clutter

?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.

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.

Sale time, yet again

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I am getting pretty good at organizing garage/house sales, and brother do I kill it with the signs.

I use Craig’s list and signs on major intersections.  That’s it.  I have a sale kit with a staple gun and signs and wire stands from old political signs.  All you have to do is take the political sign off the wire holder and turn it inside out and tape your awsome sale sign to the plastic.  So easy, and they go into the ground perfectly.

I never hold my sale if the weather is bad, and now because you can place ads for free at a moments notice that is easy to accomplish.

My signs are always florescent poster board, sometimes with added reflective wrapping paper.  It makes a difference having a great sign.  People always tell me they love the signs…lol.  Some of my best slogans are: ” Don’t MISS this SALE”  or “Something 4 Everyone Sale,”  “Best Sale Ever,” ” Turn Around Cool Items. ” Often my signs are a shapes, maybe a circle or the shape of a dresser if we have furniture.  Stars cut outs on top of the signs in a contrasting bright color also helps grab attention.   And note: If you tell someone not to “miss” something they just can’t resist.

But this sale I am going in for the kill!

Eat your heart out Storage Wars.

I am planning to have a table of “Name Your Own Price” items…..who can resist that??? Another sign will say,  ”  HAVE 2 HAVE sale” sign.   “Useless stuff Sale. ”  “TOO BIG wont FIT” Sale…. for my new house.  And a “too little SPACE Sale” sign…..”Help me I’m a Hoarder, Sale.”

I think you get the idea, I am not planning to have many more of these sales, so I am going to have fun. I am thinking I might sell sodas as well.  If it’s warm and the sun is out, I can make .75 cents a can. Plus it keeps people happy, they stay longer and might just buy something.

In our town, garage sales are the ultimate signal that summer is near.  Garage Sale-ing a ritual, every Thursday is always the first day of any sale.  People map out the sales they are going to hit and make a day of it.  I like to be open on Thursday and Saturday.  I cant stand Friday because it  is too slow and Sunday people are too cheap. We’ll see how it works out this time.

My real issue here is most the stuff I have is what I decided to keep.  Ouch.  Now I am going to have to measure each room and be realistic.  It’s going to be a challenge, especially since, this is it.  My last chance.  I am not moving all this stuff one more time, not going to do it.  Minimalism here I come.  That has been my goal all along, but talking and doing are two different things.

The tough cuts await……I have to empty the storage unit and a garage….ugh.

This was the first day of having a storage unit, it looks so naive.

And you know what’s in those three containers?  Pottery made by students and professors from Cleveland State.  More average pottery than anyone ever needs.  At the time,the pottery was the most important thing for me to pack up and protect, err to hoard.  I still love it.  Every item was made by someone learning about design and clay.   Sigh.

Tip: Price everything, people are shy and don’t want to ask.

Inspiration: “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.” – Eric Hoffer

One-day one -thing: Remember the every decision is an action, and action is how you create change.

Out of the Darkness

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The other day I looked at the clock and it said 5:30, but it was still light out. So of course I thought that my clock battery died. I didn’t realize that we have turned the corner, and the days were getting longer. Next it will be spring. This morning I even heard birds singing, yes not just making noise, they were singing.

I believe my horrible experiences over the winter sucked my personal time clock right out of me. It’s all one big blur. January? Did we have a January this year? February is okay. Valentine’s is the only holiday in my book that makes any sense. Wait, New Years make sense too.

Which brings me to March, March 15th to be exact. “Beware the Ides of March.” How fitting as I will be getting the keys to our new home on that day. It all happened so fast that I wasn’t sure if I even had time to think about it. But we are moving into the city. Not city living like New York City, nope, no high rises, but within the city boundary lines.

I will be completely honest, I have never lived in a city. Oh, I once lived in Dallas proper, but that doesn’t count. That place was a organized community maybe 19 apartment complexes in a circle with a clubhouse and large pool in the middle. I remember one event we watch Rodger Staubach jump off the high dive, he was old even back then…maybe he dove. We just drank.

So into the city we go. I have always lived in a bubble. I took an on-line quiz the other night, that among other things determines the thickness of that bubble, and mine is quite thick. I am a liberal thinker who has lived a sheltered life. Then for fun, halfway kidding half way not, I sent this clip of Clint Eastwood to my husband:

I can’t imagine living where my every move isn’t analyzed and critiqued by people who have nothing better to do – Or where people care more about the car I drive and the brand of my shoes, than who I am. In the “city” no one will care if I put a tree in the yard, or if I paint my house purple, or if I put flowers next to the sidewalk.

Where I used to live I knew the Mayor and I’m related to someone on city council. (not that that helped me in any shape or form) In the city, I know no one. My neighborhood will be mixed, very mixed and I am okay with that. And when I say mixed I mean; owners,renters, races, religion, and I really have no idea what else.

I don’t know what gets stolen, at our old house my car was broken into twice while parked in our driveway, and a few garden rocks were stolen….really…who steals a small boulders? (suburban thugs?)

We are very excited. This is the perfect new chapter considering all our existing commitments that keep us in this area. My daughter did a comparison of our new house and the one in the movie Gran Torino. Several similarities, just take a look.

(I know they aren

My question; how do you live in a place that is so big there’s nothing connecting you to the area? No schools, our children are grown, no church, we don’t go to church. Well we are about to find out.

This opportunity also brings me full circle back to “unpacking the rat” because I now have the luxury of sorting as I move. I am not taking one item of clutter with me. How cool is that? I better do a good job, because I am planning on never never doing this de-cluttering thing again.

Living better with less, now and forever.

Lucky house #7. Cheers!

Tip: Be ready.

Inspiration:” For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One-day one-thing: Appreciate the songs sung by the birds, their songs are gifts.

Why do we Hang on?

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So this is my question today and I do not have the answer.

Why do we hang on to things?  What is it in our minds that puts value on things that in reality have virtually no value?

Our past is gone.  No matter how great or how horrible.  It’s gone. ( I am not talking about photos, because they actually catch moments in time)  I am talking about things, stuff, and sometimes weird stuff.  Items that we personally value whereas a stranger may consider it nothing more than trash.

What triggers our minds?

A Standard Life study suggests 28 to 40-year-olds don’t plan for the future because they prefer to reminisce about past times. Yet experts say nostalgia can give meaning to our seemingly dull lives.

In the extreme cases people can become hoarders.

From this article: “Some hoarders seem to feel unable to process all of the things that are part of their daily lives and feel “anxious, overwhelmed and ashamed” as the piles of clutter accumulate around them, according to Birchall. These people are often perfectionists and worry about making the right decision about what to do with each possession. The stress of trying to make a decision becomes too much for them, to the point where they avoid having to decide altogether by simply keeping everything.”

However, nothing can scare you straight better than watching A&E’s “Hoarders.”  I fall somewhere in between, maybe…not really as bad as an on TV hoarder, but I have enough crap to really dislike it.

I like to look at websites like Dwell and Apartment Therapy for inspiration of designs with little room or less stuff.  There are many more interesting people and sites out there that deal with living better with less. Some people live with nothing, that will never be me, but they inspire me just the same.

We don’t need to know the exact answer, it could be helpful, but I believe it is unnecessary to know in order to move forward.  Knowing what drives us in the past is good, but forget about it if you cant figure it out.  We only have to take things one step at a time with a dedicated focus as our goal.

Remember; if you are anything at all like me and you have too much stuff – change is hard, it takes times, and you will get there, eventually. Keep your focus.

You set your pace, rather your life sets your pace.  Good luck. 2012 is the year for me.  I just know it.

I wish you well.  Cheers!

Tip: Don’t buy anything.  Make a wish list.  Write it down.  Think before you buy.

Inspiration: “To live fully, we must learn to use things and love people, and not love things and use people. ” ~John Powell

One-day one-thing: Get rid of something, anything.

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. :)