clutter

Wow, patting self on back.

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So I have something to show you:

before
before

Ta da!

storage unit empty and gone on Halloween 2013
storage unit empty and gone on Halloween 2013

It was a long time coming but we finally got rid of this stuff and the monthly fee to save it.

We still have some items at my Mother’s house and in our garage and basement but we are getting so much closer.  During the course of this effort , many things have taken time away from our goal.  I say that not as an excuse but rather a reality check for myself.  You see I always think I can get everything down FAST!   Life doesn’t work that way.  More important situations come around that you have to tend to, or in many cases that you want to tend to.

It’s been a tough lesson, changing goals, deadlines, and lowering expectations….but I am better for it.  I’m still cluttered, but only half as crazy as I was before.

Cheers!

?Question? box your stuff.

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Once a pack-rat always a pack-rat?  Could this be my fate? I am disgusted with all the crap in my new fixer-upper.

Even after all this time of moaning and reasoning, learning, and purging, there is still too much crap!  I give advice like it’s nobody’s business, yet here I am facing a mess.  And when I see it I feel like, “Damn what happened?”

What’s my excuse?  Tell me because I would  like to know.

My guess is that I am fearful.  All the self help books out there claim fear is the strongest of emotions that guide our decisions….so I must be afraid.

Afraid of what?

I am afraid of being without, even though being without is my goal.  So I have a major problem here.

madonna-material-girl-video-cap-0056

I was raised in the material world, with the material girl.  I used to claim to my step sons that Madonna was my sister….they were kids (little kids), they didn’t now any better.  I also told them I was from outer-space  and that was even way cooler than being anyone’s sister.  Point being materialism runs deep in my veins.  I am ashamed to say, one of my nick names was “Shoppin’-Shirley.”

I held no limits and knew few worries.  Whatever, whenever as long as it was fun, and even better if I could buy something. My life was spinning without direction or boundaries.  Anything was possible.  Everything was an adventure.  Things were fun.  Buying was fun.  For me the late 80’s and all of the 90’s were out of control.  And I liked it!

Sorry if I am repeating myself

So fast forward to reality, ugh, do we have to?  Yes we do.  Now I am still on this quest. I call it my “journey to living better with less” but I am in a funk.  I have not reached my goals.  I am slowly pulling myself out of this funk, but that doesn’t make the extra stuff magically disappear.

Now for the: What am I going to do about it question?

I am going to start over.  I am going to the Start Here section of my blog and follow my own advice.  I may skip around the numbers some, depending what I feel like doing.  I am adding a new twist, I am going to hold myself accountable.  Astonishing right?  Accountability. Wow.

I have been lax in taking photos.  So regarding photos, I am going to try something new. I am going to take Reward photos, pictures of stuff packed-up and ready to go.  No matter where it is going.  The rule is there are only four places anything can go:

1. Donation

2. Sale

3.Trash/Recycling

4. ?Question? box. 

empty_box

The ?Question? box is new to me.  It’s my last thin thread of my holding-on tendencies   Items placed in the ?Question? pile can live there a week, and only a week.  Seven days.  After that week is up their fate is sealed.

This is my plan. If you are in the same boat maybe you too can kick-start your journey to living better with less. Wish me luck.  Cheers.

Helpful link: The January Cure.  This is a day by day plan for improvement in one month. Plus Apartment Therapy is an awesome site.

break

Tip: The more you put in the ?Question? box the better.

Inspiration: “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

One-day one-thing: Make a ?Question box? or area.

Not buying into it

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So I am still on my treacherous journey to living better with less, however I’ve had a few roadblocks thrown my way.  For instance; perpetual moving. We moved last year, and we moved again this year, plus for some added fun we moved our office last month.

When you have to move with deadlines, you tend to throw things where ever they will fit, and this only leads to more chaos.

Welcome to my chaos land.  I have piles of crap, a storage unit that is totally filled again due to overflow from the business move, and a basement that needs to be transformed into livable space by Thanksgiving.

I hate it.  I have been working on this for over a year.   Sometimes it feels as if I am getting nowhere fast.

sampling of my inventory -tip: never do auto-delivery anything!

My focus yesterday was make-up. I didn’t take any photos (took the one above just now), because I just forgot. I forgot that, “hey maybe I’ll blog about this and get back on track.”  Nope, my only thought was, “What the f*ck is all this stuff?”  Tons of anti-aging shit. Really expensive brands that I never even used. I have wrinkles, because I should.  I am the perfect age for me.  But back when I didn’t even need the stupid wrinkle cream, I bought it.  I was convinced I had to have it, time and time again.  I bought into the hype, hook line and sinker.

And still I hang on to it; why?  I mean seriously, some days I don’t have enough discipline to even remove my mascara before bed.

( best tip ever: use a little olive oil to remove mascara, I promise you’ll never go back to anything else )

What makes me think I will ever want to go through some “ritual” every night to see maybe a 5 % difference in fine lines in 60 days?  Nothing.   I would never see the difference anyway.  In 60 days I would forget to even look.

In addition to the many miracle wrinkle creams, I  found duplicates of various blushes,  “glows” and even some Lip Venom. Lip Venom I bought maybe 4 years ago – unopened.  Like I need Lip Venom.  Big sigh.

I rarely wear make-up beyond mascara and lipstick and for special ” I give a sh*t days”  days I may wear some cover.  Even still haven’t pulled the trigger to go ahead and thrown away all these concoctions.

I can see now, I am really writing this post to psych myself into throwing hundreds of dollars of cosmetics away.  Tonight is garbage night.   Which means if I do it now, there is no turning back.  (Update I didn’t throw anything away on garbage night.)

I am half Swedish, I should know this already.

One good thing has come from this huge burden of material things, I have stopped purchasing items I think I want.  I have been sticking closely to buying only needs.  Lucky for me, my “needs” are really very few and far between. ( not to say big ticket items don’t pop up when unexpected -like brakes, tires, tie-rods, flight for children, and animal care, etc.)  But I have stopped buying meaningless stuff, and that’s a step in the right direction.

A guy I know once told me that his goal was to ” live below his means.”  I like that thinking.  That’s where I want to be; less stuff, no debt, and a simple life.  This is my goal.  Everyday we are getting closer, but it’s  a long process and along the way we do stumble.

The only thing to do after you stumble, I mean FALL, is get back up.

Here’s to getting back up.  Cheers.

(*Ignore my foul language that’s  just how the words came out today. )

Out of the snail box

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I am currently drowning in a sea of paper.  Paper that I never ask to recieve.  All junk.  Junk snail mail.

We closed on our new house in April, and I still have not changed my address.  I am afraid of the mail.  Actually I am terrified as to how much more will show up.

I have so many papers from the kids, the business, my many other non-profitable wastes of time, bank cards, student loans, medical billings….you name it, and it keeps growing.  I am sure some of you can feel my pain.  I just want to be left alone.  Remember Kramer and the post office episode:

That’s where I am….. “I want out, permanently.”

I am tire of the mindset that something important will be in the mail…..it is never important.  Never. If it is important someone  will knock on your door and make you sign for it.  Been there and done that a few times, and guess what ?  It is usually important, and usually not good news, so why would I want any more of that?

This is all getting to my clutter “issue”…..Okay let’s call this one a Problem with a capital “p”.  I have been trying to de-clutter for what feels like and eternity now, and I don’t feel like I am getting anywhere.

I want to be honest, but I can’t even bring myself to take a photo of where I am sitting.  Okay, you talked me into it…..I am only sharing this photo to make you feel better…..here goes…..gotta find my iPhone…. still too lazy to get my big camera out.  Ok ready……

This is bad.

Granted we are in the middle of a total renovation of our house, and we haven’t yet finished even one room.  The renovation is taking far longer than we ever could have imagined in a million years.

Dining room table/desk inventory:  Wine glass from last night (nice touch gonna have to rinse that out for tonight), dog brushes thus add “dog hair to my clutter”, a paint palette, a white board, a printer, a stapler , headphones, a new light fixture from Ikea….and of course junk mail, and papers.

This isn’t acceptable. I gots me a problem.

What to do when you are overwhelmed and unable to focus:

1. Drink alcohol.

2. Stay up real late browsing the web.

3. Make zero attempt to fix this situation because you know it’s only going to happen again.

4. Acknowledge you have this problem, because they  say that’s the “first step” to fixing it…..Do this so you feel better and can justify another glass of wine.

5. Talk with anyone around about funny things that have  happen in your life….This causes you to laugh and forget you even have a messy desk/table.

6. Make a plan in the back of your head as how to procrastinate cleaning up this mess tomorrow.  After all weekends were made to enjoy.  We only get so many summer weekends in a year. Make it a good one!

Cheers!

Okay, so yeah this isn’t the way to get anything done.  It’s the tomorrow of yesterday, and I am about to go to the park.  By nightfall I plan to have a living room and a dining room that are identifiable.  Wish me luck!

Assholes clutter a good life

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Do you know how many assholes clutter this world?

Here’s the thing, we are supposed to take the high ground and let it go.  Let it be, etc, but you know what?  The assholes aren’t getting the message this way.

I am sure you have read about the “everyone gets a ribbon” syndrome that is plaguing American youth. Well this same idea, of not telling someone they suck, applies to assholes, jerks and rude people.

We ignore them. We take the high ground.  As a result they see no negative repercussions for their rude inconsiderate behavior. They think what they are doing is acceptable, a-okay, so they continue.  Most of these people have no person close enough to them who will say , “Hey knock it off, you’re being an asshole.”…..They live in this bubble of self- absorption, only thinking about their own needs as a primary focus of each and every waking moment.

So here is the question:  Do you call them out, or let them continue?  You know if they continue they will pass it on to their off-spring, thus we are promoting the trait.  Or do you protect your own well-being and peace of mind? In other words, let them live in their pathetic asshole lives and cut them out of your circles, and move on. ( thus living in a bubble of your own creation)

Yep, everyone knows an asshole, has seen an asshole, and encounters them frequently.  From what I see there appears to be a growing number of these characters around.  Are we somewhat to blame for allowing  them to exist?  Has our choice not to get “involved”with their low-life behavior embolden them?  Are we now “Asshole-Enablers?”  (AE groups starting at a church near you)

I see both sides of this coin.  I know I want a peaceful and kind life, but can I have that when I am not doing my part to squelch the jerk?  When I look the other way, am I being selfish by helping only myself and not society as a whole?

It’s like that show on T.V. calledWhat would you do?  Notoriously they have actors acting very badly, and they wait to see if anyone (any civilian in the area), will speak up.  Audiences are joyful, even tearful,  when someone stands up to the asshole and conversely the audience is totally disgusted when the people look the other way.

I believe it takes a village to raise a community, but those days appear to be gone for the most part.

I am positive I don’t have the answer here.  I am working on this one because I think we as a people have to start playing an active role in what we see and what we deem as acceptable in our communities and in our lives.  Sadly I am not yet ready to play in the mud, but some days I get real close.

Please let me know your thoughts on this one, I am very interested in all points of view.

I bought plastic

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I bought a plastic cup.  This goes against everything I believe, but I have become super tired of spilling everything in my car.  I  need to drink more water, we all do, but I was spilling more than drinking.  So I broke and  bought a cup with it’s own cover and straw.  Wow, huge purchase!!!

I am trying to get rid of things and not add to the clutter…….but…..this purchase was meant to be.

Take a look at what I saw in my water cup next to my bed this morning, one day after I switch to my sippy cup.

It’s quite possible that I could have taken a swig out of this cup last night in the dark if not for my new sippy cup.

So there you have it.  Beware of the creatures in the night.

Time has come

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There is no more time for delaying the final sort.  ( just bought a house and we are closing soon) We measured the rooms and basically most everything will not  fit.

I think I will start with the items I like the least….that would be papers and letters, and all that stuff you have to have or you feel like you have lost something if you get rid of it.  But in reality you never even look at it.  It’s stored somewhere, maybe even being eaten by mice.

The cool thing about this paper de-cluttering is that a while back I bought a NEAT scanner off of Woot.  So if I wanted I could scan everything, and still have it if I wanted it.  I think that would be a cool way to handle this mess, but I have never been that organized, and it kind of scares me.   Lol…a scanner scaring me is ridiculous.

These papers, are weighing me down.  I worry that I have kept the unimportant ones and lost the good ones.  All this worry is fabricated in my mind.  And I know it.  But it still bothers me.

I put this off, I say it’s too cold, or I have to do this or that, or I’ll do it tomorrow.  I am suffering with serious dread.  All in my mind.  I am mental.  Maybe Icey gets it from me????

At any rate this is my goal for Saturday.  You read it here, I’ll update as soon as it is finished.

Tools needed:

1.Shredder

2. Scanner

3.Three secure file box for each child. Secure meaning it can close and mice and water wont get in. Most likely a plastic item. :(

4. One file box for the hub and me.

5. Music

6. Determination

7. A glass of ice water, if it takes too long, I’ll switch to wine.

Tip: Just do it.

Inspiration: “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”- Peter F. Drucker

One-day one-thing: Reward yourself at the end of any successful day.

I have never

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It’s difficult to believe this but I have never sat in a coffee shop alone with my laptop. I have never gone to a library to read. I’ve only once gone to a sit-down restaurant by myself.

I’m no spring chicken. I have done many many other things that maybe someone else hasn’t done. But seriously the simple things are foreign to me.  I never felt I had the luxury of time to do these things, or I would tell myself ,  “I can do that at home.”  Doing simple things at home is never the same as doing them else where, and they rarely happen.

I remember on one vacation I was happy to cook everyone breakfast, no matter what time they woke up.  Looking out the kitchen window there nothing but beach between me and Pacific Ocean.  I determined I could cook there non-stop. At home I might say to the late risers, “I’ve been up for five hours I just had lunch.”

Here is the key, when you get home, there’s always something tugging at you. If not physically then mentally. At least in my case there is. Considering what lives at home off and on; two dogs, two cats, three children, a husband and my mother, tugging at me comes as no surprise.  That’s another reason I am heading to minimalism less stuff to even consider or clutter your thoughts.  You don’t have to bother yourself with items that have to be stored, or saved for another time, or cleaned and repaired.  No.  No Mas. The time is now.

Time to change it up a bit.

I figure I can spare one hour a day, with a minimum of travel time on either side.  So lets make it two hours.  Two hours instantly scares me into thinking I cant do this.  But I know I can if I really want it.  If I want it more than doing laundry today, or lingering on the internet,  I can spare some time to hang with nature.  That’s what I like to do.  You might like something totally different.  Maybe you won’t get to it exactly at the time you wanted, but if you want it, you can get there.

Time to let yourself know, you make the your decisions.  Face it, when we make excuses many times we still don’t even do “the excuse” of why we couldn’t do what we wanted.  Time sucks are everywhere.  You need to identified and destroy those time-leaks.

For a while I was taking the dogs to the park , throwing down a blanket and sketching with my colors pencils and reading.  With this small outing, took my hectic-life and I made it stop.  I was there.  Nothing else was allowed to tugged at me.  It was pretty awesome.

Start simply: here’s an idea you can do at home tonight.

How about a  luxury bath?  Even if you don’t usually take baths, try this on for size; 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of baking soda, and 10 drops of lavender oil to bathwater as hot as you can tolerate.

I am doing this tonight.  I think I will light a few candles as well.  Love to hear how you like it , if you do it.

Cheers!

Tip: Start small, little changes every day is the best way to change your life, but don’t allow yourself to miss even one day no matter what.

Inspiration: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”- Buddha

One day – one thing: Take ten minutes, close your eyes and visualize your life as you want to live it.

Barbie is a Hoarder

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I would not have believed it but I saw it with my own two eyes. Look at these storage containers that are for all her shoes, bracelets, hats, her books and her love notes from Ken. She is getting her containers this month, just like the rest of Americans. I hope she gets them on sale!

It took all I could muster up not to buys these, if as nothing more than a reminder, that out of sight is out of mind, and out of mind is out of use. I don’t need more clutter no matter how darn cute it is!!!

Just think how many ways she could use these storage containers – endless possibilities.

We live in a world where even the toys our children play with, multiply and eventually end up unruly and in desperate need of their very own storage system.

In my household it’s Lego’s and Brio Trains. I have them stored. It literally never ever crossed my mind to think of those “holy” toys as something I would ever consider as clutter. These toys belong to my babies, they are sacred. (I am kind of shocked at myself)

I have high hopes that one day I will have grandchildren who will like Legos. Is that far fetched? My realistic mind tells me I am crazy. I mean seriously – who am I kidding?  When I see little children now they are playing on cell phones.

I will keep these toys until the bitter end of my journey, because I can’t bare to think about it…..about any of it right now. That’s the truth.

The good thing , I like to let you know, is I didn’t buy the mini containers, and I only swore twice ten times today.

Life is hard. And life is cruel. Sometimes it’s okay not to be super productive.

(Barbie has all sorts of stuff it wouldn’t surprise me if she had a storage unit. )

Tip: Everyday write your current goal at the top of your to do list. This serves as an affirmation and helps keep you on the right track.

Inspiration: ” What if Andy gets another dinosaur? A mean one? I just don’t think I can take that kind of rejection! ” ~ Rex , Toy Story

One-day one-thing: Throw away something that is in your way. Just throw it away. It wont be in your way ever again. :)

Exactly what are you going to do?

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So another year’s over, and what have you done?

I’ve made excuses as to why I can’t get past my personal road blocks. That stops today. I know it’s cold as heck out there, and personally I am not a snow bird, but I have let the weather squelch my forward momentum, and for no good reason.

If I told you that everything inside this house was sorted and reduced to a minimum I would be only playing make believe. That would be easy to do, but it wouldn’t help me in any way. Oh I know I said I can’t sell anything in a garage sale in the snow, but what about all those pesky little things…like my belts.

Because little things don’t take up a lot of space they seem to be allowed to stick around. This is not good. They have to go.

No matter how large or how small your crap is, you have to get rid of it. Space displacement is not the determining factor when eliminating clutter and crap in your life. Think about it like a junk drawer. Who wants it? Who likes it? Every little space, drawer and/or container filled–I can’t even breathe when I think about it this way.

I read something recently, that said storage isn’t good. It only serves as vehicle to neatly hide your junk. It doesn’t solve any deeper issues, and it does not advance you to a goal of living better with less.

Advisory: Don’t go to Target, January is “store your stuff” month, containers galore on sale! All so you can make more room to buy more useless stuff, from guess who? -Target.

So for this week, and for the rest of these gloomy winter months, I will work on the little things in the little drawers and in the little containers. I actually wonder what I might find.

Cheers.

Tip: If there is something that needs to be fixed that you have been putting off – bite the bullet and fix it.

Inspiration: ” Now that it’s all over, what did you really do yesterday that’s worth mentioning?” ~Coleman Cox

One-day one-day: Old stationary-clear it out, when is the last time you actually wrote a letter?