clutter

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.

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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. :)

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?

Before and Afters

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When I got up this morning I took my vitamin, grabbed the glass next to my computer with soda in it to wash it down.  But it was left over red wine from last night.  That’s what happens when you don’t use a wine glass.  I chased that with the remnants in a can of root beer that was sitting next to it.  Root beer and red wine, not anything I will do again. Nasty.

I got to work and couldn’t find a lighter anywhere to light my candle, the relaxing CD I wanted to played was skipping and iTunes isn’t working.  I found Dark Side of the Moon on the floor (in it’s case),  so that is playing and I am still looking for a way to light this yummy candle.

I was going to do real work, but I decided to clean this mess of an office instead.

Here are some before shots.

View from door before
main real-work desk before
Home issues, other biz and art desk - before

Okay, now my Danskos just stared falling apart. Wow, I never thought that would happen.

I still have not found a lighter, I am heading home to let the dogs out, I will be back with a vacuum cleaner.

Okay, forgot the lighter at home, now going to finish cleaning up this mess.  If I can make something out of this day, anyone can.

Here are my “Afters.”   :)

from the door -after
Main work desk - after
home, other biz , art desk -after

I still have a lot to do but this took me all day.  It’s dark outside now. I will be working all day tomorrow on real work and final clean-up of this office.  Maybe then I won’t be so overwhelmed.  I’ll consolidate those post-its for sure ( have to put all those passwords & numbers somewhere- else) , and I’ll see how many document boxes I can store out of sight.

In the end , my lighter was on my desk under piles of papers, my candle was burning, and soft stoner music was playing.  Not so bad, it was a good day.

Peace everyone.  Enjoy your weekends.

Unpack the Rat’s costume: a novelist

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I have fallen behind in my de-cluttering of useless stuff, the junk in the garage, etc…. and now I am about to write a novel.  I still have no clue as to what I am going to write, but it starts November 1, 2011, which is tomorrow.

I will be busy with that, and won’t have much time for Unpack the Rat.   I’m going to  continue my journey to living better with less for sure.  Unpack the Rat has been the best thing that ‘s happened to me in a long time!  I’ve learned so much.

Happy Halloween-from my friend Unpack the Bat

Clearing out the emotional clutter was is so incredibly important to me.  Well come to think about it, all the cluttered areas are equally important to me.  They’re all connected and they influence each other.  I never, in a million years, imagined that clearing out boxes and shoes would lead to clearing out everything else and re-inventing my life.

I have a long road ahead, more work to be done, but it’s not as overwhelming as it was before.  I hope to have some great accomplishments, tips, and stories to write about when I return to Unpack the Rat.  I am excited.  Life is good, even when it’s not. :)

Thank you for reading.  I’ll be back.

Until then I wish you peace and love,

Shirley Trevor

PostScript: I really value Unpack the Rat as a place I can unload my feelings, so I may not be able to stay away. This whole “novel” writing adventure is getting a bit intimidating.

Tip: “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”~John Lennon

Inspiration:

Every-day one thing: “Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” – Og Mandino

Tree at the end of my street -fall color- nature’s incredible design. click for hi-res

Re-wire your brain – light up your life.

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It’s time.  This time, not next time, right now and right where ever you are.

(Please know I am addressing myself as well.)

No more excuses. Change your mind and change your life.  Decide today that you are worth taking care of.  Believe that there is nothing more important that taking care of yourself.   Other people do it.  We look at them in awe.  We question how do they do it? Sometimes we get jealous.  Maybe we claim they don’t have troubles, or they are younger, healthier, or they are rich, or they don’t have to work so they have the time. Over and over again we convince ourselves that they can have it all, because of something they have that we don’t.

Each time we make any excuse as to why we are not living our best life we are bullshitting ourselves – every single time.

I have no room to talk.  I am right there with everyone. I have attempted so many times to get my sh*t together that I have all the tips embossed into my gray matter.  Those tips, and they are good ones,  didn’t help me at all.  You know why?  Because I never followed through with what they said. I would read self help books up to about page 30.  You wouldn’t believe how many of these books I donated in my de-cluttering.  I had to remove all the pathetic book marks. I never stuck with anything long enough to get to the point where I knew I was living my best life.

More importantly MOST importantly, I never cleared out all the other toxic beliefs, grudges, and negatives in my heart and mind.  You have to have an open mind, that’s true.  I had an open mind.  What I didn’t have was any extra room in my mind.  You have to have a clean slate, or at least some free space in your head where new ideas can begin to live and grow.

It’s somewhat like a chalk board. Try this:

Fill a chalk board with every thing that you have issues with, and things that makes you angry, and people who have  hurt your feelings.  Write down the negative things you say to yourself.  Right down every regret you have.  Write down any and all shame you carry.  Write down the reasons you don’t exercise or eat right. Write down names of people who screwed you, or lied to you. I think you get the point.

Now step back.  Look at that mess. There’s no room for anything else.  Your board is full.  Full of sh*t.

It’s time to erase that nasty chalkboard.  Everything you wrote down doesn’t matter.  Erase it. It just doesn’t do you any good, in fact every day you keep it on your board (in your brain), you suffer.

This can be a long painful process, but at a certain point in time you will reach a tipping point where, letting go of the ugly past/present becomes easier.  You may even wonder why you didn’t do all this sooner, don’t worry that’s normal.  Here are four simple things you can do this weekend to start re-wiring your brain.

1. Don’t gossip:  It can be a habit.  Just stop it.  It is negative energy that saps you of positive emotions. It’s not nice and it attracts people who are not nice.

2. Compliment yourself: Acknowledge something that you do or did well.  Be proud of it.  It can be anything, even something as simple as cleaning out a cat box.  Just say to yourself, “That was nasty but I did a good job of cleaning it and now it’s done, the cats will be happy.”

3. Be grateful: Every day express gratitude, and recall that gratitude throughout the day.  Key word “express.”  Let someone ( even yourself) know you are grateful.

4. Stop complaining: Cold turkey on this one.  If you can’t say something nice stay silent.

This is only a start. I don’t know if this will work for anyone else, but I have used these four things and they have helped me.

I am working on changing my mental wiring, my life.  I am starting to actually see a difference.  It feels good.  My old issues, they are still there, but they have no power less influence over my thoughts and my decisions.  Letting go doesn’t make things disappear, it just means  you are no longer holding on to them.

Be conscientious of these four simple things for the entire weekend, what do you have to lose?   Happy Friday. Cheers- I love Fridays!

And if you really want to enjoy your weekend try Sunday, simply.

Tip: Don’t be hard on yourself, stop talking yourself down.

Inspiration:

This is my goal in life.


One-day one-thing: Set one realistic goal to accomplish this weekend and do it.