Decluttering challenge, day 7

While the wind is blowing outside (wind chill’s well below zero), I’m sitting inside all cozy in my toasty warm microfleece pajamas.  Yes, I probably will actually get dressed at some point in time today and may even venture outside later this afternoon when the temps creep above zero.  I’ve got to attempt to get in my car and start it, get it cleaned off.  I will have to return to work at some point in time (Thursday, I’ll be there Thursday…for sure.).  And I just received a text from CVS letting me know I have a prescription ready for pickup, so will definitely need to swing by there in the next few days. Honestly, I’ve been just a little afraid to step outside and breathe in the bitterly cold air.  Breathing has been enough of a struggle for me over the past two weeks without adding that to the mix.  But the weather guy promised me we’d have temps in the 40s by the end of the week…oh yeah, and rain.  Just got to shake your head at the twists and turns of the weather in central Indiana.

I’ve kind of been watching some of my neighbors try to get their cars out of the parking lot.  They’re having a lot of trouble.  Apparently all of the rainy, icy, deep slushy mess we had froze everyone’s tires in place.  I’m serious, when I came home Sunday afternoon I was traipsing through slush that was at least three inches deep.  Once the arctic freeze descended, that slush became rock-hard ice.  Not good for the tires, I wouldn’t think.  I did see a couple of young guys manage to get a car out with a lot of pushing and rocking back and forth, so I guess it’s possible…you know, if you happen to be a young guy with a lot of strength and immunity to cold.  Since I’m neither young nor immune to the dangers of cold weather, we’ll see what happens when I finally make it out there.

In the meantime, I’ve been fooling around on the internet, catching up on some blog reading, enjoying browsing some new-to-me blogs, pinning this and that, checking up on my friends on facebook, all those things I don’t have time to do when I’m not snowed in.  Now I remember how nice it is to have a snow day…it’s been a long time since I’ve been home with nothing pressing to do and feeling well enough that I can spend the day out of bed.  I’ll be rejuvenated when I go back to work on Thursday…I’ll need to be, there will be a lot for me to do.

I decided to get my decluttering mission for the day out of the way early.  I went in to my spare room and opened the closet door, quickly picking up the needed 7 items for today.  Easy.  Not a lot of thought or time went into it today, but I found some things I’d been holding onto for many, many years.  Time to release them.  These things will go to Goodwill where someone else will be able to find joy in them.

Heading to Goodwill

Heading to Goodwill

Okay, what did I find?  Some fall colored magnolia bushes.  I like them, I used them for a couple of seasons, I saved them anticipating that I would use them again.  But they’ve been in that closet for probably 3 years.  Time for someone else to enjoy them.  Three sewing patterns (a stuffed Annie doll, some geese items, and aprons).  You know what?  I’ll never use any of these.  Why not allow them to go someplace where someone might find them and realize they’re just what she’s been looking for?  A little country wreath…yes, I could have repurposed this.  But I haven’t…in over 5 years…so let someone else make use of it.  A cute cow mama and calf…not really my style, but I bet they’ll fit in with someone’s decor.  And a crystal (faux) bell.  Nothing valuable, but any of these things might bring some enjoyment to the right person.  If you can catch me before I get out and drop these off at Goodwill, I’d be glad to let you have anything here.  If not, well…they’ll be on the shelves of the Goodwill store on Liberty Drive in Bloomington soon.

So on day 7 of this decluttering mission, I released another 10 items (you know, if I count each item individually) to bring the total to 49 items.  Forty-nine things gone from my house.  I want to ask you something…when you declutter, do spring cleaning, organize…however you refer to it…do you find yourself feeling lighter as you release more and more stuff?  See, I do…and I am wondering if there is a connection between clutter and being overweight.  My personal experiences seem to suggest that the connection is there.  What are your thoughts on this? And how do we make use of this information to keep us healthier?

Decluttering challenge, day 6

Wow!  With the nasty weather that’s moved in here in central Indiana, I almost didn’t get this post published.  I’m in Bloomington, south of Indianapolis.  We didn’t get the huge amounts of snow that Indy got, but we had a nasty, slushy, icy mess with snow on top of it.  And then the “polar vortex” moved in…yeah, I’m thinking you all can keep anything with the word polar in it as far north as possible, thank you very much.  Right now, our wind chills are about -40 F…I haven’t even opened my door today and I’m still struggling to breathe.  Honestly, I am much more concerned about the bitter cold air than the snow.  I grew up out in the middle of nowhere and drove on snow-covered roads (narrow, hilly, cliff-hugging roads) every winter.  But the cold?  With the respiratory problems I’ve had over the past few years?  Yeah, not a lot good going on there for me.  Fortunately I was able to call in without adding too much extra work for the people I work with, we ended up not being busy…so that makes me feel a little better.  Well, better other than the thought of how much I could have accomplished on a not busy day at work.  But…such is life…we take what we’re given and do the best we can.

Now, on to the decluttering.  I thought about it a couple of times over the course of the day, but didn’t feel like getting up to search for anything.  I kept telling myself I’d just resort to getting rid of more magazines…boring!  When I finally went into the kitchen to do some dishes, I remembered I’d seen a couple of Cool Whip bowls in the pantry, so I grabbed those.  Then I opened the drawer where I keep my silverware and found a few old unused items languishing in the back of the drawer.  So I was quickly able to gather today’s 6 items.

useless kitchen gadgets

useless kitchen gadgets

The vegetable peeler is probably 30 years old.  I now use one that is easier on my hands.  Age will do that to you, huh?  Same with the little metal can opener on the left…older than the hills…actually rusted.  Hasn’t been used in years.  The other can opener is broken.  Why in the world I ever put that back in the drawer is anyone’s guess.  And the little red plastic thing?  Heck, I don’t even know what it is, much less why I kept it.  And two Cool Whip containers, minus lids.  Now you might just think those Cool Whip containers are totally worthless, but I’m taking them to work.  I was putting ice melt on the sidewalk yesterday morning and we didn’t have anything to scoop it out with.  I was using my bare hands and dumping it into a dust pan.  Not all that great for the manicure.  So at least the plastic containers will find a second life.  Now if only someone at work could tell me where they put the snow shovel…

At the end of 6 days (you realize that’s not even one week, right?), I’ve gotten rid of 39 items.  If I’m going to be honest, I must admit that today’s items haven’t actually left my house yet…heck, I haven’t even left my house yet today.  But as soon as the arctic cold temps move out, today’s items will be moving out as well.  I just wanted to make that clear…you know those pesky disclosure policies…

So has anyone else been decluttering or organizing?  How’s it going for you?

Decluttering challenge, day 5

What a day.  I had to work and had so much to do.  Then, to top it all off, everyone who was working with me had problems I needed to help them solve.  Yes, that’s part of my job.  But it sure makes it rough to get the other parts of my job done.  I managed to get my tasks finished right before it was time for me to go home.  So at least I’ve got that going for me, right?

Add to the stressful day at work the fact that we’re expecting a major winter storm (like, really?  who isn’t?).  I tend to keep my pantry full and always have plenty of cat food on hand so at least I didn’t have to do battle at the grocery store.  I’m hearing that the shelves are pretty bare…especially the pizza and beer.  Hey, us Hoosiers have our priorities straight.  If you’re snowed in, pizza and beer make it a little easier to deal with the cabin fever.  I did stop at CVS to pick up a prescription and then swung by the gas station to fill the tank.  Now I feel like I’m about as prepared as I can be.  Let it snow!

I thought I’d have an easy time finding five things to get rid of today, but it didn’t happen like that.  I decided I’d go to the kitchen cabinet where I keep my cups and glasses.  I have to admit, I do have a lot more cups than I need.  I really only drink out of two cups.  I like the handles on them, what can I say?  But I didn’t force myself to get rid of all of the others.  I did find a travel mug minus a lid (I know, doesn’t really do me a lot of good like that, does it?) and a stainless steel bottle.  Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the taste stainless steel adds to my water?  Well, I do…I really do.  So out with both of them.  Then I started looking through one of the drawers in the kitchen and came across this little blue candle kind of thing shaped like rocking horses.  I’ve had that thing for years.  Used to hang from a peg on a shelf, but it’s not really all that appealing to me any more.  Why in the world have I hung onto it all these years?  Pitch it!

This is when the struggle started.  I looked in this cabinet, thinking I’d get rid of all of those old plastic tubs and lids that something else came in…you know, like Cool Whip or Country Crock.  Oh yeah.  I forgot, I got rid of those the last time I cleaned out my cabinets.  Then I looked in another cabinet and couldn’t find anything that I don’t use.  Same thing in another one.  Okay, about time to give up on the kitchen.  I walked upstairs and a pile of small boxes caught my eye.  I’d been saving them to wrap gifts in for Christmas, but ended up using gift bags because…well…who has time to wrap gifts?  And guess what?  Christmas is over.  The boxes go.

Then for good measure, I quickly gathered up a few more magazines to take to work.  A couple of the ladies I work with were telling me how much they appreciated having something to read in the break room…if only they weren’t so out of date.  I’m thinking that was a wee hint for me to be a little more timely in my magazine redistribution.

assortment of goodies (?) going to work

assortment of goodies (?) going to work

I didn’t realize, until I looked at the picture, that I gathered more than the five things I needed for today.  Oh well…nothing wrong with that.  The little bottle in the middle is a free sample bottle of self-tanning moisturizing lotion.  I really thought I’d use it, but never did…and it was free…so off to work it’ll go too.  Surely someone wants to add that healthy glow to their skin in the dead of winter.

So there you have it.  Day 5 in the books.  Not very exciting.  But a few more items out of my home and my life and that’s really what I’m trying to do here.  This brings the total, in five days, to 33 items released.  Not too bad for a few minutes of scrounging. And the thing I haven’t been showing you is that I’m finding things to put in the trash as I go…today I found a stack of coupon flyers from the newspaper…unfortunately all expired.  I need to do a better job with the coupons.  But I’ve also managed to get rid of a couple of small bags of trash, nothing monumental, but it still makes me feel better.  I wanted to say “lighter” and that might just be a topic for another day.

Decluttering challenge, day 4

It’s hard to believe we’re already four days into the new year, isn’t it?  Do you feel like you’re moving toward the goals you set for yourself?  Is there something in your way?  Usually, the something in my way is me.  I can see that exercise is a good thing for me to do…or that not stopping at a fast food place is the right thing for me…or that not allowing junk to pile up in my house (or my life) is the direction I want to go.  But then I get in my way.  I come up with excuses (you know the ones…I’m too tired after working all day, I have too much other stuff to do, I’ve got to sit down and write a post for my blog…oh wait, that’s the one that is actually keeping me going on this little decluttering challenge.  Yea for the usefulness of blogs!).

I was having a hard time figuring out what to let go of today.  Yes, I know, I had the same problem a couple of days ago.  I hope this isn’t going to be a recurring problem…no, it won’t be!  I’ve got it figured out (fingers crossed).  I think part of the problem is that the blog post is always in the back of my mind.  You know, I want it to be exciting.  I want it to be something that you all will look at and wonder a) why in the world did she ever buy that?, b) what kind of goofball is she that she would keep something like that?, or c) {{{gasp}}} how could she let go of that and will she let me have it?

So I’ve decided I have to do this without a lot of thought as to the pretty pictures.  Just pick a room and quickly find however many things I need for the day to get rid and gather them up.  Period.  Well, then I guess I have to take pictures and figure out something witty and entertaining to write about…but you catch my drift, right?

I decided to open the door to my downstairs coat closet…okay, lots of coats, jackets, sweaters, scarves, a snow shovel and bag of ice melt, and…wait…what’s that???

What is that?

What is that?

Okay, the cat stays…she’s just curious.  But there were two pairs of shoes that I haven’t worn in years, an umbrella that doesn’t work, oh…and the stability ball that sweet little Scout destroyed when she was just a kitten.

part vampire?

part vampire?

So I’d be willing to bet that some of you were asking yourselves why in the world I ever bought those shoes (hey, they were work shoes.  I’ve had problems with my feet for years…had no idea it had anything to do with RA…so I had to settle for comfort over style) and what kind of goofball am I that I didn’t immediately throw out the stability ball that Scout chewed on and destroyed.  To that I have no answer.  I didn’t even realize I’d kept it.  When I moved something in the closet, I thought what is that? So, yeah…you got me there. But now it’s gone…unfortunately to the landfill, but what can I do?  Hopefully she’s over her teething phase (or fanging phase, as it may be) and that won’t happen again.

Once I decided to stop over thinking the process, it became a little easier to find a few things to toss out.  In the process, I did find three things to sell as well, but we’ll talk about that another day.  Lesson for today:  don’t paralyze yourself by over thinking.
 

Decluttering challenge, day 3

Here we are for another peek into the clutter that has attempted to take over my life.  It’s not going to happen though.  Nope.  I’m removing it one piece at a time.  Permanently.  And not replacing it with anything new (that’s why I thought January would be the perfect time for me to do a no spending month…no spending except for essentials.  I mean, you’ve got to feed the kitties, have gas for the car, pay your bills.  But you don’t have to buy that unbelievably expensive coffee or that cute pair of earrings, right?).

Anyhow, this was a little tougher for me today since I was battling a reaction to the antibiotics my doctor put me on.  I woke up with both eyes swollen, my cheeks and neck bright red, chest and upper arms were pink and itching.  Yep, had that happen before.  I took two Benadryl and called my doctor’s office.  They didn’t call me back until after noon, but that was okay since the two Benadryl knocked me out for over six hours.  When they did call, they told me not to take any more of that prescription (uhh…okay…) and that they’d called in a different one for me to take.  Oh, and that they’d added that particular antibiotic to my allergy list…good idea, huh?

I don’t know about anyone else, but Benadryl leaves me feeling groggy for hours after I take it.  So this was not a good day to try to get a lot done.  I was sitting up in my bed, leaning against the headboard, fooling around on my kindle, when I got the bright idea to clean out my nightstand.  Figured I’d surely be able to find three things in there to dispose of.  To my surprise, there really wasn’t much in there to actually get rid of…a couple of Sudoku books, a pencil, a pen, a flashlight, a tube of Chapstick, a bottle of lavender essential oil (cool…I’m getting into using essential oils), and some little advertisement booklets from Philosophy and Bare Minerals.  Love the products from both companies, but I’m not sure why I thought I needed to save the little booklets.  So…out go 5 cute little booklets that I don’t need in my life anymore.

Unneeded bedside reading material

Unneeded bedside reading material

So far I’ve freed my home of 23 items in the first three days of January.  I kind of feel like I’ve been just getting rid of the little things.  And goodness knows, there are plenty of not so little things I want out of my home too.  I keep thinking I should sell them.  You know, get a little something back on the money I’ve wasted on things I didn’t really need and apparently didn’t even want.  Am I using the thought of selling things as a way to hold on to them…you know, until?  Until I figure out where the best place to sell things would be?  Until I take pictures?  Until I take the time to sit down and post the things I want to sell?  Because you know, you’ve got to gather the stuff up, clean it up, take pictures, sit down and post the pictures and descriptions, then deal with all of the people who respond (hopefully).  I guess I’ve got to get myself ready to take that step if I plan to make even a tiny bit of money from this challenge.  But hey, I’ve got a four-day weekend  starting on the 11th.  That’s it!  I’ll do it then.  To prepare for it, I’ll begin gathering (and maybe cleaning, depending on how I feel when I come home from work) things I want to sell.  I could even do some of the photography.  Okay…that’s the plan.  That’s when the big stuff is gone…out of here…history…

Now that I’ve made that decision, I feel like I’m really doing this, not just piddling around (ha, my mom used to use that phrase a lot…not something I say very often in face-to-face conversations.  But I like it.  I may just add it to my everyday speech.).  Lesson for today:  Think about what you want and then make the decision to do whatever it takes to get it.

Decluttering challenge, day 2

So you came back?  Wow!  Ready for the events of day 2?  I was looking through the bathroom closet for something to get rid of…came across this pretty box and couldn’t remember when I bought it or received it as a gift.  Or even what was in it.  I know, I know…anyhow, pulled it out of the closet and immediately noticed it had quite a heft to it for such a small box.  Okay, don’t freak out on me…it wasn’t like a dead body or anything gross like that and it sure as heck wasn’t my stash of gold coins…please, don’t waste your time breaking into my house in search of the aforementioned stash of gold coins.  There are no gold coins in my house…and only a few silver and copper ones, so the whole trying to dig through my bathroom closet on a treasure hunt would be futile (yeah, because I’m just dumb enough to leave my stash of gold coins in the bathroom closet after writing about it…seriously?).

Anyhow, I carefully pried the lid off the box and found several herb infused bath bombs.  Cool, huh?  I love stuff like that.  Soaking in a tub full of scented hot water is one of those simple pleasures I find great joy in.  So, the question might be, why hadn’t I bothered to use any of the cute little bath bombs if I like them so much?  Well, you know, when you hide things away you tend to forget about them.  So…there’s our lesson for the day…keep the things you take joy in someplace convenient where they can give you joy.  They do us no good stuffed in the back of a closet.  Let’s remember that, okay?

Now on to my choices of things to get rid of today.  The first one was a box I found in the same bathroom closet where I keep my stash of gold coins bath bombs.  I really don’t remember anything about the box, what came in it, where I got it. So, if you’re reading this, and you’re the one who gave me the box, well I’m sorry.  It really is a nice shiny box with a mirror inside the lid of it.  I’m sure I saved it because I liked it.  But I decided I knew someone who would enjoy it even more.  Mmm hmm…you guessed it, Clara.  So I brought it downstairs, put a notepad in it (hey, the kid loves paper) along with a couple of Smarties candy canes.  When she came over, her eyes got big as she picked the box up.  She looked up at me and whispered, “Is this for me?”.  When I told her it was, she hugged it to her chest and said “Thank you.”  Alright, I’m embellishing a little bit here, she did hug it to her chest, but she didn’t say “thank you”…what is it with kids these days?  My way was so much more enjoyable, don’t you think?

Clara's red box

Clara’s red box

 

So then I tried to find something to get rid of that was just as exciting.  I picked up this, and looked at that, walked into my spare room, turned around in a circle and walked right back out.  I hate to admit this, but I could probably get the entire month’s worth of decluttering done in that room alone and still not be done (hey, Patti…thanks for putting that thought into my head…hope you don’t mind that I borrowed it today.)  I finally decided I was making this way too difficult for day 2…just pick something up and decide what to do with it already.  Ahh…back to my handy-dandy pile of magazines.  I quickly gathered up a small Kroger bag full to take into work.  Everyone likes to have something to read while they’re on break, so I know these will be appreciated…at least until some neat freak decides to throw them out.  But no worries, folks, there’s plenty more where those came from.

All You magazines for break room at work

All You magazines for break room at work

 

Keeping track of how many items you dispose of isn’t part of the challenge.  I guess they figure you’ll follow the rules and get rid of one item on the first, two on the second, three on the third and so forth.  But you know me…I can be quite the rebel.  After two days, I’ve managed to rid my home of 18 items.  And I’ve only just begun!

 

It’s a new year already?

New Years Eve 2011 London

New Years Eve 2011 London (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I guess it just kind of slipped my mind until I noticed all of the posts welcoming in the new year.  As you might be able to guess, I didn’t have any party plans last night.  Had to be at work at 5 am this morning (I’m not kidding.  When I saw my doctor yesterday, she was shocked that I had to work on New Year’s Day.  Like, lady, what planet do you live on?  I work in retail.  People love to shop when they don’t have to work.).  Anyhow, the whole being at work at 5 am kind of put the party plans on hold.  Oh, who am I kidding?  There were no party plans.  I’ve got an ear infection, bronchitis, and another darn upper respiratory infection going on.  I’m personally keeping CVS in business.  The good news is, I just might hit my deductible this year when I file for 2013!! So I never made plans to go out and do anything.  I was in bed by eight o’clock.  Woo hoo!!  I am some kind of party animal!

I didn’t bother with the whole resolution thing this year.  I do want to eat a healthier diet just because I think doing so will improve my health.  I’m more than a little tired of  being sick all of the time.  And I did buy myself a Tai Chi DVD for Christmas.  I had done a tiny bit of tai chi a few years ago and think it might help with my RA and OA…if nothing else, it’ll keep me moving a bit and that won’t be a bad thing.

I’m taking part in a decluttering challenge, so I’m obviously looking to live in a cleaner, more organized home.  I think living with clutter is an indication that something in your life isn’t going the way you want it to.  Perhaps my internal challenge will be to try to determine what that is and then take steps to correct it.  Ah yes, I can be introspective at times.  Unfortunately I’ve spent most of my life avoiding introspection because it’s easier to keep doing what I’ve been doing than it is to make real changes.  Is 2014 the year I make those changes?  I’m thinking it will be.

How about you?  Resolutions?  Goals?  Plans?  Share with us.  We all want to know what you’ve got planned for the upcoming year.

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