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A Well-Organized Home

What to keep and what to scrap.

Sometimes, I think about all the crap that I have in my house. There’s just so much stuff that it seems overwhelming to ever try to sort through it all. I have boxes filled with books and shoes and random papers and old stuffed animals. My mother’s basement is filled with all of the things I bought too many times, remains of all of the thirteen moves I’ve made over the last six years.

But sometimes, I imagine sorting through it all and finding the items that I actually want to keep in my house. I think the keep pile should and will be very small, while the give away pile should easily be quite large. Here’s a list of the items I would keep. Perhaps it will help you sort through things in your house:

Books and bookshelves. I never want to throw any of my books out. From my ratty paperbacks to the few, few fancy hard covers I receive on holidays, I really like to look at all the books I have read and all the books I have left to read. Which is many. Dream goal: someday to get them all alphabetized.

Cooking supplies and shelving devices. I always think that I have a whisk or a beer bottle opener or a 1/4 cup measuring cup only to find that I have none of those things when I go searching for them. I wouldn't get rid of any of my cooking supplies, no matter how obscure, but I would like to have shelving units on which I could organize them well. Also one of those nifty racks in '90s dramas to hang all of my pots and pans. Truth: I want my life to be like those '90s dramas. In which everyone paints in giant loft apartments by the sea.

Lamps. Lamps--no matter how nondescript the physical body of the lamp looks--make every room look infinitely brighter. Even a shabby room looks a lot better with better lighting.

Board games. If you have a nice place, you're going to have a bunch of people stopping by to check it out. Might as well have something for them to do.

Family photos, scrapbooks and awards. I still like rereading my diary from when I was ten years old and hated my teacher, and wondering about my grandmother's class from high school. You'll want to keep all of that stuff, even the dented and the damaged.

What would you keep if you did a complete overhaul of your home?