I have oft compared my home to one of a Hoarder. I have lots and lots and lots of stuff and I like my stuff but I realize that the stuff (clutter) is holding me back. I can’t (won’t) have people over. I tripped over some crap in my bedroom when the alarm startled me awake last week and stubbed my toe and I just hate walking into the house and having to use my catlike reflexes to catch things from falling as I maneuver around piles in order to get through the house.
When I was off from work I watched a documentary called Tiny and became enamored with the idea of Tiny Houses and living with less. I decided that I would work on getting my house in order, tackle some of that to do list I had created (back in July…shush) and just see if i could use and enjoy what I had instead of rushing out to get more of the latest greatest in order to feel good about myself.
This month, September, I put myself on a yarn diet. I had so much in my stash and throughout the house that I felt bad when I would notice most of the mess in the house was mine. To assuage my guilt, I made a conscious effort to knit or crochet through my stash and have been making some decent progress. I also went through my stash and got rid of everything that I knew I would never use, patterns I have been collecting, books I have outgrown. I donated some to a woman who attends my knit group at the library and have some left over for the crochet group which meets in the city.
Here are some of my completed and in progress works:
I also got some advice from my friend Darla, who is a professional organizer. She shared some links with me to make my home office more efficient, “Another Home Office Makeover” and “How to Have An Art Room of One’s Own.” Both examples have different things I love and I have been slowly, slowly making my way through the mess.
As I clear the clutter, I can see how the people of Hoarders and “Clean House” can be so emotional about the mess. There are days when I am ruthless with my clearing but others find me second guessing myself as I toss things away. I do enjoy the fact that I can walk into t he house and not trip over stuff, but I fond myself panicking when I think I threw something that I need away.
My teen is all on board. The Bee has been after me to get rid of things and has been so helpful when it comes to clearing the junk, well *my* junk. She is a little more reluctant to part with some of her items but has been making some headway when it comes to putting things away and this without a lot of nagging from me.
To ensure that my house won’t get so cluttered I have been practicing the following:
Do something daily.
Decuttering is something that I do now. Some days I go at it longer than others but for a minimum of fifteen minutes a day, I clear table tops, put things away, assign a place for items or purge.
Donate regularly to charity.
I have a huge plastic bin which I fill up with unwanted items and when it’s full I truck on over to the Goodwill The trick to this is not to go into the Goodwill after donating to get more stuff. It’s a work in progress. I take some items to the library and put in our giveaway bin or pay it forward to a friend who is looking for a good read.
Put laundry away.
This is a huge problem. I can wash and fold clothes like no tomorrow but getting them from the basket to the closet or drawers seemed to be a task. I’ve been washing a load daily and then putting things away. Items which don’t fit (with the exception of my goal jeans), that I don’t wear but are in good shape get donated. Other items get trashed. I thought about repurposing the items but I haven’t yet and refuse to collect more things. Someday I’ll be in a position to repurpose old tees and sweaters but for now, Goodwill or trash.
Return items to their rightful owners.
My family is good for sharing and lending items. Returning them…not so! I regularly gather foreign to our home objects and return them to the rightful owners. This also includes library books, books which make me a fugitive from the library on occasion. (Ooops!)
Paper clutter is my biggest problem. I have been doing the paper chase for a while…shuffle papers from one space to another and pile it up. Now I keep a recycling bin next to paper hot spots and when I declutter I shred it and dump it. I discovered I can get copy of paystubs from work, copies of statements if I need them and I have been filing things away in an accordion folder when I just have to save something. There are still piles of stuff but it’s not quite so overwhelming and we can actually see table tops!
This is still a work in progress but now I don’t have to apologize or be embarrassed when I have someone over, I send less time looking for things and it’s nice to wake up and be able to get dressed with the only drama being “when did my top get so tight.”
That’s the next thing to work on…whittling that middle.
But for now, I will take a clutter free couch and not stubbing my toes.