidy. This was a by-product of not having a home for everything. I also realized that one factor that contributed to the sense of untidiness was the jagged line of book spines, so I lined them up neatly as I’d seen on other people’s shelves. I even cut a piece of pine to server as a “book rack” to help align the spines. As a side benefit, there no longer is space to put large items in front of the books, so that might help me stay tidier.

Bag storage

The bags are off the floor and on the wall I have several book bags that I tend to cycle through depending on my needs of the day. If I am bringing my laptop with me to work, generally I need some notebooks and some accessories. Sometimes I just bring my iPad and a keyboard. Other days, I am packing a digital SLR with the laptop. Sometimes I am driving, and sometimes I am walking. Sometimes I have to carry a ton of gear. There’s a bag for each of these occasions.

I saw Rubbermaid’s “Fasttrack” garage organization system, which consists of a plastic-covered metal rail that screws into the wall. You can then position various hooks and other accessories on the rail, which allegedly supports 1000 pounds when installed properly. The system itself has a clean utilitarian appearance, so I test-installed a small rail in the stairwell leading to the basement, which is near my office. This worked out, so I installed a second longer rail. So now, my bags are easily accessible AND off of the floor. I am so happy.

Remaining Clutter

miscellaneous old bills and a t-shirt for cleaning my glassesa collection of miscellaneous broken plates and human-cat hygiene itemsa folding tray with an issue of Saveur and specialty camera mounting gear

With the books and bags handled, there are still a few remaining piles of junk in the living room area.

  • There is a box of old bills w/ a t-shirt I use for cleaning my glasses. In general, I don’t have a good filing system for old bills, so I need to make a home for those. I probably can start getting rid of old records too and reclaim some space, but that would mean SORTING them. Ugh.
  • In the hallway, there is a sad table that has a pile of homeless items: some broken plates that I need to mend and hang up on the wall (they have some sentimental value), along with a cat brush, nail clippers, and other miscellaneous items like a pack of seeds (?), some receipts, and some keys. Oh, and a lamp. I think I just want to move that table somewhere else, but I’m not sure where to put it.

  • There’s some miscellaneous camera gear that I should put away, and then I can put away this folding table. There’s a magazine too; I don’t really have a good place to put magazines. Perhaps I can get one of those magazine holder things that go next to your couch. Also, I have a growing mound of Emergent Task Planner notebooks that need filing or shipping to the warehouse. I need to figure out wholesale SKUs, and I’ve been dragging my feet on that.


p>After I take care of this stuff, then it’s a matter of maintaining the clutter. I haven’t even looked at the kitchen yet, and there’s the matter of my desk, which has a lot of small bits of paper clutter and notes. At least I am making some progress!


  1. Gary 11 years ago

    Applaud your efforts! Been my demon for years, but finally conquered it several years ago. Battle now is around staying the course and not re-cluttering. Try to live a “add one thing, take away one thing” mantra, but doesn’t always work. Love your bag solution…one area I’m still trying to figure out how to organize.

  2. penny 11 years ago

    but sorting is the fun part. it’s when the time comes to put away all the piles I made that i get derailed!

    Here’s how i’ve been attacking my pile of i-don’t-want-to-file-it-away: i either put on a shorter podcast (20-30 min) or i set a timer for just 10 minutes and i only work on it for that amount of time. i take a handful, process it, and when the timer goes off I must put it all away or back into the pile. Even if it goes back into the pile it’s at least pre-sorted to a great degree so eventually all i have to do is pick up those sorted piles and drop them in the files where they belong. if i’m listening to a podcast I like it’s fun work because I’m receiving the reward while i’m doing the unpleasant task.

    I like your bag solution. we store backpacks two to a coat hanger (one front one back, straps in the middle) in the coat closet. briefcases and messenger bags are in the expedit unit lined up as if they are magazines. My main bags are stored on a coat hook at hip height in my office.

    The cardboard magazine holders from Ikea are ok, I have some that are at least a decade old, but while the knuff’s are more expensive, they are definitely sturdier and look nicer!

  3. Richard Tubb 11 years ago

    Looking good David! Any time I find myself feeling a little overwhelmed I tend to declutter. It might be my bookcase, my wardrobe or just the home office. I find doing so gives me clarity on what I need to do next and helps me value the possessions I’m left with a little more.

    Regular decluttering is a good thing! :-)

  4. amy 11 years ago

    It must be that time of the year. I am in the process of doing the same thing and almost ready to blog about it. It takes time to clear the clutter, but you will reap so many benefits from a more visually orderly and appealing space. Keep up the good work!