Sunday, February 05, 2006

the stuff right by the front door

I've decided on the general format for this blog's entries. First, I'll share a little bit of where my thoughts have led me, trying to stick as closely as I can to the topics of clutter, possessions, organization, hoarding, time, space, black holes, etc. Then I shall post a picture of a very specific, practical task I want to accomplish. And finally, if all goes well, I will post pictures of the results. I expect that sometimes I will post the task and the results will appear in a later entry.

My thoughts in no particular order:
  • I want to avoid using words like battle, attack, conquer. I don't want to be in a war. Instead I will try to use words like transform, change, create, accomplish.
  • It's best for me to focus on small tasks, trying to find ones that will make huge differences right away. To that end, I think that trying to clear clutter from the main living spaces is most important right now.
  • I must keep my focus narrow - if I step back and look at the whole house and all that needs to be done, I feel overwhelmed - inertia follows. Nothing gets done.
I've had many more thoughts today, but will save them for other posts. It is action time!
This is a spot in our little tiny entryway where I tend to drop the canvas bags I tote around - all the Stuff I seem to need in my busy life on the road, much of my time spent helping one of my sons and my elderly mother. There's also a box of books I bought 'way back in the early summer of '05 - a great acquisition of some series mysteries that I haven't even started to read yet. What else...oh, an unopened box of software I bought weeks ago and a bag of unfinished knitting projects I've been carrying about.

I went through all the totes, consolidated my essential carry-arounds into one, actually found places to put most of the things away, and a few were consolidated with like things in some other stack in some other place-not something I want to do a lot, but one of my biggest obstacles right now is lack of space to put things away properly.

I vacuumed the area, and made myself stop.
Here is another pitfall of trying to clear clutter - some of us cluttered folk are, believe it or not, perfectionists! And one of the reasons we don't get things done is that we make the task so involved or time-consuming it becomes overwhelming. I had to fight my urge to take up the rug and vacuum under it, to clean the smudge-laden door, the baseboards, etc.

The thought occurred to me that if I can take care of the clutter, I can actually reward myself by hiring a cleaning service to come in and do that kind of cleaning. Now, I don't know if I will actually do that, but the notion that would be possible is very helpful in keeping me focused on the primary task - Clear The Clutter!!

Things I Am Happy to See Again
  • unearthed a bar of one of my very favorite chocolates: Lindt Bittersweet
  • a couple of anti-war buttons
  • Annie Modesitt's books: Confessions of a Knitting Heretic and Cheaper Than Therapy


Blogger Colonel Colonel said...

some of us cluttered folk are, believe it or not, perfectionists! And one of the reasons we don't get things done is that we make the task so involved or time-consuming it becomes overwhelming.

Got it in one! Good insight. This is a real problem, although I think most people do not realize it. I have piles all over, and tend not to deal with them simply because I don't have time to do it "properly" or "completely" right now. Even doing a few things from the pile at a time would help, but that seems wrong...

6:46 AM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger jackie said...

You are so like my husdand! He needs all materials at hand before he can even think about starting any project. He also tends to get overwhelmed with the "big picture". I did mention the back shed, right? His "office" is much of the same. I tried to convince him to just do even 3 inches on one pile once in a while, but, alas, he is a man and must do things "his way". I used to be somewhat similar, but at one point in my life, I moved about 6 times in a 2 year period and I learned that just because something was precious once, it does not necessarly remain so. I ask my self "Am I attached to the object or the memories that that object containes? Will I really miss it? Would someone else appreciate and use it more than I do?" And for projects, " Do I really want to do this? Will I really use this material sometime in the future?" If there is something that I KNOW that I will not use and I can pass it along to someone else, I do.

I think that you are wise to be sharing your decluttering. As for lack of storage space, I hear you! 6 people in a 3 bedroom appartment makes for some very interesting storage issues. In fact when the Ikea catelogue showed up on my doorstep a few months ago , I said " Oh good, The storage porn catelogue is here!"

8:02 AM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger Phoebe Fay said...

I think you're wise to avoid words like battle, etc. Personally, I find the word "release" very helpful when decluttering. There's a sense of lightness and freedom in it. And when we release our Stuff out into the world, sometimes it does good for other people. Thanks for taking on this blog!

12:24 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous DeAnn said...

My clutter is something I have to battle like a sickness. I am declaring war on my mess! I don't have to be nice to my enemy, although my husband would say my enemy is me.

10:24 PM, February 11, 2006  

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