Thursday, March 29, 2007

We Interrupt this Decluttering Blog for an Important Announcement...

Wowza! Take a look at this!
Honda Civic Type R SEDAN (yes! Four doors!) hits Japan...dare I hope the U.S. will be too far behind? We did finally get the Civic SI sedan (new for the 2007 model year and on my wish list). A six-speed tranny, man!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday. He would have been 99. Happy Birthday Dad! (Coincidentally, I had just recently received a copy of his birth certificate in the mail...I'm trying to do some family history work).

See, one result of the clutter is that there is just so much stuff that it all can't be kept track of. When there's too much to manage, history, meaning, is lost. I'm sure there were many memories, family history, special mementoes in that garage of my dad's, but we'll never really know their story.

Love you dad!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Desk Attack

While at IKEA the other day, with my Clutter Buddy, she found a desk stuff holder (heck, what do you call these?) and told me I needed it. Well, all right. We'd worked some on the desk the other week, but my actual desk surface still needed attention. I first took my supplies out of the various cardboard boxes they'd been housed in and put them into the nice, new holder. Then, I took off many of the things that had simply started living on the desk area and moved them someplace else (a cardboard box, ok? I'm working on it!).
Here's the before and the after:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spend Wisely

Dilly, over at What Every Woman Needs in Her Wardrobe, has an insightful article on value. Her blog's focus is fashion, not just high fashion, but rather how YOU can look good every day. This particular post focuses on value, perceived, and actual. She advises spending wisely, but not cheaply. Wouldn't you rather have a few nice things that suit your style than an overstuffed closet of crap that makes you look like a hag?

Yeah, me too!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Session with Clutter Buddy

We've been needing to buy new computers for quite a while. Our laptop and main desktop are old, slow and frustrating to use. Since I do my work on the computer, I need one that functions properly.

To prepare, I had to clean out the area around my computer. It's cluttered. It's messy. There are boxes of miscellaneous items, boxes of identifiable items that don't really have a home, boxes of oh, who knows what! Clutter Buddy volunteered to come over and help me move things out the door and around to clear some space.

Well, it was tough. Actually, it was friggin' hard. I didn't want to say 'thank you' when CB left because, frankly, I didn't feel thankfull. I felt bereft. She took my pile of donations away, to donate. She made strongly worded suggestions about what to keep and what to give away. She was actually stern.

I did not have fun.

Perhaps tomorrow I will feel more at rest. Today, I suffered.

Clutter sucks man. It really really sucks.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Shout out to Bauhaus_sea over at Financial Fitness

One of my favourite personal finance blogs, Financial Fitness, discusses those personal finance issues we all wonder about: is my house worth the hassles, how do I know what type of IRA I need?, can I get tickets to the Police?

Read this delightful post for a laugh!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Paper Overflow

Well, avalanche might be a better word for the amount of paper I need to deal with. Here's a shot of my 'to do, bills to pay, mail to tend to' pile:

And here are my bins of 'to be filed' paperwork. They're items as new as 2006 and as old as 1999 in there...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Closet Clearing Methodology

Everyone knows the rules. If you haven't worn it in a year, out it goes. Same for anything damaged, holey, stained, just plain worn out. Easy, right? Well, if it is, why do so many of us have closets filled to bursting with clothing, most of which fits in one of the afore-mentioned categories?

Making decisions is exhausting. It takes a lot of mental energy to decide whether an item is worth keeping or should be donated or thrown away. The larger the closet, the bigger the pile of items to go through, the more energy it will take. This is why it is crucial to go through your closet and dreser at least once a year. If you make that a yearly habit (even better, four times a year with the change of seasons), you will find it easier each time. You'll actually remember that you had decided to keep that red t-shirt another few months, and that you never actually wore it. Easy decision now, out the door it goes.

Using drawer dividers can even further simplify this task. You can take care of one division of shirts, underwear, socks, etc. in about fifteen minutes (the magic time amount, according to the FlyLady). You'll enjoy a feeling of serenity as you let go of items that don't fit your lifestyle or size or changing sense of fashion.

I had hung onto several t-shirts that I remembered really liking, but hadn't worn for a while. Why didn't I wear them? Rises changed, becoming lower. Thus, a t-shirt that formerly fit nicely and allowed adequete coverage no longerlooks right with today's lower waisted jeans. So, easy decision once I realized it: out the door!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Closet Clear Out

Moving onto the rest of my closet (again, as inspired by "It's All Too Much"), I tackled my other drawers and my hanging clothes. I didn't choose many things to cull, about eight pairs of pants & jeans, a pair of jammies I never wear, a skirt that may be from the 1980's, but I reorganized every drawer so that there is now empty space and it is easier to find what I need.

For example, the other day I had planned a walk around a small local lake that features a walking path. Problem: rainy, windy, friggin' cold weather and I couldn't find my Polartec pants. Without them, shiver city. Turned out I didn't go for the walk, and guess what I found in the bottom of one of my over-stuffed drawers? Not one, not even two, but three pairs of Polartec pants. Obviously, a dresser clear-out had been overdue.

In other news, I listed an item on our local Freecycle. I'd tried to sell it on Craig's List, but no-one followed through. Also listed two double strollers I no longer need on Craig's List. Let's hope they sell and fast; proceeds go into the beer fund.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Inspired by "It's All Too Much"

Peter Walsh, of "Clean Sweep" fame, has a new book out now called "It's All Too Much". It's different from many organizing books in that his main message is "Get rid of your stuff!!". He doesn't pull any punches, rather like Karen Kingston in fact. They both emphasize the emotional toll that clutter can take on your family, your health, your life in general.

His book is engaging, with just enough anecdotes to keep you from feeling that your house is the "worst house ever", and no annoying mostly blank pages that consist of questions for you to answer--I really hate books that do that!

Inspired by his chapter on closets and clothing, I took a brief tour of one of my dresser drawers. I did pick the easiest one, my t-shirt drawer. I had culled it fairly recently, but I still found five shirts (including two I have NEVER worn), a pair of shorts and a pair of socks to donate. I did my sock area too, pairing them up and setting aside the lonely socks. I know I have mates for them, they're just in the laundry. Really!
Here's a shot of what I'm letting go:

Monday, March 05, 2007

My Money Blog Comes Through Again

A Shout Out to My Money Blog. Thanks to his tips, I am the proud owner of two iPods, a Shuffle and a Nano, as well as numerous small bonuses for opening various accounts. Of course, these do add to my clutter in that now I have more accounts to keep track of, but heck, I think I can cope.

I tried out the Shuffle last week, took a nice long walk and listened to an audio book, Memory in Death. Nothing like a good mystery to keep you moving.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

So Much Stuff

My mother was a compulsive shopper. She preferred clothes, but also enjoyed buying linens-towels, sheets, etc. I was not able to go into her apartment after she died, I just couldn't. I knew that for me, it would be purely painful and that I would collapse on the floor crying. Just writing about it is bringing tears to my eyes. My sister, however, wanted to go in and in fact, found it comforting and healing. For that, I am grateful. So, we divided up the tasks--I get to do the paperwork, she cleared out the apartment.

Everything is in storage.

I was able to visit the storage unit and look at things, but still began to cry. So much stuff, so many clothes, many with tags still on. I guess she was trying to fill some need--for nice things, to look good (self esteem?), to nurture herself. I don't know. We'll have to make decisions sometime, I don't want to continue to store everything indefinately. I'm sure some things can go to a consignment shop or eBay, others to the Goodwill or to Dress for Success. She liked silk and cashmere, soft things.

How I deal with this will be a journey. Will I be able to let things go?