Monday, February 20, 2017

It Cost Good Money

I bought three bottles of peppermint essential oil several years ago, in the hope that the oil would eliminate a rodent problem we were having. I have heard that rodents cannot stand the smell of peppermint oil, and they would flee anyplace that smelled of peppermint. We got rid of the rodents, and I do not know if the peppermint oil helped, or if the snap traps did all the work. However, the rodents were gone. The essential oil remains.

I do not want to use this oil for anything else. I don't especially want to smell like peppermint. Among other reasons, I don't want to think about rodents all day. I have hung on to this oil for years, in case we have another rodent summer, and just because it seems wrong to throw essential oil away. After all, if I needed more, it's not cheap. I spent good money on these bottles, and I shouldn't throw them away!

Another way to look at this is: I bought these bottles, which served their purpose years ago. I hope not to need them again. I'll clear up this tiny section of counter and stop worrying about future rodents. After all, we're talking about something in the neighborhood of $5-10, not hundreds. Letting go of all that space, all over the house, is worth the minor financial investment if I need to buy the oil again.

Hanging on to the essential oil will not bring the money back to me. So I need to come to grips with the money spent in the past (an expense I was willing to spend at the time) and stop cluttering up the present.

With this in mind, I will pass my essential oils along to a friend whose garage has become inhabited. I will release the money I spent in the past in order to have a more enjoyable present and future. This will stop being one of my excuses.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Daily Declutter

More little things today. I'm trying to squeeze decluttering into my regular life, rather than dedicate a large block of time to decluttering. The process is drawn out, but I think it's less stressful than a more concentrated approach because I have so many outside obligations, especially to things that aren't mine. I don't want to tell the kids that they can't go to lessons or meetings because I want to get rid of all our junk.

This morning the rain had ended, so I took pictures of more LEGOs we're rehoming, and some measuring cups I hadn't wanted to get rid of. Or, that I didn't want to use because I don't like them, but they're vintage and I want to make sure they don't get thrown away at the thrift shop. That does happen when the shop has too much merchandise (because people buy too much new stuff. Period.). Still, I don't run a museum, so I shouldn't be the home to all the excess stuff just because it's old.

Fortunately, I remembered to look them up on ebay. People do collect these, so hopefully I can find a good home that way. Either way they are out of my cupboard for now, and hopefully for the long term.

A lot of the clutter I have eliminated so far has been behavioral. I no longer have clothes cluttering the bathroom counter because I have changed my awareness and my habits. I am grateful for the awareness, brought about by writing it out, of how my behavior eliminates clutter even more than getting rid of the physical items that surround me.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Daily Declutter

Lots of running around in circles today. I went to the tire store, but the tires they had ordered for me were the wrong size for my car. I will have to go back next week. I had to go out a second time to do my grocery shopping, because my son had to be picked up from school. However, I got almost all my grocery shopping finished (I need one thing at another store, but I think it can wait until next week) other than that one thing my grocery errands are done.

My groceries are all put away, and I am set for the next week's menus. It feels good to have that done.

I did get rid of an old, damaged mirror that had been sitting around for over a year. Neither Goodwill not Salvation Army would take it without a frame (apparently, someone might "get their head chopped off" if the store had a mirror without a frame), so I had to throw it away. It was damaged, so I don't feel too bad, and I am very happy to be rid of this large piece of clutter.

We are expecting a large storm through town overnight, so I tidied up outside. Mostly moving hanging baskets down to the ground so they won't fly off and damage something, but the mirror was part of the tiding effort, so that was worthwhile to me.

I threw some seeds in the ground, as an effort toward gardening. I'm a terrible gardener. I don't like following the rules (plant this after the frost; plant this before the frost; start this indoors) so plants don't succeed very often. I've even killed zucchini. However, I know water is important for plants, and we're certainly getting rain this week, so I'm putting seeds out and hoping for the best.

So, not much forward progress, but I am maintaining my schedule, and that is simplifying my life. We spent the evening together as a family, unstressed, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix, and playing Yahtzee. That I definitely consider a win, because that is how I want to spend time with my family. And that, not the stuff, is what minimalist-ing is about.

But I have the space!

I'm going to throw my husband under the bus here. When I get the decluttering bug, one of his frequent excuses (other than "but I use that") is "but we have the space."

Not surprisingly, I do not find this a justifiable excuse. I feel so much better in uncluttered spaces (to be honest, so does he). So having space to keep clutter does not justify having clutter.

I find that when I declutter spaces where I "have space," I free up room throughout the room or even my whole house. For example, when I discarded expired ointment and a medicine dropper from the medicine cabinet I was able to declutter the bathroom counter. I now have space for my deodorant in the medicine cabinet. My daily environment is less cluttered because I cleared out a space that was hidden. Although I "had space" for those unnecessary items, decluttering allowed me to prioritize valuable things above undesirable things.

This is true for anything. Deluttering the garage, the linen closet, the cabinet under the sink allows me to get rid of the things that aren't really valuable. This may allow me to store something I find valuable (I like to store the swim things together during the summer, in the linen closet, so no one loses a swimsuit and we can walk out the door to the pool without hassle) or it may allow me to simply enjoy a clean counter, dryer or other flat surface.

Sometimes I don't see the point to decluttering invisible spaces. If we've "always" stored table linens there, why should I declutter them? We're not going to stop using tablecloths and napkins, after all. But the last time I decluttered that space I found two tablecloths that I didn't even realize we had, and now it's easier to find what we actually need.

I know some people like to declutter their home in one fell swoop. I'm the other kind of person; I keep whittling down my unnecessary possessions until I (hopefully) have a minimalist home with nothing in it except the things I find really important to the way we live. Hopefully a day will come when I do not have to worry about cluttered surfaces, cabinets or drawers. Even better, I hope not to have a cluttered mind. In the meantime I will continue to declutter both the hidden and visible clutter, whether we have room for it or not.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Daily Declutter

I am so often shocked at the old clutter! I checked the medicine cabinet for clutter this morning; I found a medicine dropper (for little kids), matchbooks, and a tube of ointment from I-don't-know when. I now have room in there for my deodorant, clearing up the counter a little more.

I dropped off a couple of boxes of packing popcorn. The shipping place in town reuses it, and the things I have for ebay right now don't need it. I'd rather someone else use it, since I'd just be storing it. As clutter. I dropped off several boxes at the post office at the same time.

We should have rain tomorrow and the next day, so I took some pictures to post to ebay. I'd like to get them up tonight, but I also would like to spend time with my family, so we'll see how that goes.

A roadrunner stopped in the front yard today, and my daughter and I got to watch it for a while. They really remind me of dinosaurs! The way they move their heads, and the way they display their tails, is unlike any other bird I have seen. Plus, they eat snail and mice (and lizards, which I'm not ok with!) so they are welcome to visit our yard any time. If you've only every see the Warner Brothers Coyote and Roadrunner, you should check them out on youtube. They're really fascinating.

I made my menu for the week. This is a great activity for when I don't want to do anything, but I still get something done. I'm almost done with my shopping list as well, and I will be going shopping tomorrow since Saturday has filled up on it's own. I love having the extra time this one change has facilitated. And, despite almost running out of milk, my family continues to survive. (This week my kids ran through a half gallon of milk in two meals. So they have had to limit milk the rest of the week, and get by on other foods instead.)

Focus and Mindfulness

This is not my quote. But it is something I need to remember, and I find it all too easy to forget.

Minimalism is a lot about mindfulness. Minimalism is about being aware of all the world around me, my place in the world, and my contributions to the world,

If I focus on how slowly I am making improvements I will not notice how many improvements I have made. Keeping a journal, or blog, allows me to see what I have accomplished. It helps me focus on the joys of accomplishment.

I remember a story about a king who commissioned two of his knights to survey his kingdom. One knight was to report every good thing he saw; the other was to report every bad thing. When the knights returned, the knight who was to report bad things described a kingdom that was desperate, falling apart, without hope. The other knight reported joy, health, caring and blessings among the people.

I hope you see the blessings in your life, despite the difficulties. I hope, as you eliminate the extraneous aspects of your life and develop a simpler lifestyle, that the joys become more obvious and overshadow the difficulties.

Daily Declutter

Yesterday was largely housekeeping, which is important to that clean, decluttered fantasy home I imagine, but it's not exciting. I did clear a basket, some tools and the glass jar of failed laundry detergent off the dryer. Now the dryer only hold laundry baskets, which pleases me more than it probably should.

Laundry was washed, folded and put away. At least, I think it was put away. I have to check on the kids, because sometimes they just pile up the clean laundry on furniture. Then it falls on the floor, gets slept on by the dog, and ends back up in the wash.

I sold a bunch of items on ebay yesterday, and I will be packing and shipping them this morning -- hopefully before I drop the kids off at school. I'm so excited to see these things move. I think I will be able to eliminate an entire box from the shed when all these items are shipped, which is a noticeable amount of change.

No major changed today, but I wanted to post baby steps.