Forgotten tips for de-cluttering

Mass media often misses the two most essential ingredients when they provide organizing advice to home owners in northwest B.C.

Organizing is often a hype in the media this time of year

Organizing is often a hype in the media this time of year

Without fail, women’s magazines can be counted on to fill their January and February issues with articles advising how to lose weight or clear household clutter.

Which topic is dealt with in January, which in February, may differ but it’s bound to be one or the other.

And though both topics have been exhaustively written about for decades, magazine editors trust they will be supplying new tips to a fresh crop of readers.

Their advice for clearing clutter often begins with a trip to the nearest dime store for a trunk load of plastic bins, followed by inexpensive shelving chosen more for utility than decorating qualities.

Rarely do they mention duct tape or felt tip markers; both are essential to happy de-cluttering if you hope to find things months later.

Even if you’re not moving from one address to another or have a possible move on your radar, rolls of duct tape in several colours, several black felt tip markers, and clear plastic bags size 32 x 41 inches should be staples around the house like sugar and flour in the kitchen.

Plastic bags protect soft goods like quilts, while keeping contents visible. Duct tape will cling to the bags tenaciously as a shy toddler to Mom’s leg.

These suggestions  were reinforced for me this morning when I got carried away after lugging a two-week collection of recycling to the curb.

For weeks I had put off tidying up an accumulation of stuff that required shirtsleeve temperature to tackle.

With the electric heater warming the room to keep my compost worms and houseplants from undue chilling, I picked up an Olfa knife and set about collapsing sundry empty cardboard boxes from dog biscuits and dental chews, transferring crumpled Christmas wrapping paper to the recycling can, and re-hanging hand tools on their wall hooks, tools I’d been too lazy to hang up when I completed some small fix-it.

An hour after I started the ping-pong sized table was clear except for a spider plant that needed to be potted, and I had an unobstructed path to the room corner where boxes of items had been stored in a haphazard pile taking up acres of floor space.

The day most of the boxes arrived we were in the midst of a snowstorm.

I didn’t fuss about labelling, taping boxes closed, or much else.

I thought more of getting the boxes in and closing the door against the swirling snow.

Over intervening months more boxes had been added, some had been removed, and many a search had gone on hunting for some item without having a clue or memory of which box it might be in.

In addition, I had walked miles around the heap to reach a tool on the wall behind it.

Today I’d tame this untidy mess into a compact tower freeing maximum floor space.

I quickly learned the value of marking each box the way van lines do with the name of the contents’ owner, the room it came from or a general term for its contents such as clothing, videos, or books.

Cardboard boxes hold together best if supported by duct tape along all seams.

Stack boxes so upper ones don’t cave in the tops of the boxes beneath.

And label, label, label. On top. On one side. On one end so a label is visible from almost any view.

This will slow packing, but save time and aggravation later.

Instead of opening and checking most of the boxes on successive searches, you’ll be able to stand back and scan the labels for the carton you need.

Claudette Sandecki efficiently organizes her life from her home in Thornhill, B.C.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Northern Health to open 30 COVID vaccine clinics for oldest residents, Indigenous seniors

Health authority says it plans to vaccinate nearly 15,000 people in Phase Two

Ed Harrison tops school district by-election poll. (file photo)
Ed Harrison tops Terrace school district by-election poll

One of seven people vying to fill vacant seat

Paramedics Andrew Mills, left, and Rick Harwood are up from Victoria to help out local ambulance crews. (Photo courtesy BC Emergency Health Services)
Extra paramedics sent to Terrace

Area is experiencing high number of COVID cases

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Security has been stepped up at both Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace, pictured here, and at Kitimat General Hospital in Kitimat. (File photo)
Stillbirth reaction leads to more hospital security

Staff, physicians facing threats and harassment

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read