Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Decluttering Continues: Maybe I am More of a Hoarder Than I Thought

I haven't stopped decluttering since last November when I did my concentrated thirty-one day declutter.  I still look around and see stuff everywhere.  It is not in boxes and does not cover floors (except and area about 5 feet by 12 feet in the basement, that has boxes of supplies from my former career) but it is tucked in everywhere.  The dressers, bookshelves, cabinets, and closets have too much stuff in them. Most flat surfaces have stuff on them that shouldn't be there. 

I have continued to add things to a give-a-way pile/bags and weed out stuff as I come across it in daily life and also through a focused effort on a particular area.  One bag turns into two, turns into four and then to six and so the donation pile grows.  Thinking back, I have taken 3-4 large yard sized black trash bags full of stuff and then some additional items that were not bagable, at least once a month for the last year.  Still I see too much stuff in many areas of my house.  Maybe I'm more of a hoarder than I thought.

I wouldn't be labeled a hoarder clinically as every room functions as it should, we have no problems navigating any part of the house (okay, my craft room is a little iffy), and we have guests over frequently.  Still, I can definitely say that we still have too much stuff and many items are not used or needed and some things I have too much of (eye shadow comes to mind).  I can do better.

This is the pile that we took to the donation center this past Saturday.  Six brown grocery sacks full and a box with breakable items.  There were some books, clothes, knickknacks, jewelry, stuffed toys, and miscellaneous most from the master bedroom except for a boogie board and inflatable from the swimming bag.

 I still have a rolling drawer unit with beading supplies and misc. to go through in the M.B.  After that, the remainder belongs to my D.H. and I'm not touching it.  It is best to let each person make decisions about their own stuff.   

I would think after taking all of this stuff out of the M.B., there would be nothing left in view.  There is.  Don't get me wrong; it looks so much better.  I still have a few stuffed toys that belonged to my children when they were little that I am not ready to let go of but I did get rid of at least a half dozen.  Isn't it funny, but I couldn't make a list for you if I wanted to.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I have a lot of costume jewelry to go through and I have kept several framed pictures of original art (I knew the artist) that were hung in my children's' rooms when they were small.  I have quite a few pillows, some decorative, some bed pillows that I need to do something with.  I have a lot as I keep trying to find the perfect one or combination.

Once I have decluttered the basement, the toys and pictures may go down there if I decide to hang onto them at that time.  Until then, I really am enjoying the openness and relaxed feeling of spaciousness in the M.B.  I am also limiting myself to just my Bible and two other books in the rack by my bed rather than the enormous stack of reading material that I had there.  Some of it was donated but most was put back in the areas they belong.  Interesting how things migrate throughout a house.  

I would encourage you to also add a few things each day to your donation pile.  It didn't arrive in your house all in one day so it is reasonable that it depart a little at a time also.  Everyday do something, no matter how small, to move toward your goal.  The time will pass no matter what so it is best we keeping inching toward our best life.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Bit Closer to Minimalism; A Long Way to Go

This post should have been published in November 2018, but I just noticed that I had never hit publish and it was still in draft form.

It is interesting how something can become a habit, good or bad.  If you start sitting down with a bag of chips every time you watch television, soon you will feel like you need a snack every time the tube comes on.  If you start eating an apple every morning for breakfast, soon you don't feel right unless you have your apple.  Well, I find the same is true for decluttering.  For the past six weeks, minus time for illness, the thought would pass through my mind, "Have I purged five items today?". Now I find that thought still passing through my mind even though my month of decluttering five items per day is officially over.

I am seeing a bit more open space here and there and that space is very motivating.  Therefore, even though I'm not being rigid about it, I find myself still adding a few items to the donation area before I go to bed.  If I haven't reached my five item goal, I quickly zoom around the house and grab a few things.  My mindset has changed and letting go of things is much easier.  Being able to quickly decide about something is a very freeing feeling; exhilarating really.

Saturday will be donation day and so far I have three large black trash bags full, a lamp, and a brown grocery sack full.  I also have a box of teaching posters to donate along with two boxes of teaching supplies to donate.  I recycled three brown bags of teaching curriculum and lesson plan files.  I still have a lot of teaching related stuff to go through but that's a start.

My daughter even went through a bunch of stuff in her closet and came up with quite a few things to donate.  I always go through her donation bags and usually pick out a thing or two to set aside.  I know she gets caught up in the moment and sometimes goes overboard.  Several times she has seen something I 'saved' and asks, "Why do you have my ______?".  When I say she had it in the give-a-way bag, she'll reply, " Why would I get rid of that?"  Then she reclaims the item.

Of course dealing with the stuff in the house every day means that I know where progress has been made.  Sometimes other family members will notice something is different but basically they don't notice specifics.  Our house is not a hoarder situation but rather just areas of clutter in each room, such as the desk and surrounding area, the area next to my reading chair in the living room, the top of the pool table (mostly scrapbook stuff I categorized but haven't moved yet), the reading area downstairs, some shelves in the laundry room, and basically every flat surface except the breakfast table and dining table and kitchen island. They are contributors and thus are clutter-blind.

I have found that taking pictures of these areas/rooms really allows me to see what I need to tackle.  There is something about taking a picture of someone or event and noticing the background as much as the subject.  I would suggest you try the photo technique off and on as you work through your stuff toward your goal of a more minimalism home.  It really helps me to focus on one area.

Here is  pic from the last week of decluttering: