Still Decluttering

I am still working on decluttering and organizing the bedroom. My home is still in a general state of disarray. It's madness. I am so tired of this particular household project. A day does not go by when I wish I'd never started on it. But I did start on it, and now I have to just keep plugging away at it until it's done.

On the upside, I am on the downhill slope and believe I might actually be ready to paint the room and buy new furniture soon. Yesterday, we dropped off a huge load of stuff at Goodwill, which helped me see that there isn't all that much left to do. Mostly, I'm down to organizing my arts and crafts supplies. That's a pretty big task though. I have A LOT of arts and crafts supplies, and for now, they all have to fit into that one closet. I'm hoping to get the fabric all folded and on the designated “fabric” shelf, and then…

::snip::

I started listing off the things I still need to do, and it started feeling long and overwhelming and like I'll never get done with it all, so let's just pretend I only have to get the fabric folded and shelved, okay? If I think about more than that, I'll just crumple to the floor in a heap and give up.

Other than slaving away in the bedroom, I've been doing … nothing. I mean nothing else. I have seriously been spending day after day digging through all the crap I have collected and hauled around over the course of my adult life. Occasionally, I stop to eat, sleep, do household chores, and watch a movie. Like I said, it's madness. The payoff –in the form of a stylish and comfortable bedroom– better be worth it.

Guess I'll have a second cup of coffee and then get back to work in that damned bedroom. I swear the only thing keeping me going at this point is the hope of having a new and comfy mattress to sleep on soonish. It could just be on the floor of an empty room at this point, and I wouldn't even care. Who needs furniture?!

Nice Balls

The whole decluttering and simplifying my life thing is still ongoing. I've been working on the bedroom closet for about two weeks now. Two weeks. It's getting there, but the whole house is in a general state of disarray. I think once we get the stuff going to charity out of the house, it won't look like a madwoman or hoarder lives here. That's all I can really say about it. I'm so tired of working on it, but it's got to be done.

The bedroom closet is where I store a lot of my arts and crafts supplies. Mostly the yarn and fabric. It's never been, how shall I say it, neatly and usefully organized. Due to that fact, I usually don't know what I have, which leads to buying more, and on the whole … not a lot of any of it getting used for projects. Basically, that collection of goods has just been sitting in there taking up space. So I am sort of excited about having it all organized so I can walk in there and pull out something when I have an idea. Won't that be nice?

The fabric is pretty easy to organize. It's folded and flat and easily stacked. The yarn? Not so much. Different sized balls, and skeins, and hanks. Whether it's in bags or boxes or on shelves, it always just looks like a jumbled mess. Especially since the skeins one finds in stores are so loose and come from the factory with a high propensity to tangle and fall apart into one giant knot of uselessness. They suck.

So what to do about it other than deal with the status quo? Buy a yarn ball winder. They make tidy center pull balls of yarn that are flat on the top and bottom. They are called cakes. Cakes of yarn. They take up less space, are easy to work with, and they can be stacked one on top of the other in boxes or on shelves. They can even be attached to a sheet of pegboard with simple L-shaped hooks (something I hope to do at some point in the future). In short, a ball winder seemed to be needed to solve my yarn crisis.

I agonized about buying a ball winder the last couple of weeks, as I always do when facing the prospect of buying a single purpose tool that itself will take up precious space in my small home. Sure, there are cheap ball winders, but they are made of plastic and the long term reviews aren't good. If I have to buy a new cheap ball winder every few months, it's not so cheap. There are also ball wonders far out of my budget. Like WAY out of my budget both in dollars and storage space. There were surprisingly few in the mid-range, so I focused on those and picked one that got good reviews, looked sturdy, and wasn't too terribly expensive. Two days ago, I ordered it.

It arrived today! Took a few minutes to put it together and figure out how it worked, but then I loaded it up and started cranking away!

It took five minutes to turn a loose and somewhat tangled old skein of acrylic yarn into a nice fat tidy cake ready for using!

Then I went a little crazy, because it was so fast and easy. A hour later my stacks of tidy yarn cakes had grown!

I think I'm going to have too much yarn to store it in the shoe shelves I put in the closet (used to be in the living room holding knitting stuff), so I'm going to use those for storing my fabric. The yarn is going to be in the plastic storage bins labeled by color family. Eventually though, I want to do the pegboard storage system, because it's so artsy and fabulous looking! I just don't have a wall to spare right now. Eventually, I will!

Now I'm super inspired to hurry up and finish going through all the non-craft supply junk in the closet (you know, like clothing and board games) so I can get moving on the organizing. As horrible and tiring as Project Declutter: The Bedroom Edition has been, once it's done it's going to be AWESOME!

And yarn ball winder is just wonderful. I wish I'd bought one years ago, and I am so glad I finally did. And if you too are thinking a yarn ball winder might change your yarn crafting life, this is the one I bought. I've only had it one day, so I don't yet know how well it will perform over time, but it feels very sturdy, other people like it, and I'm fairly confident I'll get what I paid for it out of the thing long before it dies on me.

Idiocracy Ahead

Pulizzi credulously asks, “Why should college students read narrative prose when they get their fill of stories from television, cinema, and interactive video games?”

I encourage you to read the original New Republic article this quote is pulled from as well as the Daily Beast editorial pointing out the flaws in its reasoning. I've only read half of the New Republic piece, because it is –in as few words as possible– a steaming pile of ignorant bovine excrement.

At some point, I suspect I will be crafting an appropriately lengthy blog post on this subject, after my brain cells cease firing simultaneously and my fight-or-flight response turns off its emergency warning system informing me I need to get out of America immediately, before it turns into Idiocracy.

Thinking Out Loud

I need some new craft tools. Okay, maybe “need” isn't entirely the right word, but you know what I mean. It would be nice to have the tools I feel I need, though I'm sure my life will go on swimmingly without them. It has so far!

On the one hand, yarn which has been wound on a ball winder takes up less space. I have a lot of hanks and skeins of yarn. Sunday, I will be getting yet more yarn (and crochet and knitting needles), that belonged to my recently deceased cousin. I barely have room for the yarn I already own, so anything that makes it easier to store would be awesome. If I wind it all into center pull balls by hand, I will be at it until the day I die, so a ball winder would be nice to own. Cheap ball winders are cheaply made, and if there's one thing I've learned, it's not to scrimp when buying tools. You just end up paying more in the end. While I'm not inclined to pay $200 for the best ball winder ever, because once the heavy lifting of balling up my and my mother's yarn stashes is done, the thing isn't going to get used a lot. Therefore, I have picked out a mid-range $50 ball winder that gets good reviews and will probably do the job I need it to do for the rest of my natural life.

On the other hand, I've really been enjoying working with wire and have an eye to eventually making myself (and maybe my friends and family) some jewelry I designed myself. Would make some awesome Xmas presents! Problem is some of the wire working tools I own are not appropriate to the delicate task (because I have used them for more industrial purposes where mangling the wire isn't a problem), and I lack a few tools that would really make the whole process easier and the outcomes better. Also, better wire would help. All of these things add up to $50. Amazing isn't it?! I swear it's like everything always adds up to $50 these days.

So I've been debating with myself on the merits of buying one thing over another. Sure, I could probably afford to buy both, but they haven't yet genetically engineered a tree that spouts dollar bills, and I'm not yet made of money myself, so I prefer to be as frugal as possible … and I'm trying to trim down the number of “things” I own to simplify my existence, so just buying everything all the time is like the antithesis of that philosophy. No matter how much I might WANT (or, you know “need”) all the things all the time, I can't let myself just buy them all. My house is too small, and my bank account isn't that large either. Also, they aren't really necessary for my existence, like say food and utilities.

In the end, the thing I should spend $50 on is silver paint or ink and black acrylic to get to work on the project I have decided will be the first use for that roll of primed canvas taking up space in my living room. I don't know if any of you remember this little painting I did some months ago (exceedingly long blog post about it here).

I've decided to go ahead with the gallery wall filling series of interconnected paintings based on this tiny little thing. Possibly even some metal sculpture work as well in the same theme. People love this little painting (as do I), and of all the work I have been doing, it's the one that won't leave me alone. It keeps screaming MORE DO MORE AND BIGGER at me. So I'm going to do just that. But to do that, I am going to need a lot of black paint, and I need to do product testing to find some silver ink or paint that will be easier to work with and better than Sharpie markers (nothing against them, I love them, but on the scale I'll be working they won't do). So that's what I should be buying, but I'm pretty sure all that paint and the new brushes I'll need are going to cost significantly more than $50. In fact, I'm sure I don't want to think about how much it'll cost.

So … I might as well spend a piddling $50 on either yarn organization or wire working, right? It's not going to make a dent in the major project in the long run. And like I said in the post I linked to above, I can't really start working on large canvases until such time as I have gotten my workspace in order, and because I am in the middle of doing just that (this week I have begun tackling the closet which contains more art supplies than it does clothes creating madness in my whole home), obviously anything that brings me closer to being ready for working on this project is technically money spent investing in said project! Right? RIGHT?! You know you agree with me. My logic is impeccable.

Therefore, the correct choice for what to spend $50 on is clear. I should buy the ball winder, so my yarn takes up less closet space, thereby allowing me to move things taking up room in my workspace into the closet, which will facilitate my being able to work on large canvases and get moving on this project.

Justification complete! A ball winder it is!