Safety first: Clearing the back porch storage area

Clutter on the back porch partially blocks the back door

Between the ladder, broom and green grocery cart is a pile of junk you can’t see. All leave mere inches to open the door–not enough to squeeze through without moving obstacles into the kitchen.

Before I can begin work on the closet messes that are driving me crazy (see Starting anew: Clearing clutter is a process), I need to clear our back porch, which doubles as a storage area/utility room for our small apartment.

We’ve let it pile up so that getting in and out the back door is hazardous. Should we have an emergency, that blocked back door could cost us precious life-saving moments.

Cluttered back porch

The other side is fairly cluttered as well

We did a lot of re-organizing on this porch a couple of years ago, so it’s not as bad as it looks. Most of this clutter does not belong here. I’ll put those items where they belong, one at a time. Also, we no longer use some items. They will be easy to recycle.

We can open the door without difficulty now

We can open the door without difficulty now

After just two 15-minute clutter clearing sessions, I can open the back door freely. There’s more work to do, but it’s looking good.

The rest of the room is shaping up nicely too

The rest of the room is shaping up nicely too

I’ve rearranged the top shelves, consolidating some items, recycling others, and removing a few large, heavy items that might have knocked us out had they fallen as we attempted to escape during an earthquake. Getting to this point took two more 15-minute sessions.

Non-recyclable trash headed to the dumpster

Non-recyclable trash headed to the dumpster

During the cleanup, I sorted the trash, recyclable items and giveaways. Thankfully, we had only one small trash bag filled with plastic items that are not recyclable.

Two paper bags filled with recyclable cardboard, plastic and paper items, along with an old wooden crate

Two paper bags filled with recyclable cardboard, plastic and paper items, along with an old wooden crate

Happily, we were able to recycle two full bags of cardboard, paper and plastic items, as well as this wooden bin for which we had not found a use in five years. Time to go!

Giveaway items for Freecycle

Giveaways items for Freecycle.org

Finally, in two more 15-minute sessions, I advertised the reusable items we collected on Freecycle. They were gone within 24 hours.

We no longer need all these floor-cleaning tools because we’ve consolidated into one small cleaning tool, the Mint Robotic Floor Cleaner. Replacing four human-powered tools with one robotic tool that does the work for me? Now that’s a clutter clearing miracle!

Result. In six 15-minute clutter-zapping sessions, I made our back porch safer, organized the materials and tools we store so they’re more convenient to use and to put away, and gave away several items I don’t need anymore. That feels good!

I’ve got a few more small projects on the back porch before it’s as usable as we would like. I’ll take pictures of them and post as they come along.

What’s your next clutter-clearing project?

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