Sunday, February 19, 2006

thoughts after two weeks

It was two weeks ago today that I started this blog and my grand life-changing project. I am amazed at what I've accomplished in both the outer and inner realms of my life. I feel as though I'm moving very, very fast and that has both an up and down side. Today I thought I'd deliberately slow down a bit, take stock and reflect on what's happened for me so far, and where I want to go in the next couple of weeks. The following is a bit more personally revealing than I usually like to be.

One thing that I haven't mentioned is that in the last two weeks I have also been working on clearing out my mother's 2 bedroom apartment. She has moved into a smaller, assisted-living apartment, a studio. She is also a clutterbug of grand proportions, and much of my impetus to change my habits has come from observing everything she has gone through for the last few years, as well as my memories of her in earlier years.

I can distill all that into this: I believe my mother has spent an enormous amount of her 83 years in dealing with clutter and too much stuff and messiness and disorganization. She feels guilty, she worries and frets, she endlessly 'tidies up' and she has never gotten tidied. I believe she has lost precious creative time (she is a writer) and precious time to create her own self.

I was horrified at the thought of the same thing happening to me.

This was a fully realized thought for me over 3 years ago and that was when I first tried to embark on this decluttering journey - 6 boxes of papers went to the Goodwill shredding facility and I thought I was well on my way to developing a daily decluttering routine that would save me from living a life of frustration and longing, with far too many dreams unmanifested.

Then in February of 2003, awful things began happening to close family - violent deaths and accidents and illnesses, serious and traumatic events, huge changes - like my mother moving here to my city. ( Oh, and never mind That Change that occurs for women at midlife....in the face of all these other events in my life, menopause is a distant star going nova. It'll take years for me to see the light from that event and realize it happened!)

My poor mother is now traveling the sad and terrible path of dementia. It's more of a roller coaster than a path, and for her now, life is filled with horrific hallucinations and delusions. Some might question the wisdom of my embarking on this major decluttering/enlightenment journey as I am dealing with the difficulties of my mother's illness.

But the Big Thing I've Discovered this past two weeks is this:
This journey is my salvation . And it needs to be all about Me.
Everyone says, 'you have to take care of yourself...don't forget about you...' Well, this endeavor is Self-Care of the highest order. With my living room well on the way to being decluttered, I have an area in which I can truly relax - read, spin, knit, think. And I've found that when I feel low or depressed, some time decluttering gets me moving and uplifts me. It's wonderful that my husband and daughter who also live here get some benefits, but that's just a nice side effect. I wouldn't be able to feel so determined or sustain this level of effort, if I didn't do this just for myself.

Finally, I am doing well in my effort to change habits that have contributed to my clutter: I am consciously trying to bring less in and take more out, and I am taking a moment to put things away as I go. So all the progress I've made in clearing clutter is not being undone, and I feel like I am on my way to making new habits to support that.

Not sure just what I want to work on in the coming days, so all I'm going to post today are some results photos of the last couple of days' work.

The clothes are piling up...


in the Going to Goodwill Pile!!!!
(Note: these are already out in the car, ready to be uploaded to Goodwill tomorrow)

And remember the Hearth o'Clutter?


It now looks like this:
This is as good as that area is going to be for now. I would love to have posted a picture without that plastic bin and tote, but those things aren't going anywhere soon - the tote is full of knitting to finish and the bin is full of recent book acquisitions and art/craft magazines that I definitely need to keep and will start putting away little by little as I get rid of books and magazines I definitely don't need to keep.

I feel good today. Real good.

4 Comments:

Blogger ramblingmuse said...

Wow - you are certainly an inspiration at this point! Just seeing the pics of all the work you've accomplished!

I love your journey quote. I'm gonna use that on my blog. Ok?

-RM

1:43 AM, February 20, 2006  
Blogger jackie said...

I like how the original chair keeps popping up.

I wasn't always an adherent to the laws of limited space, but seeing as my husband is a major packrat. He gets pissy everytime I try to get rid of his stuff,(although I have sneeked out a few thing without him knowing) so I have had to pare down on my own stuff to keep from being smothered by piles. I hate it when things fall on me.

You are doing great!

9:44 AM, February 20, 2006  
Blogger 'Zann said...

Jackie, despite the fact that I find living with a neatnik sometimes very trying, I suspect that the neatnik partner of a packrat is far more tried!

Bless you and all those (including my dh) who hang in there with their packrat loved ones!!
'zann

9:04 AM, February 21, 2006  
Blogger jackie said...

I would hardly call myself a neatnik! It is more of a defensive mechanism of being 6 people in a 3 bedroom apartment.When we moved in, there were 3 of us and we filled it quite nicely. Thankfully we have a back shed, but it is rather frightening. I still occasionally have dreams of large rooms filled with shelves, and on the shelves are boxes. Neatly labeled boxes. Organized boxes. Did I ever mention that my hubbie has a thing for cardboard? In my shed, I have boxes that contain... you guessed it! More boxes. Some of which he is very attatched to. Just TRY to get rid of them on recycling day. In the desire for domestic harmony, I have learned to live with my hubbies boxes, and broken computer parts, papers from the 70's, enginering magasines from the 80's, broken appliances,and other things that he will fix someday when he has time. I haven't necessarly always done it gracefully, but I have done it.

I find your journey so wonderful because I see that there is hope that maybe one day he will take a similar journey. Either that or we will move to a house with a large barn which he can fill up with stuff so I don't have to worry about things falling on me. It has happened before, and I am sure that it will happen again.

THank you for sharing your journey an dI am sorry if at times I have sounded a little preachy. I will try and restrain myself from being too obnoxious. I am afraid that tehre is little I can do about my spelling.

6:15 PM, February 21, 2006  

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