Posts Tagged ‘decluttering’
I forgot to take photographs of all the stuff we hauled out of the basement last week. For those of you who have a little time to kill, here’s the list – or what I can remember anyway – this is what I call decluttering!!
We started with a giant bag of clothing that Community Services for the Blind picked up.
The rest went to a consignment store where they will donate what they can’t sell to a local organization that supports foster children – perfect and easy.
The big things were two full-size rocking chairs (never used); one child-size rocking chair (never used); and a wooden rocking horse (not used for at least four years).
Then there were the dollhouse (we still have a nice wooden one); Lincoln Logs; pattern blocks, a “chest” full of dress-up clothes; a set of twin bed sheets; alphabet blocks; plain wooden blocks; several teething toys; a Baby Bjorn; and an electric bottle warmer (couldn’t have lived without that when we used it – highly recommended!)
My husband has promised to dispose of the computer, printer and monitor that have been down there for 3+ years, and I’m still chipping away at the clothing.
I had hoped to get a lot done today, but Vintage Girl is home sick with a fever, so I’ll have to tackle it another day. I know, most kids would happily sit in front of the TV, but she’s not most kids – at least in that regard. She has never enjoyed TV, but that’s another post on another blog!
I had to laugh when I saw this Purse Park advertised in the Solutions catalog. I’m sure Erin at unclutterer.com and all the wonderful simplicity sites and blogs out there would shudder at the thought of buying a special shelving unit just to store purses.
I had no business laughing, really, since just a few short months ago those shelves would not have been large enough to contain my purse collection . . . I do still have more than just one bag (true confessions) but the other one or two are for occasions when my big polka dot bag isn’t appropriate – and I sure do miss it when I have to leave it at home.
This got me to wondering: are ten purses clutter if they’re stored neatly in a Purse Park? Or only if they’re in a heap on your closet floor? Or are ten purses excessive regardless of how you store them? If you love them and use them all the time, are they clutter or treasures?
What do you think?
Some of what I had to do was busy work: enter email addresses into my address book; move my to-do’s from sticky notes and index cards to my master notebook; register for a freebie from credo; transfer money from savings to checking, stamp and mail bills, etc. etc.
I was thinking that some of these tasks are the kind of thing I put off because I don’t mind doing them; sort of a “save the best for last” kind of thing. What actually happens is that they never get done, and then become a source of anxiety.
Today I decided to tackle the pile from the top down, and whatever came next I would do, regardless of whether it was something I could do “later”, or seemed trivial; after all, if it was in my inbox I thought it needed doing at some point or other.
Now that the pile is gone, I feel so productive – and I can enjoy my date with my husband tonight all the more.
Nothing like an empty inbox and a clear desk to inspire romance!
I had a revelation recently. All the stuff I’ve been putting down in the basement – to avoid sending it to the landfill – will end up in the landfill anyway. What in the world did I think would happen to it?
I recycle, donate or consign a lot of things, but I’ve started tossing out items thatare broken, don’t work anymore, or are just too worn out to be useful to anyone. I still feel a pang of anxiety about the effect on the environment, but it feels so good to have the stuff out of my house and out of my life.
And now I won’t be digging through piles of broken appliances and worn-out shoes in my old age . . .
Today my left-handed dish glove sprung a leak; now aren’t you all glad I saved that left-handed glove the other night??
Kind of defeats the purpose of the gloves.
So here’s what happens once I’ve tossed the torn glove: I can’t bring myself to throw the other one away! I know this would probably make many tidy, clutter-free people nuts, but I feel compelled to keep the left because . . . what if, someday, I tear a left-handed glove?? Wouldn’t it be so satisfying to have a spare?
It’s a “waste not, want not” kind of thing that I got from my New Englander dad. He would never have thrown that glove out; he’d probably find some clever use for it in his workshop or out in the garden.
I haven’t gone that far, but I do, at this very moment, have one lonely lefty sitting in my cupboard, just waiting and hoping for the day when it can come to the rescue!
I figure that in the scheme of things, a couple of dishgloves won’t get in the way of my quest for order, serenity and peace of mind . . . what about you? Do you indulge in any similar quirks?
I was looking around my house this morning and realizing how far I’ve come in terms of decluttering, organizing and keeping rooms tidy – so much so that I’m feeling almost giddy and, I must say, very proud of myself. I feel like a huge weight is off my shoulders, like I’m literally lighter as I move through the house. The best part is, I can enjoy my hobbies, my family – even occasional mindless TV – so much more, knowing that I don’t have endless lists of things to be done. I have never lived like this before.
And I was wondering, why now? Where did I suddenly find the motivation, the discipline, the energy?
When I checked in with my favorite blogs, I got some of the answer. Barbara at Blogging Without a Blog had a post entitled “Why Didn’t You Say Goodbye”, which talked about the disappearance of blogs and bloggers with no explanation to their readers – a phenomenon that is oddly upsetting.
A lot of the discussion in the comments was about how time-consuming, even addictive, blogging can be, leaving less time and energy for other important projects and interests, not to mention family and friends. I’ve certainly felt that at times.
But as I was reading, I realized that my blog is a huge part of my success with getting my (literal and figurative) house in order. I feel motivated by the prospect of posting about my progress, and I guess in some way I feel a responsibility to my readers to follow through. I also think that having my very own, very personal creative outlet was energizing and empowering . . . especially at a time when I was so miserable with my paid work.
My journey is far from over (remember that awful basement?) but I hope with all my heart that along the way I’ve inspired or supported someone else in their struggle to create order, serenity and peace of mind . . . and that I’ll continue to do so as my quest continues!
Yesterday I needed a gift bag and some tissue paper for the end-of-year gift for my daughter’s teacher. A few weeks ago I probably would have just bought them new, rather than face the mess in my basement.
But this time, down I went, put my hand (almost) immediately on a pretty bag, quickly found some matching tissue and we were all set. I could get used to this!
We had a wonderful last day of kindergarten morning: the gift looked lovely, I wasn’t stressed and frustrated, and I gave myself a pat on the back for the work I’ve done to create some order and serenity for myself – and for my family.
If you’re facing a decluttering and organizing job that seems so overwhelming you can’t even start, try working just a little bit at a time. I’ve done all this organizing in just five-minute bites; I aim for five minutes every day – slow but steady – and I see the results.
Give it a try – the payoff of a small amount of time is enormous!
You’ve finally decided to tackle the clutter weighing you down. You’re standing at the door of your closet, staring at the piles, and you suddenly decide: “I can’t do any of this if I can’t do all of it – right now!!” but you don’t have time to do all of it – so you give up entirely.
That’s an example of All or Nothing Thinking – and it can derail us from achieving all sorts of goals.
Many of us are (sadly) very familiar with this kind of thinking related to our food and fitness plans. One cookie, or one missed workout – and we give up – and we often fall off the wagon in a big, bad way.
“I ate one cookie and blew my diet so I might as well eat 10 more”. OR, “I didn’t get to the gym this morning so I might as well abandon my exercise program”.
Don’t let All or Nothing Thinking get in the way of creating some order for yourself! If you’re facing a big organizing job, make peace with the idea that it will take you a while to complete it. While it’s true that the mess may get worse before it gets better, if you keep at it – even in small bursts of work – you will get it done. So much better than the alternative of working like a fiend for two hours until you can’t stand it anymore, and then never going back to finish the project because it was so miserable! Or giving up completely before you’ve even started.
Clearing clutter can feel completely overwhelming; I know because I’ve been there. I used to set aside whole weekends to “get my house in order”, but it didn’t work; I just couldn’t sustain my energy or focus. I still have some piles of paper and files from my last marathon session – at least three years ago.
But now I practice what I’m preaching: I work for short periods of time (sometimes just 5 minutes) and I stop when I feel paralyzed and can’t make good decisions anymore. Slowly but surely I’m clearing out the clutter and gaining order, serenity and peace of mind.