So with Cartoonist Baby scheduled to arrive in just 4-8 weeks, Cartoonist Husband and I have ramped up our mad decluttering frenzy (last mentioned here in the context of ruthless knit and woven fabric executions).
Our 850-square foot 2-bedroom Brooklyn apartment is fabulous, and quite large by New York standards. But like many artistic types, we have a serious clutter problem. Which we've been denying over the years by cramming everything we couldn't fit elsewhere into the guest bedroom closets and drawers--off-season clothes, Masheka's guitar, my college photography and anthropology projects, Masheka's college film reels, holiday decorations, fabric, yarns, camping equipment and travel gear, freelance cartooning files we have to keep for tax purposes, every single diary or sketchbook I've ever kept, old letters and mementos from friends and family, photo albums, art supplies...
And now it ALL has to go somewhere else--or just GO. Once Cartoonist Baby outgrows her bedside bassinet, that's going to be her room -- and my mother's room, since my amazing mom is going to be watching our girl during the week when my 12-week maternity leave is up.
The process has been agonizing, to say the least. Sure, we've made big strides in the following areas:
- Clothing clutter: We've taken at least 10 bags worth to the local Goodwill in the last four months alone. This is made easier by my pregnancy--I can't try things on and go "well, MAYBE that could work if I just..." No, it couldn't. And if something was already too small BEFORE I was pregnant, keeping it is just self-flagellation. I've also sold about 7 pairs of shoes on eBay, and donated 3 or 4 more to Goodwill.
- Furniture clutter. We replaced the HUGE drafting table in our bedroom with a teensy folding one--we do most of our art digitally now anyway. My parents replaced the king-sized guest bed with a comfy folding couch bed. My bedside table has made way for our Arm's Reach Mini Bassinet.
- Random things we haven't used in years clutter: Goodbye, George Foreman grill--the broiler works better anyway.
- Stuff we won't be using for a long time clutter: We've loaned the camping stuff to my parents indefinitely.
- Book clutter: We've gotten rid of over 150 books via Amazon and Goodwill... leaving just 1,600 stacked 2 or 3 deep on a multitude of bookshelves. Progress, right?!
Other areas? Not so much. Art supplies are hard--I find it physically painful to throw away or donate a perfectly nice box of partly-used artist's pastels... even though I haven't drawn with pastels in over 10 years. Sentimental and creative stuff is even harder--some objects can be quickly photographed and then trashed (set lists from punk shows I saw in my teens, weird quilts I made from old T-shirts), but what to do with my boxes of letters and diaries and photos? As for all the paper-based business and other files, we HAVE to keep them for tax and other purposes. But the file cabinet is already full...
So, we're working on it.
Which brings me to the subject I've been avoiding: the yarn stash. As much as it pains me, it has just GOT to go. Cartoonist Husband and I have eight large storage drawers in the giant wall-to-wall bookshelves my father built in the livingroom, and I am currently hogging six: four with fabric, patterns and sewing notions, and two with yarn. Some of which can be seen on my Ravelry stash page...
It's not that I don't knit at all anymore--but since an intense bout with repetitive stress injury two years ago, I am a GLACIAL knitter. In order to preserve my hands and wrists for graphic design and cartooning, I knit maybe 1-2 hours a week, usually just during my weekly knitting group. At that pace, I'll still be working from my existing stash when Cartoonist Baby has gone off to college. (Luckily, machine sewing doesn't bother my hands at all--there are too many different varied movements involved).
So most of the yarn has to go (with the exception of the stuff I handdyed, and the Malabrigo, and the alpaca and...). And I don't really have any experience with yarn destashing--is it worth my time and trouble to try and sell the stuff on eBay or Etsy, or should I just donate it? And if I donate it--where to? I asked my knitting group but most of them are wrestling with stash problems of their own and have different tastes.
Please don't mourn for my knitting--I can always buy yarn for a specific project when I need it. At my pace, there is never a yarn emergency where I could possibly be stuck without something to knit.
Also, renting storage space? NOT an option. We tried that before and it was just a clutter-enabling money suck. If something isn't beautiful or useful enough to fit in the apartment as it is, well--it's just got to go.