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?

Hoarders..could I be one?

Compulsive hoarding Apartment

Image via Wikipedia

I had the television on last night and one of those reality shows about hoarding came on (not sure which one, apparently there are several different ones).  I just sat there in shock at what those houses looked like.  At first I kept asking myself how in the world anyone allowed that to happen.  Then, as I listened to their stories, it began to make sense…to a degree. 

I understand things like this sneak up on a person.  They happen gradually until you’re totally overcome by your circumstances.  In hoarding, the stuff becomes your circumstances…it buries you…you use the stuff to not have to deal with the other stuff, the real stuff, that’s going on in your life. 

I now recognize that one of my best friends was a hoarder.  I think a lot of her “stuff” was that she was depressed, had been molested by her father for years, and had a husband who was cheating on her.  I truly believe depression has to play a part in this condition.  As someone who dealt with depression for several years, I understand the lack of motivation to keep your house clean. Even getting out of bed can seem overwhelming.  And there’s this feeling that things will never improve.  Of course, that’s the depression talking.  There is always a way out, a way to make things better.  But when you’re severely depressed, it feels like that’s all there will ever be.

I am so thankful that I was able to overcome the depression, but I know it could come smashing down on me again.  That’s why I try to force myself to do the things I know make me feel better…exercise, music, writing, dancing, and keeping my house semi-clean.  It’s always a joy to open the front door to a clean, fresh-smelling house.

As I was watching that hoarding show last night, I remembered all the stuff I kept for years, packed away in closets.  This was stuff that I didn’t like enough to display or use, but didn’t want to throw it out for some reason.  Fear of not having enough?  Fear of not being enough?  When I finally began going through things, donating or tossing things, I felt better with each bag or box that I got rid of.  I felt lighter…hmm…can you say “weight issues”?  I still have a spare bedroom that I need to declutter.  I have a lot of crafting supplies that I will probably never use again.  Sheesh…do you think an after-school program or a women’s club could put those things to good use?

I’ve spent a few hours today really cleaning house, putting a few things aside to take to work to give to anyone who might want it.  I’m going to spend a couple of days on my next vacation cleaning out the spare bedroom.  I know I’ll feel so much better when I can walk by that doorway and see a clean, uncluttered room.

So, do I think I’m a hoarder?  Not any more…and I’m going to do everything in my power to see that I don’t slip into that kind of behavior again.  What about you?  Do you have hoarding tendencies?  How do you combat them?  And, just so you know, that is NOT a picture of my house!!!

Taxes (and thankfully, no death today)

Logo of Internal Revenue Service, USA

Image via Wikipedia

While waiting around for the flooring guy to show up today, I decided to tackle my taxes.  I have a bad habit of putting it off until the absolute last-minute.  No real reason for me to do that either…I do usually manage to get a bit of a refund (and yes, all my CPA buddies, I know that’s not ideal…giving the government my money interest free is kind of silly…but those old habits die hard).   I suppose it’s just the fear of doing something wrong…you know, the dreaded IRS audit…hopefully that won’t happen (please keep your fingers crossed for me…I think everything was done correctly…used tax software this year).  Of course, general procrastination is also a factor.

So, the deal was the floor guy was going to come in and put new tile in the upstairs bathroom and the kitchen…coming around 10 am…well…that deal was a dud!  He showed up after 3 pm and his work order showed that he was replacing the flooring in both bathrooms!  Now, there’s nothing wrong with the downstairs bathroom…it was completely renovated just about a year ago.  I called the maintenance guy back (oh, probably for the fifth time today) and he came back by.  Said the deal was both bathrooms today, the kitchen in a couple of months, which is really interesting since he told  me earlier today that the guy would move the fridge, stove, washer and dryer outside onto my patio…hmm…But the guy only has enough flooring with him to do the bathrooms today, so what can I do about that?  So, at some point in time, I have to move the furniture back into the kitchen…but decided to blog before tackling that totally unnecessary project.

(old flooring in upstairs bathroom)

(new flooring in upstairs bathroom…hmm…is this worth all the trouble?)

I guess, on the bright side (yes, there is a bright side), I did clean the walls in the kitchen since I had everything out of there anyhow.  I mopped behind the washer and dryer (I’m so bad about not doing that very often) and cleaned the dryer vent and hose (just did that a couple of months ago, but figured I might as well do it again since everything was disconnected).  And now I’m thinking about not  putting everything back into the kitchen..I didn’t realize how much stuff was in the kitchen until I started pulling it all out…so this is the perfect time to do a little decluttering.  I always feel so much calmer when my living space is uncluttered and clean.

I had a lot of little things on the fridge door held on with magnets…but now I”m thinking about going with the clean look and not putting anything back on it.  I also had several candles sitting on the stove along with a spoon rest and a tea kettle…how about just one candle, the spoon rest and the tea kettle?  Those are things I use every day and I really don’t have a lot of storage space to put things away.  And now I’m thinking about going with a fairly cleaned off counter top too…I think we often don’t see how our houses really look, maybe because we see them every day.  It’s always surprising to me to see pictures I’ve taken of something in my house…that’s when I notice how things really look…isn’t that odd?  Why should what’s in a picture be more real than what we actually see every day?

Well…things are changing while I’m blogging…he’s not going to be able to finish everything today after all.  My boss is going to love this.  I had today off, but am supposed to work tomorrow.  However, I just don’t like to leave these guys in my house when I’m not here…yes, they’re bonded and all that…but why put temptation in front of them when I can simply be here to make sure everything goes well?  Plus, I have my cats to think about…both are inside only cats…one of them is such a little scaredy cat, that I’m always afraid she’ll run out the door if a stranger is here and leaves the door open (and I’ve seen them do that at other places)  But I’ll have to talk to my boss and see what he thinks of my reasoning…I have plenty of vacation and personal time left so that’s not an issue…it’s just that tomorrow will be a busy day (but at least no corporate visitors or auditors…all on vacation).  I always feel guilty when I take an unplanned day off.  I don’t know why.   I don’t think most people feel that way, but I always hate for people to have to do extra work because I’m not there ( I also hate coming in to a pile of work that no one had time to finish…I think I may hate that more…).

Alright, another update…we’ve got a truck coming in at 5 am tomorrow, so I’m going to go in and work until 8 to help with the truck.  I’ll still be able to make it back home before he gets here…shoot, if today is any indication, I could probably work the entire day and still beat him back here.  Not going to risk it though.

Happy St Patrick’s Day from Spooky…oh, and from me too!