Unfuck Your Habitat

You're better than your mess.

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This is the spot where the giant storage basket used to sit.


After I finally managed to make use of the giant storage basket, this is the spot where I put all the bags of stuff to get rid of until I did so today. This is the spot that represents all the possibilities that come with renewal and reorganization. Maybe it’s where I can finally get a file box for all my paperwork like I’ve always wanted. Maybe it’s the future home of my knitting supplies which currently live in bags awkwardly shoved between my desk and bookshelf. Maybe I will leave it empty as a reminder of all the work I’ve done improving my living space, a little bit of floor to enjoy. Maybe —


Oh. Yeah.

Or I guess it can be yours. Like everything else in my apartment.


As I’ve been working on Project Unfuck My Life, one thing I’ve come to appreciate is the importance of good storage. If you live in a tiny studio apartment like mine, your options are basically less stuff or better organized stuff in order to make the most of what very limited storage space you have. I’ve been getting rid of a lot — it’s all going on the curb or to Goodwill tomorrow — but if you’ve been reading my posts you’ll also have noticed my repeated mention of baskets. They’re cheap — you can find them in many shapes and sizes at the dollar store, or you can scale up a bit and get nice-looking wooden or cloth ones at the likes of Target, Michael’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc — and they’re just really useful. Not only do they contain a pile of stuff so it doesn’t spill all over the place, I find them far more visually pleasing than the pile of stuff itself. Plus they allow you to better utilize vertical space, which is more important when you have a tiny 350 sq ft apartment footprint to work with.

A bunch of basket example pictures, including some before-and-afters, after the cut.

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I’m sure I’m not alone in the “Wow, the holidays were crazy and my house has been a mess ever since!” category, right? At least I hope not!

Pre-holiday madness + post-holiday madness + I just want to relax = A messy house. For the last month (or more) I’ve been seriously slacking off. But today, with a helpful reminder from UfYH, I decided to do something about it.

I started with the guest room. That poor little room, crammed full of stuff, mostly empty boxes. It was so packed my brother had to stay with my parents over the holidays, and he always stays with me. Sorry, bro. The dining room still had a lot of collateral damage as well, so I took care of that too.


Obligatory cat pic: Wait, you’re recycling these? I haven’t even climbed in them yet!

After about three 20/10s (did some work in the kitchen and living room as well) I managed to de-clutter these two rooms.


Yay for getting back on track! It feels good, you guys should totally try it.


So I had to cancel my plans for the weekend because I’m too busy having the flu.

Got sick of being sick so I decided to get to work.

This was my makeup collection last week. I made a post about it in hopes of shaming myself into action.


And then today I got to work.

Brace yourselves. This is magnificent. With fancy collage format and everything. Because that’s how I roll.


Isn’t it beautiful?

*wipes away tear*

I love my new acrylic drawer thing. Fits nearly everything- there’s 6 eye palettes and there have to be over 50 pencil things and it all sits nicely in this 10x7x7-ish cube and it cost me $35 with shipping. It’s see through so I don’t forget what makeup I own. I tend to do that if I put it all out of sight.

I also have a helmer from ikea for my np stash which has plenty of space left over for the stuff I use less frequently.

So this is me every time I walk by my sink:


The flu might have something to do with the vomit part, but there’s shock and awe too.


As a final recap, this is what I started out with back in May:



It got better and worse in varying degrees over the months, but it wasn’t until the run-up to Christmas that I decided I needed to concentrate on it, once and for all. It’s the warmest room in the house, and I thought it would be nice to hang out in here with the kids for most of Christmas day, watching movies and such.  (Presents and breakfast will be done in the living room, as per family tradition, and dinner will be done in the kitchen, but the rest of the day we can hang out here.)

Over the course of 4 days, we (myself, plus the 3 kids) turned the computer room from (roughly) what you see above to this:





Cleaning out the vacuum’s filter helped a lot, but there was also a blockage that I wasn’t able to find; B did, so it’s working now!  \o/


That’s B’s desk on the left there.  It’s still a little messier than I personally would like it, but it’s HIS desk, so HE can do it if he wants to.


We didn’t use 20/10s (mainly because my 2 youngest spend more time standing around looking lost than actually doing anything; in 20 minutes they wouldn’t get anything done) but we did concentrate on one area of the room at a time.  We worked on it this way:

  • started with the floor in front of the dresser
  • then I did the corner to the left (and my desk) on my own
  • then we worked on the corner to the right
  • then I did the top of the dresser on my own
  • then the couch and the corner by the door.  

I had told B my plans for the room re: Christmas, so he did the opposite wall (where the radiator is) on his own, since it was mostly his stuff anyway (and still is, that’s a bunch of his tools up there, but at least it’s neat and organized!).

One unfucked computer room, all ready for Christmas!



This is the pile of stuff in my parent’s driveway that came out of the basement.  the footprint is roughly 15 by 10.  There are still items in the garage on shelf (mostly chemicals) that need to be disposed of.  At least 4 contractor bags of clothing gathered for donation and about 7 contractor bags of just garbage were generated.


The middle of the basement is at about 25% of its original footprint, it now only extends about 1.5-2 feet from the support eaves.  Before this project took place, the footprint was as high as 4-5 feet from the support eaves, and no less than 3. 

Items removed from this area include the following

  • 5 boxes of train set related items as well as the large wooden control panel (to be given to my cousin).  
  • 1 wall-mounted oven and 1 electric range which were removed from the kitchen when it was remodeled (and I still have no ideawhythey were saved in the first place).
  • 2 white childhood dressers - 1 of which was badly water damaged
  • 1 white childhood desk- badly water damaged
  • 1 multicolored night stand (was ok but still not useful)
  • 4 bins of items related to my older sister’s college experience- books, dorm supplies, notebooks etc.

It now has only 1 metal shelf (which we do need to do a smaller project on)

it contains 2 bins of my mother’s summer clothing (instead of 3).  A massive box of photographs which as a family we do need to go through (for fun and so we don’t loose them to potential compression damage). and some cushions to some wicker furniture in the white garbage bag.  The other items include a rocking chair which was saved,  two empty plastic bins which is stacked with the wicker basket and a roll of carpet remnant which could be used if my parents needed to recarpet the living room (which they should either clean or re-do because it has been about 20 years since that was done.


This is something I’ve been meaning to do for months, ever since I found out about Unfuck Your Habitat. But I’ve been really depressed recently (or rather, my whole life) and it is SO HARD to get started on a mess that penetrates so deeply. Every time I tried to get started, I would get overwhelmed. I don’t know HOW to clean.

But my friend kept saying, “If there’s anything I can do just let me know” and I just thought, there’s nothing. There’s nothing that would make me feel better.

Then the other day I said, “I thought of something you can do.”

So we spent TWO DAYS unfucking my room. Left pictures are before, right pictures are after. We did a really deep clean, too, under the bed is even clean. It’s amazing……


now to keep it that way @_@


Aaaaaand my final unfucking of the weekend! My laundry room. The two remaining totes are full of things that need to go to an undetermined area. Just not sure where to put that stuff!!!

So happy I unfucked my WHOLE apartment this weekend!!! No more living out of boxes! And now… my reward. Relaxing the whole evening preparing for the season premier of The Walking Dead.

Commence the Rick-tatorship!


Kitchen… Unfucked.

Sometimes all the little shit just adds up. Like candy, paint chips, etc. It really doesn’t take that long to deal with… it just LOOKS like it will. This was done in one 20/10.

One room left!!!


So, I discovered the UFYH page last night and did some reading of the tips etc. This morning I woke up and knew I needed to keep busy (day one of quitting smoking). I decided, why not use some of these tips I learned last night to get some packing and cleaning done. Oh. My. God. I have spent about 6 or 7 hours working on this today, with 15 minute breaks every hour.


It’s a wreck! It was so messy that just walking in there stressed me out, forget trying to get anything done. Oh, but wait until you see this… Not seen in the following pictures are a gigantic bag of trash and an even bigger bag of clothes to be donated.



The worst room in my house is my bedroom. Hands down. I wanted to tackle at least one corner this weekend to get started with the Great Unfucking of 2012. Here is the before and after of my bedside table. What a disaster that corner was. It actually took a lot longer than expected, which is a little disheartening. Plus it has created a ripple effect, I’ve got to make a home for the books & magazines. That means I need to clean off the bookshelves in the living room. I’ll get to that soon, I hope. At least this corner is clean! I got that new table for Christmas last year, so it only took me 7 months to work up the motivation to use it. Just gotta keep reading UfYH to stay on task. One day the floordrobe will be no more! 

The new table looks great!


At long last, more unfuckery!  Today I attacked a literally-hidden corner.

I keep that painting there for a few reasons:

  • It isn’t quite finished and I’ve been meaning to do something about that for ages
  • I don’t have any particularly better place to store it
  • It hides an otherwise terrible corner

There are 2 unused printers, an unused monitor (to be used soon), a tub of electronic stuff (already sorted), a crate full of sketchbooks, a bag full of sketchbooks, a pile of drawings and binders full of drawings, two piles of assorted papers, a box of old cards, and my paint cart.

There ended up being 36 sketchbooks, and I know I’ve gone through and gotten rid of sketchbooks from the crate and bag before…  I tore useful drawings (which were then sorted/stored those appropriately) out of and got rid of some, kept in tact the oldest ones which I really want to keep, and removed drawings from and set aside those which weren’t fully used.  I ended up tossing 22 sketchbooks, and it is amazing.

Paint cart got organized, assorted papers were tossed or filed, printers are staying there for now.  The blue crate is full of blank sketchbooks and unused supplies (some of which was previously in a crate on the shelf, which now just contains old artworks, including the stuff which was kept from today).  Painting is back in place in front of the corner, but now it’s not for purpose of hiding things, and there’s space to store inactive paintings behind the easel now!

It took an entire afternoon of 20/10s, but I no longer dread what lurks behind the easel.  Thanks UfYH!


Yesterday I cleaned the first half of the studio closet.  As promised, here is the second half, unfucked without excuses.

I removed all of the hanging costume pieces (there are still several tubs of costumery, but that’s okay because it’s contained and not interfering with studio storage) and put them in the front room coat closet.  I also removed a few small boxes from the open tub which contained assorted unrelated nonsense.  I redistributed the tub stacking so I can use the flat space on the far right when I move more stuff into the closet.  I also moved some portfolios into the top which I had in the main studio before.

Not pictured: my now slightly-more-fucked studio.  I suppose I will be getting to main studio unfucking sooner rather than later!