After living here for about a year, I said to a friend one day that trying to keep a farm clean and organized was like trying to keep several houses clean and organized. She said she'd never thought of that -- and neither had I until I'd lived out here for long enough for "stuff" to catch up with us.
Time for brutal honesty here -- I've never been the neatest person in the world. I try though! I used to read every book I could get my hands on -- Clutter's Last Stand, Confessions of an Organized Housewife, that one by the Slob Sisters (can't remember the title) whose system is used by Flylady. Yeah, I've done Flylady, too. Flylady provided us with some interesting experiences. When I realized that our coffee table was a hot spot, my answer was to donate the coffee table to our church garage sale. Bad idea! The couch then became the hot spot!
I'm thinking about this now because school starts in just over a week, and of course, my big goal was to get organized this summer. Never happened! The library still has piles of mail, books, magazines, etc. Of course, I have those handy little magazine holders, but they're all full, so do I buy more; or do I take the time to go through the magazines to rip out the articles I want to keep, and then do what with them? I know Clutter's Last Stand would say to just throw away all the magazines, but really?
Then there are the organizational challenges unique to a shepherdess -- what does one do with all those bags of roving? Currently they're in the guest room and the library. I've contacted a fiber co-op to become a member and put some of my roving with them, but I will still have a lot left.
Then there are two barns -- they are huge hot spots! They're 30 X 100 feet and 36 X 60 feet, and they just fill up from wall to wall. They are gigantic clutter magnets! How do you keep that from happening? You don't want to throw stuff out because you're pretty sure you'll need it someday, but how do you organize all that stuff? When it comes to storing stuff in a barn, we're not talking about essentially worthless items like old magazines; we're talking about old doors, windows, lumber, hardware, and things that add up to a lot of money. And yes, we will use them when we make more chicken tractors, goat pens, and other animal enclosures. (And hopefully a potting shed someday!)
With only a week left before school starts, I really want to get 'er done! I decided to teach only one class this fall, so I will have five days every week to devote to the homestead, but I'd like everything organized before the semester starts. The days will soon be filled with harvesting tomatoes, making and canning salsa, and freezing tomatoes. In addition to the stuff around the homestead, I still need to finish my syllabus and lesson plans for the class I'm teaching.
So, what have you found effective and really helpful in dealing with clutter in your house, your yard, or your barn? I'm really looking forward to reading your suggestions!