clutter

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.

Another sale – really?

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I swore I was never going to have another sale ever.  I have been downsizing for what feels like forever, and I want it to be over.  But we still have way too much stuff.   I want to sell more of the large items.  The items I thought I should keep when we first left the house are in storage.  We really don’t need them.  One piece in particular is in there and it’s huge.  It’s a dining room thing….what do you even call them?  I don’t know, but it lights up inside has glass doors and a mirrored back.  It’s a large and it’s one piece so it’s a super awkward heavy thing.  And it cost me a ton of money.

It's in there behind the green boxes

My reason for keeping it?  I couldn’t sell it.  Plus I thought I’ll never buy another one of these things, what if the next place is perfect for it.  And on and on my justifications went.

It’s hard to make solid decisions when you don’t know where you are going to be living next.  It is exciting to have the flexibility, but you don’t know until you know.  Right now we are month-to-month on the business lease so very little is holding us back.  We have employees who may like to keep this office open or they may like to move, we don’t know.  We have other commitments that will keep us here through spring 2012 – so we have time.  Time to get rid of all this stuff.

It’s hard!

I sold two upholstered chairs last week and it doesn’t even feel like I made a dent.  Heavy sigh.

And now I am considering another sale to move this merchandise (my stuff ) before winter sets in.  I don’t even like typing the word “winter” or “sale” for that matter.  Once that snow falls (yard/garage/house) sales are over until spring.  People hibernate.  Life stops.  Everyone gains weight.  The only ones who like  snow are Batman and Ice, the Minimalist Gods.

What I know is, this time for sure,  I am not beating the winter blues by shopping.  No way no how.  I am so over that.  Maybe I’ll drink instead.  This could be the year of the never ending winter party, ” beat the winter blues with booze.”

I need to some focus and some good weather.  One more sale before the snow, and then,  “Cheers, I’ll drink to that.”

Tip: Don’t ever worry about the weather – you can’t change it.

Inspiration: 7 Little Things That Make Life Effortless by ZenHabits

One-day one thing: Price things for a sale and pack them in boxes that close for an upcoming sale.   Be sure to clearly label contents for each box.  If you decide against the sale,  donate the boxes.

My Ugly Belts are Laughing at Me.

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Downsizing my wardrobe will  be very tough for me.  Because clothes, in the scheme of things, don’t take up much space.  For example, today  I was looking at my belts.  I don’t wear the majority of them, but then that voice in my head said, “Don’t sort those yet, they don’t take up any space, you don’t have to make those choices today.”  So I didn’t sort them……What?!?

The goal isn’t to keep things because I have the extra space.  That is what got me into this mess in the fist place.  Yet still after all this time,  my resolve, and all that I have been doing, reading and focusing on,  that little voice, that little hoarder voice was convincing me not to move forward.  Devil hoarder voice won.  I took my filled bag of give-away-clothes to the Good-Will and my belts stayed and lived on another day.

belts living large

Not only did the ugly belts survive,  but now I still get to see them.  Sad, but one hundred percent true, some of these belts I have NEVER even worn.  But I still kind of believe I would need one of them in the future.  I might.  It’s possible.  (it’s NOT possible) I think the belts are laughing at me behind my back.  Telling their little belt jokes.  I hate them.

Right now I am going to take a time-out and SNAP myself back to reality.  I mean seriously,what the h#ll?  If I was in a gym I would have earned a penalty of 25 push-ups or even worse burpees.

(back to reality – time to  face the core issue)

Unfortunately I can, and still could, make anything seem perfectible logical to buy, save, or even pick out of the trash for myself or for someone else.  In a matter of seconds,  I can present at least four perfect rationalizations that justify any acquisition,  whether it’s lavish or simply junk.  The very root of my problem is my acquisition rationalizations.  I can not let that continue.  I need my rationalizations to focus on my goal and my goal alone.  I need that voice to tell me why it’s better for me to donate, sell or throw away things.  That has to become my stronger voice.

The devil hoarder voice has lived inside me a long long time, and I don’t think it wants to leave.   I’m its host.  I gave that devil hoarder’s voice life.  Now I have to squelch it silent….for good.

The lesson here is the one I stress over and over again; do a little something each day in the right direction and soon you’ll be closer to living better with less.   Lesson served.  (to me)

Tip: Never go clothes shopping dressed in sweats.  This only makes you think you need everything you see.  Dress nicely, look good and feel good about yourself, and then ask “do I really need this?” – before buying anything new.

Inspiration: “Women usually love what they buy, yet hate two-thirds of what is in their closets.”  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

One day one thing: Sort belts today!

Miss Minimalist Wardrobe (Comment section is interesting also.)

$200 clutter

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I realized the other day that I lost out on 200.00.  It’s as simple as that.  I saved the coupon that encouraged me to go to a new bank and open a new account. I saved it, I put the coupon in a file for future use.  Problem is I opened my new account forgetting all about the coupon.  BAM!  Two hundred bucks straight out of my pocket.  I didn’t find this “saved” coupon until well after I opened my new bank account, and way past the coupon’s expiration date.

This is just one example of the many dollars I have lost due to my cluttered life and cluttered mind.

Suggestions:  Only save food coupons for items you know you will buy within the next 7 days.   Place your coupons on your refrigerator in plain sight.

Be strict with yourself.   Write down the item or service that you will be using on your to-do list or make sure to mark it on your calendar.  For service coupons, schedule the appointment right away, do not delay.   You’ll will find over time you will  be able to identify coupons that work for you, in reality, not just in your mind.