Let's start with games. It's a Christmas tradition to add a new game every year so we have quite a few. Board games used to take up a lot of space in our home until we bought this cute little gaming table at a flea market. Could all our games fit in there? Only if I got rid of the space-consuming boxes. So I recycled them. The boards and card games just fit in the upper, shallow drawer. All the game pieces are in labelled plastic bags in the larger, oddly-shaped drawer. Smart, huh?
I'm a realist. My sister who's ten years older than I am can no longer knit because of arthritis, which is starting to bend my fingers, too. Knowing I have limited knitting years I went through and let go of all but the most joy-inspiring yarns. These I organized by yarn weight (thickness).
At the same time I went through years of knitting magazines and pulled out only the patterns I am likely to knit. These I put into a three-ring binder. Tidying up has pushed me in many ways. Tidying my knitting supplies pushed me to face the facts of aging and hone my supplies down to what I can realistically accomplish in a joyful fashion.
The cedar chest has a shallow drawer that has held all the other craft stuff in various states of disarray. Some of the disorder came from Too Many Things, including what we knitters call UFOs - UnFinished Objects.
Again, tidying craft projects requires honesty with one's self. I looked at embroidery projects, half-done and never started, and realized I don't like embroidering. Just as I did with books I would never start or finish, I thanked those projects and will send them on to someone else, along with the straight knitting needles I no longer use
The greatest disarray in that drawer comes from the knitting needles. Be they circular, straight, or double pointed no method of organizing them has worked for me. I gave up on the circular needles and just threw them all in a basket.
How to organize them? By size. I laid them all out by size to see where I had duplicates. It turned out I had three size 13 circular needles of the same length. Two are on their way to someone else. I decided to keep extra double pointed needles because they are easy to lose. It's good to have backups. How to hold them together, though?
Thinking of rubber bands and realizing we had none led me to think of the roll of twist tie wire I bought years ago to tidy Christmas lights and garlands. It has a cutter on it so you can cut the length you need. It looks like this. Longer lengths tied around coils of Christmas lights and garlands keep them from becoming tangled.
Shorter lengths worked well to hold the double pointed needles together. I crafted a container out of a paper-towel roll, cut to size with a pinking sheers and then stapled the ends shut. This keeps them together but leaves them tidy.
Could it work on circular needles? It held same-sized needles together but they were still springy and unruly. I was trying different ways to corral them together when I saw a roll of ribbon on my discard pile. Could that spool hold them? I unwound the ribbon and indeed, the spool works well. The drawer is now admirably tidy. Yay!
Using Marie Kondo's methods I was able to reduce three drawers of linens to one, two drawers of gift wrapping to one, and two drawers of candles to one. This freed up three drawers to hold plates, cups and saucers and a fourth drawer that now holds my difficult-to-tidy cleaning rags. Putting plates in drawers freed up space in the china closet but I realized after tidying it that I had not winnowed items that do not spark joy. I have so now and it is even more tidy.
That's it. The dining room is tidied thanks to honesty with myself about what I can accomplish, thanks to Marie Kondo's methods, and thanks to my own perseverance. Of course at the moment the dining room is full of stuff from the basement that is going to be sold in a yard sale. But that's a story for my next blog post.