It’s almost exactly two years (where does the time go?!) since I made an entry on this goal. I spent most of the intervening time living at my dad’s house, with most of my stuff piled up in bags and boxes – not conducive to order and organisation! And now I’ve got my own place again, which is very tiny and so needs strict organisation if it’s not to descend into total chaos.
The good part about that is that I brought only the bare minimum with me from my dad’s; I promised myself that nothing comes into this flat that I don’t need or want for a specific purpose, and only things for which I can find a reasonable space. A place for everything and everything in its place, as my grandmother says. I’ve found it surprising how little stuff I actually need day-to-day, although on plenty of occassions I have missed some of the less-used things that are still at dad’s.
I did bring all my art & craft stuff with me – two large boxes full – because I really want to get back into that; it’s one of the things I missed most while living at my dad’s. And, of course, I brought all my books – the friend who helped me move thought I was insane bringing that many books into such a small place, but they make it home for me. And I was able to use the bookshelves as a room divider, so that worked out well.
Anyway. There isn’t actually that much to do before this place is completely organised – everything unpacked and put away, nothing unnecessary hidden away or stashed in corners, everything I need sensibly accessible. Going on past experience it’ll probably take longer than it ‘should’, but even at a snail’s pace there’s no reason I shouldn’t get it all done in the near future. There’ll still be a lot to sort out at my dad’s, of course, but the place where I actually live will be sorted. That will be the first time ever in my entire adult life that my own space has been under control. It’ll be interesting to see how that feels.
Here’s what needs doing:
unpack large canvas bag
- sort sack of clothes – put away or toss
sort kitchen stuff back into drawers clear out rest of tall chest-of-drawers unpack art & craft stuff into tall chest-of-drawers
- sort contents of canvas drawers
- unpack blue bag
- find a home for DIY stuff
- bring anything for storage back over to dad’s 2 years ago
Last weekend I cleared out the storage space/random stuffage area behind an armchair in a corner of my living-room, and threw away almost all its contents, making space to properly store my fluffy leopard-print blanket (which I love) and the cargo net (don’t ask :-p ). I also discovered, to my utter horror, that I owned no fewer than twenty-one handbags/purses. Twenty-one!!! I knew I had too many I never use, but that’s ridiculous. Several were very old ones which I apparently thought were cool as a teenager, but wouldn’t use now, so they went straight in the donation bag. Many were little evening bags I’d bought to go with outfits for special occasions and used only once or twice; I kept a basic selection and donated the rest. A few were damaged, and if I haven’t mended them in this long, I obviously don’t want them that badly – into the trash with them. My handbag collection now stands at a much more reasonable eight.
I then made a start on going through my linen drawers – towels, sheets etc – but got hijacked by more important issues before I was done, so they’re still pulled about all over the floor. I’m finding it quite surprising just how much emotional energy all this takes, but at least I’m realising that there’s no point trying to get much done while I have other things on my mind, cos I just get frustrated by my inability to make progress. So I’m letting myself put the major decluttering out of my mind for a few days, and just trying to do one small thing when I get home each evening to make things a little better, or at least not make it any worse. It’ll all still be there when I have the headspace for it again. 4 years ago
Being in a decluttering frame of mind seems to be making it easier for me to let go of things I don’t actually have to get rid of. Yesterday I had the chance to give away two small things – a blanket I liked but rarely used to a homeless man on my street, and my eucalyptus essential oil to a friend who’d never heard of aromatherapy and was amazed at the effect one sniff of the bottle had on his stuffed-up sinuses – and it felt really good. It was a novel feeling not to worry about whether I’d need them later – after all, I can always buy more if I really need them. 4 years ago
I’ve been forgetting to post all the little bits & pieces I’ve been doing, but it’s even nicer to be able to write one post reporting some actual progress that’s come of all those baby steps!
I’ve finally – gasp! – actually finished one particular area. Well, sort of. All the little random boxes and bags of toiletries – by which I mean not just bathroom stuff but also make-up, jewellery, hair stuff, manicure stuff, etc etc (did I recently say I didn’t go in for that kind of girly stuff? I seem to have a lot of toiletries :-p ) – are all unpacked and sorted. I threw out a lot of things, put together a bag for the bring bank in work, and piled everything I want to keep into one drawer. That drawer still needs further sorting, but at least everything is finally in one place.
Of the four big boxes that were at the end of the sofa, three are unpacked and the fourth – I think – is stuff I had put aside to donate in some long-ago decluttering bid, so it’ll need only the most cursory going-through and can go straight into the current donation bags. I came across a couple of treasures, wound up with two small boxes for ebaying/donation and a couple things for storage, and the rest got trashed.
Finally got the beanbag all the way to Little Bro, too. I’d brought it out to my mom’s – who lives close by him – a few weeks ago, but it needed de-cat-haired and a small hole in the cover stitched; I did that yesterday and brought it over.
Sigh… that all felt like great progress to me, but now that I see it written down it doesn’t actually look like that much. Still, it’s the furthest I’ve gotten for at least a year and a half, and more than I felt capable of ever doing not so many months ago. So I think it’s worth being proud of. :o) 4 years ago
Yesterday, after some fun experimenting with new nail-varnish colours at lunchtime, I went through my old bottles of nail varnish and threw out half a dozen that had gone all gunky or that I knew I’d never wear again. (Did I ever think I’d wear salmon-pink nail varnish?!)
Also yesterday I noticed that the volunteer committee in work have set up a donation box in the office, and one of the things they’re looking for is women’s toiletries; I have a fair few unused things that I abandoned because they didn’t agree with my sensitive skin, so this morning I made a start on getting some of those together. I’ll finish going through everything over the weekend, and bring them into work next week.
I know I’m only a few days into this latest effort, but it feels like the baby steps are starting to add up. Part of it is that once I’m in this mindset it’s easier to stay on top of ongoing stuff like laundry and general tidying, which aren’t really part of the decluttering but which go a long way towards making me feel in control of my space. 4 years ago
Last night I sorted and trashed two piles of assorted receipts, coupons, flyers etc that I’d dug out of my purse and never got around to dealing with. It bewilders me how quite so much paper ends up in there :-p 4 years ago
Feeling all fired up after my conversation with Tink about decluttering, I cast about for something I could do straight away, and bethought me of the beanbag in the corner of my living-room that I’ve been half-considering storing in my dad’s attic, since I don’t want to get rid of it but don’t really have the space for it and it’s far too easy to just dump stuff on top of it. I had an even better idea, though, and called Little Bro – who I knew was looking for another one – to ask if he wanted mine on indefinite loan until such time as I have a bigger place, and he was delighted. So I free up a few square feet of floor space, he gets some use out of it, and it’s still there when I want it back – everyone wins :o) 4 years ago
I’ve spent the last hour reading various de-cluttering sites and blogs, looking for tips and ideas. They mostly all say the same things anyway, and I know all this stuff, but sometimes I come across a particular thought or turn of phrase that resonates. But I think I’ve over-done it this time. Ten minutes of tip-reading helps to energise and motivate me, but after an hour of it the very word “clutter” is starting to look meaningless and I feel all stressed and anxious about how much I have to do.
It’s not like I can do anything right now this minute. I have all weekend to make some progress. Right now I’m going to the park with what’s left of my lunch break, for a nice unwinding walk and some fresh air. 5 years ago
Last weekend I finally got my Christmas things brought back out to my dad’s house to store in the attic. While putting them up there I found a box of my stuff I’d forgotten was even there, and brought it down. Judging from what was in it, that box had moved with me from my mom’s house to my dad’s way back when I was 17, and not been opened since. I went through it, alternately chuckling at my teenage treasures and shaking my head in bewilderment that I’d thought this stuff worth moving, and threw away everything but a few mementoes worth keeping.
There’s still quite a lot of stuff belonging to me in my dad’s house. It’s not as high a priority as the stuff in my own place, but it’s easier to deal with cos it’s so old there’s unlikely to be much I want to keep. I’ll go through it bit by bit, as and when I’m over there. 5 years ago
My frustration level with my excess stuff is once again building to the point where it’s strong enough to motivate me to actually do something about it. Yesterday I went through two boxes that haven’t been unpacked since my last move, mostly figurines/ornaments/knick-knacks. I threw out a good bit (why on earth did I pack and transport half a dozen half-burned candles?! They were big chunky funky-coloured scented ones, in fairness, but still…), chose a couple of my favourites to display (yes, it’s probably unnecessary visual clutter, but I feel like they reflect me and I like having them out), repacked the ones I couldn’t bear to part with, and consigned the rest to the eBay/charity box. Two boxes down to one small one, yay!
I also went through a bag of clothes I’d put aside cos they needed things doing to them – mending, bleaching etc – and threw most of them into the clothes-recycling bag, too. If I haven’t wanted to wear them in I’m-embarrassed-to-say-how-long badly enough to mend them, I figure I don’t need them. One largish bag of clothes down to one top that just needs a quick whisk of a needle.
It felt good. Deciding to part with some of my dragon figurines cost me a little pang, but I think it was just cos they were there in front of me; I couldn’t have told you they were in that box before I opened it, so I obviously don’t love them that much. And it was well worth the feeling of lightness and control I had when I was done. I think I could get to really like that feeling.
Oh, and I’m starting to get good at not adding any more to the problem. Anytime I’m tempted to buy something, I find myself asking myself if I really want or need it, and most of the time the answer is no. I’m even finding myself doing the same thing when someone offers to give me something they no longer need, and turning it down if I’m not certain I can make use of it.
Maybe I’m starting to get a bit of a handle on this… 5 years ago
threads from here and here, plus other areas that haven’t had a goal to themselves. Oh, I have so much to do and I feel ridiculous that it’s so hard – how difficult can it be to get rid of things I don’t need? But it is difficult, and even when I’ve got it licked (cos I will get it licked) pack-rattery will always be something I have to keep a wary eye on. Sigh. 5 years ago