Dorm room lessons in organizing

Filed under: Articles,Uncategorized — Colleen at 9:35 am on Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The back to school season has had me reflecting on my college days.  As I browse all the dorm room essentials in store circulars, I’m reminded of a time when all of my prized possessions somehow fit into one car and I somehow squeezed them all into a small room, shared with a roommate who also filled the space with her prized possessions.

Sure, I had storage space at my parents where I housed the rest of my “stuff” and my seasonal clothing.  But everything I needed fit into the back of a mini-van.  These days it is a challenge to fit the kids and supplies in the mini-van for just one week at the shore.

But fitting everything into the car to go off to school was a challenge too.  The bare essentials were packed first, then each additional item had to be assessed as to whether it was “worthy” of the space it would consume.  My items were essentially assigned into “A-list” and “B-list” categories.  The end result was that I was surrounded by only things I needed and loved.

These days, keeping only the “A-list” items can be a challenge.  Having more space invites more stuff.  And without limited space you’re not forced to go through it all.  Before you know it your house is not a home, it’s a big storage unit.
When I organize my own home today, I strive to live by the principal of only surrounding myself with things I need and love.  I organize rooms first by placing the essentials in the space, and then assessing each additional item, asking “Do I love it?”.  I try to assess the feeling I have to each object.  If the item evokes negative feelings (guilt, regret, denial) I do not keep it.  Those “skinny” jeans remind me that 3 kids later, my waist has gotten bigger.  That gift from the office party reminds me of negative memories of a former boss.  A pretty picture frame from an old friend, is a reminder of an ended friendship.    They’re all gone, not making the cut.

When I look around my home, I want to only see only things that I love and treasure, and smile at the memories they trigger.  Life isn’t as carefree as my college days, but less stuff I own, the more carefree I feel.

E-cyling made easy… and FREE!

Filed under: Office,Uncategorized — Colleen at 11:47 am on Saturday, September 6, 2008

For anyone who knows me I’m a big fan of Costco.  You can’t beat their 1/2 sheet of birthday cake for $16, chocolate moose filling with butter cream icing- yum!  And where else can I grab a soda and large hot dog for $1.50, and have enough to share with my daughter?    And I haven’t even mentioned their free samples…

But this week, after testing out their electronic trade-in and recycling program, I’m a even bigger fan.

To test out their program, I packaged up my old computer monitor that recently died and has taken up residency in my storage area.  It’s been gathering dust for a couple months as I waited for the e-cyling fairy (AKA my husband) to deal with it.  I think I was intimidated by it.  It’s a beast, a big and bulky old CRT monitor.  Fearful that my basement would start to become the electronic graveyard, I logged onto

With a few clicks, Costco emailed me a pre-paid UPS shipping label.  I packaged up my monitor (decluttering my shredder bin by using shredded paper to help cushion the package) and headed to the UPS kiosk at my local Staples to drop it off.

But it was slightly more complicated than that.  In addition to my 42 pound box – (I told you it was a beast), I had my 6 year old, my 4 year old, and my 8 month old with me.  Before unleashing the children, I grabbed a shopping cart from the shopping center parking lot and got the box situated.  With the baby strapped in the cart with the huge box jutting out, we headed into Staples  and within 5 minutes, I was feeling set free from my electronic clutter and empowered.  “If I can take out 3 children and a 42 pound box, I can do anything!”  It was remarkably easy.

Try it for yourself and free  yourself from your electronic graveyard.  Costco will even tell you if your item is of value and give you trade-in $ for the item.  Check it out!