Monday, December 4, 2017

Clutter Creeps

It's back. I am so frustrated with the clutter that has recolonized every surface in my home.

I have Christmas cards on the bar; I have wrapping materials on the floor; I have actual gifts in the living room. Schoolbooks and mending and shopping bags and unfolded laundry are scattered around everywhere else.

When life gets busy (and I am beginning the busiest week of my year, bar none) I leave clutter around as anxious little gifts to myself. In addition to having very little time to myself, I also get to enjoy constant reminders of the things I need to do when I'm done with what I'm doing.

So today will be dedicated to getting clutter busted. I will fold the laundry and write my Christmas letter and shove the wrapping box out of the way. (I'm not ready to start wrapping yet!)

Physical clutter on top of a breakneck schedule is a recipe for a crabby, grumpy, non-festive attitude. Which will make me feel guilty about disrupting everyone else's mood.

And I will ask others to pitch in with tasks like addressing envelopes. I don't have to micromanage every task, especially the ones that are important to other people.

I will declutter my mind as well as my environment.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Daily Declutter

I have a jar problem. I hang onto jars because they're "cute," or they "might be useful." So today, I tackled a bit of that problem. I pulled out all the "cute" jars I've been hanging onto for so long, and told them exactly how things are going to be from now on: they'll either hold Christmas presents, or out they go.

After all, if I don't have a use for them this time of year, I'm not going to suddenly need them in mid-February.

I also mailed off a box for a cousin. It contains some avocados, a chocolate bar, teabags, and a re-gifted teacup. I know some people don't approve of regifting, but this way I can give a gift to a lovely person (who I happen to know is a tea drinker and a generous hostess) without creating a demand for more stuff to be manufactured just for gifting. If she decides to donate it, or passes it along to someone else, I'm fine with that. Maybe this cup's destiny lies elsewhere. But it's also clutter that has been sitting around, waiting, for quite a while now.

This is how it goes around here lately. Not the dramatic changes I was making a year ago, but things are improving at a slower rate, and that's what happens when I've gotten rid of the top layers of clutter.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Daily Declutter

I'm decluttering a lot more slowly lately, but I'm still moving forward. I got rid of a Christmas garland that I never liked, and passed it along to someone who is really thrilled to have it. I finally sold a game on ebay that has been lingering there for repeated months.

I finally posted to ebay a toy that has been flowing around for months. I'll tell myself that it will sell faster this time of year. I'm not sure I'll believe that I'm better off ignoring it for months to sell it fast now, but I will be glad it's finally dealt with. I also posted some feed bags, as I know people use them to craft shopping bags. I've been collecting the bags for a while now, and it feels good to move them toward their forever home. ;)

I continue to have floor space, with very few clothes for the shop sitting around the living room. I've been pricing more slowly, but I'll still count this a win. We've collected so much in advance that I don't need to spend a lot of time right now shopping, washing and tagging. Ok, actually I have a lot of tagging to do. But I made good use of my time earlier in the year so I will have less to work on right now.

I don't have a lot to get rid of, but I will appreciate the increased time I have for enjoying my family during this busy time of year!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Almost a year

I started this blog about a year ago, and I cannot believe how much my life has changed in that time. Last year I was a full-time stay-at-home mom who was trying to simplify life as we headed into the home stretch of having kids at home. With a child in middle school and a child in high school, and their associated activities, I wanted to eliminate as much extraneous stuff (and activities) as we could to better appreciate out time together.

Instead, it seems that my efforts to streamline our household made space for an exciting business opportunity with my mother and sister. We are able to pull clothes and other items out of the waste stream, and provide a service to the small, isolated community where my parents live. It has been the opposite of quiet and simple, but it is also exciting and it brings the whole family together.

I've also discovered a lot about myself while working to eliminate the surplus in my life. I'm not exactly the person I envisioned I was, of would be. I found out that I do not really like making things -- I thought mothers made things, so I made ... stuff that felt like clutter. (I'm not opposed to making things I need, but a lot of things I made I'd just be happier buying. I guess that's just how I'm wired.)

Working outside the home (shopping, washing and pricing goods mostly) has taken a lot of time. A lot more time than I expected. I really respect those moms that have been doing this all along! Minimalism has really helped keep things on track around here. I do notice that the house is messier than it was before I started working at the shop. I will continue to identify what is really necessary in our home, but it is a lot slower process than a year ago!

I guess I'm feeling reflective about the changes over the last year (it's time for Christmas cards, after all!). I do feel like I need to simplify further, but I am grateful for the improvement over last year.

I have a lot less physical stuff around the house. I've gotten rid of a lot on ebay, and a lot of larger things on Craigslist. Eliminating physical clutter has reduced stress. Creating new patterns has reduced wasted time, and that has reduced stress.

This year has been really weird. It's been so different from previous years, and so different from what I was expecting. The first half of the year -- simplifying -- was critical to success in the second half of the year. I would like to streamline the changes of the second half of the year to have more of the simplicity and peace that I was pursuing a year ago. I will continue working toward my goals, and see what effects I can achieve.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Daily Declutter

Because tomorrow is a holiday, I ran my errands today. I'm still maintaining a once-a-week grocery schedule, and it's still one of the top ways I'm maintaining structure around here. I save so much time by not trying to squeeze a 15 minute trip in several times a week. When I calculate in the actual shop, the time to drive there (or get off the freeway if "I'm there anyway") and putting things away, it really adds up.

Additionally, I was able to load up the truck before I headed out on my errands. I had several piles of things that needed to be dropped off elsewhere -- rags for Goodwill, random metal pieces and glass bottles for recycling -- and they are thankfully no longer my responsibility. I don't have that constant "I really ought to" reminder every time I come home! I also put a couple of kids toys out at the curb -- they still work, but they aren't in resale condition. Now those are no longer taking up the garage, and I can park back in the garage before winter weather arrives!

I'm still (again?) making baby steps toward a peaceful and organized home, but it's better than letting the chaos overwhelm me!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Daily Declutter

The problem with bringing home merchandise for the store is that I always have clutter lying around the living room! Today I got it all outside, and I'm feeling really good about that, but I also know I have a lot of work to do with it, since the clothes are not all priced and tagged. However, I am waiting for tagging supplies, so I have a good excuse.

I finally went through my closet as well. I am pleased that it took so little time to work through my closet. I lay everything out on my bed, pulled out the clothes (mostly dresses) that were summer-only, put back everything I will continue to wear through the autumn and winter, then added the few things I had put away in the spring. I had so many shirts that I pulled out a couple to store, just so I won't have so much bulk in my closet this winter.

I did have one dress that I will be donating to the fabric recycling at Goodwill. I knew it was about worn out, but I was limping by with in through the end of the summer. I will need to look for a replacement, but it is not a rush item. When I rush, I am much more likely to buy something I regret later.

I'm also getting rid of a pretty shirt I never wear because it is a heavy knit and sleeveless. I'm either too warm or too cold in it, and I just don't enjoy wearing it. Likewise, I will be getting rid of a very nice vintage wool sweater; I'm too tall to feel comfortable in this, because the sleeves are just too short. I'll post it to ebay if my daughter doesn't want it.

I also cleared out the freezer. I toasted all the bread ends for bread crumbs, so they won't go to waste and I won't have to eat them myself. This will give me space to store the zucchini that I found late in the garden. I just need to shred it up, and I'll be able to use it all winter for muffins and such.

Last night the kids put away the Halloween decorations and brought out the Thanksgiving decorations. I don't decorate heavily for most holidays, but we do have a little bit going on, especially honeycomb pumpkins and turkeys. We've had these guys for a lot of years, and they still remind me of my childhood.

So, I didn't really get a ton moved out, it feels like it around the house, and that's important. We have a lot more living space, and that's the point!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Daily Declutter

The smaller bins are working! I am able to move bins of clothes for the store outside when they are full and inventoried, which give the house a lot more living space!

Today I continue with my weekly menu planning and shopping trip. I also returned a couple dead plants to Home Depot -- I had been looking at them with guilt for weeks, and finally they are gone! I will move the pots out to the garage, and bring them back out when I decide I need new flowering plants on the porch.

I made another trip to the bins, with the associated laundry that follow a trip to the bins. I again resisted bringing home anything I didn't need. I did pick up a couple shirts for my dad, but I will be leaving them with him this weekend. I'd rather he have shirts from the bins than support sweatshops!

The house is a little messier than I'd like, but I feel good about moving the plants out. Plus, I have federal jury duty for the coming month -- I have to call in every night to find out what I am doing the next day. I have set up a plan, for taking the kids to school and making dinner, so I am hoping I will be able to keep the house on an even keel while attending my civic duty (read that last part with sarcasm).