Battling Clutter

One of the biggest battles we face living in a small space, is clutter. When we moved in last March and when we moved back in, in December, it seemed like we were covered in boxes and bags.

One drawback to small space living is lack of storage. You really have to think about what you have and what you need verses the available space you have.

Now, campers do have storage boxes, some that you can access from either inside or outside access panels, some that are only accessible from outside, but the size and shape of what you’re storing matters since it has to fit in them.

When we moved into the camper, I was very thankful for the years I’d spent following the Flylady system. Because of her, I had already released a lot of clutter. Had I not already been used to, and involved in, the process of doing this, it would have been much harder. I can say with complete honesty that if you’re planning to move into a small space, it’s always best to start going through things, and getting rid of things, as early as possible. The truth is, no matter how much you get rid of in advance, you’re going to find yourself with more than is going to fit in a small space anyway. You’ll go through the process again as you’re moving in.

Our weakness with clutter has always been sentimental decorative pieces. We love dragons and had quite the collection when we moved into the camper, counting them among some of the things we “just couldn’t part with”. I envisioned some small shelves in the living room for them or something along those lines.

When we moved in, the living room was so small that there really wasn’t any floor space for shelves and the walls are all windows, so no space there either. They ended up nearly piled on top of each other in the little space we did have and didn’t look attractive at all.

We ended up going through them again and got rid of most of the collection. It was hard, but it was necessary.

Another concession I had to make was with our altar. Before, I’d had a rather large, working altar. There’s no room here for something like that, so the altar pieces are now scattered around the house and if I need to do something, I gather up what I need at the table or do simple workings, which works just fine as well.

Neither of these things were concessions I originally wanted to make, but to make this lifestyle work, it had to be done or we’d have spent every day tripping over things and you do that enough in a small space as it is.

Now that the original clutter has been handled (mostly – no body is perfect), what we have to be careful of is bringing new things in. We’re pretty “wall-to-wall”, so I’m constantly asking “where are we going to put that”.

A perfect example was the purchase of the much-needed propane heater. During the winter, it’s already a little in the way, but we deal with it because we’re using it. In the summer, it’ll need to be put away, out of the way. We had to decide how and where it will be stored when it’s not in use. So, every item we bring home has to go through this, even if it’s something we need.

Multi-use and multi-purpose items work best. Like the camp shower. When not in the bathroom being used for it’s intended purpose, it hangs in the kitchen to be used for rinsing dishes and washing hands. It gets used all day, every day, and we love things that work like that. When we fix the plumbing and no longer need it, it can either be folded small for storage or given to our son-in-law who loves to camp out. This was something we discussed in the store before we bought it.

The truth is, clutter can easily take over your life and home no matter the size space you live in. “If you don’t love it, or use it, let it go”-Flylady website. Those are words we live by!

Crystal ~TTH