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!

 

Decluttering challenge, day 1

Okay, those of you who have been with me a while know that, while I’m not a pack-rat or hoarder, I do have a tendency to allow clutter to accumulate.  Why do I do that?  I mean, I could use the I’m tired when I get home from work excuse.  Or the I’ve been sick off and on for over a year now excuse.  Or the I live every day in pain excuse.  And those are all somewhat valid excuses.  But the thing is, I know I feel better about myself when my house is clean and uncluttered.

I’ve spent the past year questioning myself before I make a purchase.  Do I really need this?  Will I really use it?  Or will it end up collecting dust in a few weeks until I either donate it or sell it?  Asking myself these questions before I buy something has really helped curb my impulse purchases…well, except at Christmas and where Clara is concerned.  I did buy more than I needed to (or should have) at Christmas and I do still tend to buy little things (and some not so little things) that I think Clara might like.  I’m going to get that under control with my no-spend January (but that’s for another post).

Right now, for the month of January, I’m going to focus on eliminating clutter in my house.  The challenge is to get rid of one item on January 1.  Then, on the 2nd, get rid of two more items.  Three items on the 3rd, and so on through the 31st.  I haven’t done the math and I’m too lazy to stop and do it right now (why duplicate work that I’m sure someone else has already done???), but that would be a serious amount of clutter gone from my home in one month’s time.

I think the first week will be fairly easy, but along about week three, I’m thinking things might get a little more intense.  Not that I won’t be able to find things to get rid of.  Oh no, just that actually going through the process of packing 14 items up, taking them out to the car, and getting rid of them (just putting them in the car doesn’t count…have to actually hand them over…throw them out, give them away, sell them, whatever I choose to do with them has to be done each day) will likely become time-consuming and labor intensive as 14 turns into 15 into 16 and so on.

Knowing myself well enough to know I might just give up on the whole thing after a couple of weeks, I decided I needed a little accountability to keep me on the straight and narrow.  So, yep, you guessed it…you lucky folks will get to read daily updates and see daily pictures.  I know, I know…you all need to calm down now…it’ll be very exciting for all of you.  You’ll get a peek into my “why in the world did I ever save that?” stash.  And hey, if you see something you want, let me know quickly.  This is one of those you snooze, you lose deals.  Don’t act fast enough and it’ll be too late.

So, without further ado, day 1…

magazines for Greg

magazines for Greg

Yes, there are two magazines, but they’re both family magazines (free subscriptions that I somehow get…can’t even remember how, you know, since I don’t have kids and the cats don’t really like to do a lot of kid crafting…but I do get some ideas about stuff to do with Clara.), so I’m counting this as one item.  Time to pass them on.  So Greg, if you’re reading this, these will be waiting for you at work when you get there later today.  Enjoy.

Since I already had these set aside for Greg, this wasn’t a huge challenge for me.  Ooh…but what will tomorrow bring as I search for two things to release from my home (no, it won’t be the cats…how dare you even suggest that?).  Check in tomorrow as Patti’s decluttering saga continues…

Get rid of it!

English: A handyman project was to de-clutter ...

English: A handyman project was to de-clutter a basement which tends to get filled with things when it’s not certain whether to throw or keep them. When a basement becomes too cluttered, it’s hard to find things that are really needed. One way is to move clutter to a second location where it can be sorted into two piles (1) trash (2) items to keep. Source of picture: here (see public domain declaration). Questions: write to my Wikipedia page or email me at thomaswrightsulcer@yahoo.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I could say that about so many things in my life, but today I’m once again talking about clutter.  Since I’ve been not-so-healthy for about 8 months now, I haven’t been able to do much more than the basics in housecleaning.  I see things I’d like to tackle, knowing I could either donate or sell so many things that I no longer use (you know, that whole downsizing thing), but I just don’t have the energy to start.  Not being willing to spend the money it would cost to hire someone to help…okay, not willing and really not able to afford it…I’ve been trying to devise a plan that would enable me to accomplish at least a little each week.

Here is the beginning of that plan:

1.  Five days a week (2 days off work and my choice of 3 work days depending on how I’m feeling), find 5 things to get out of my house.  If they are things to be donated, take them out to the car immediately to drop off at either Goodwill or the office of the complex where I live.  If they’re things to be sold, take pictures, decide where I’m going to sell them, then either list the items or post the pictures.  Be sure to keep a file on items to be sold, price, where advertised, when posted, etc.

2.  The other 2 days a week, gather up 5 magazines to take to work to put in the break room.

That’s it so far…kind of funny/sad  that I can’t go through an entire closet in a day or completely clean a room, top to bottom on my day off.  Right now, I’m going to go into the kitchen and put some eggs on to boil for work for the next few days.  While they’re on the stove, I’m going to tackle a pile of paper that’s been sitting on the counter bugging the heck out of me for about a week now.  I have to accept what I can and can’t do right now…but I can’t just give in to this blasted pain every day either.

I did halfway clean out the fridge this morning before I went grocery shopping.  I think that counts, don’t you?

Decluttering your inbox

screenshot of an email inbox filled with spam

screenshot of an email inbox filled with spam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh my gosh, I think I’m probably the world’s worst at unsubscribing to email newsletters that I’m no longer interested in.  I just do mass deletions and go on.  But I was reading an article (somewhere?  All You, maybe?) today about decluttering and they mentioned cleaning out your inbox so you don’t have to deal with deleting all of those emails every day.  Head slap!!  Why haven’t I done this before?  Why do I think people will be insulted if I unsubscribe to their emails?  Seriously, will most people or businesses even realize it?  And why should I care?  And really, if I unsubscribe, how will I even know that it bothered them?

So I’m going to start doing this.  I know it takes a few minutes, but eventually I’ll get rid of all that clutter in my inbox and have one less stress in my life.  What about you?  Are you quick to unsubscribe or do you just let it slide?