Posts Tagged ‘decluttering’

Flylady “No Matter What”

April 6, 2010

I think I finally got a genuine glimpse of what Flylady means when she urges us to make something — like decluttering — a habit “no matter what.” I got this glimpse while exercising this morning. If I can’t go to Jazzercise for some reason, I exercise “no matter what.” On days when there is no Jazzercise, I exercise “no matter what.” I don’t excuse myself from exercise because it is inconvenient or it takes more effort than usual. I just do it — “no matter what.” And exercising doesn’t take a mere 15 minutes like most of my Flylady missions and habits.

So, I’m seeing how I need to develop that “no matter what” muscle behind some of the chores (like decluttering!) from which I very easily excuse myself when it is inconvenient or takes some effort.

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Another Inspiration on Decluttering

April 2, 2010

Sometimes, when it’s one person decluttering and nine people “cluttering” (and I use that term to mean bringing stuff into our home, not necessarily trashing the place), it seems that I am not actually making any progress decluttering. This is discouraging to me when I don’t really groove into decluttering to start with. SO, I had this idea that, when I declutter, I will enlist the assistance of whomever is available to declutter with me. We’ll get twice as much (or three times, or four times, or…) decluttered in the same amount of time. I realize that my goal is to declutter before the little kids get going, but Joey is up, then and the older kids, so….

Stay tuned to see how this works!

Decluttering Continues

March 24, 2010

Even though decluttering was the habit last month, I can’t say that it truly became a habit for me during that time. So, I’m still trying to make it a part of my day. I’ve had some real success in this area (which is a big challenge for me) by setting the timer for only FIVE minutes. Five minutes is more than zero minutes. Five minutes of decluttering is more than zero minutes of decluttering. So far, so good.

A Final Musing on Decluttering, For Now

March 3, 2010

I have a feeling that I’m going to be thinking about decluttering on a daily basis as I strive to maintain this habit that, for me, is so challenging. But, I’m going to give this topic a rest, at least for awhile. So I thought I’d comment on one last Flylady post.

I think the writer of that post has hit the nail on the head: decluttering is not a project, but an ever-necessary part of home management. This is what Flylady is preaching in trying to get me to develop decluttering as a daily habit. I really look forward to the day that I can say that I’ve embraced the HABIT of daily decluttering.

Until that day, I’ll keep working on it.

Another Thought on Decluttering

March 2, 2010

When I read this post on finding treasures while decluttering, it made me smile. To me, finding “buried” treasure is one of the best rewards of decluttering. Eleanor experienced a bit of this thrill the other day when we were decluttering in her room and she found a diary she had been missing for a few days.

The possibility of finding treasures is one motivator to keep me decluttering.

Balance Check

February 16, 2010

Time for a balance check. I have some judge’s scales in mind. Or I’m kind of imagining a photographer holding up a piece of paper in front of the subject to be photographed to get the camera’s white balance set. Or maybe zooming out for a moment to get a bigger picture. Maybe none of that makes sense. Or maybe you get the idea….

While trying to develop a new Flylady habit (decluttering, obviously) can be rather exciting and challenging, it can also knock me off balance a little bit. I find myself thinking way too much about my Flylady routine and how I can fit every last little Flylady thing into my day. My Control Journal starts controlling me instead of being a tool that I use to control my day.

Any of you true SHEs will recognize that this is just residual perfectionism/all-or-nothing-ness rearing its head. But now, instead of throwing up my hands and scrapping the whole Flylady routine, I can just wave to my terminally ill perfectionism and do a balance check. I can put what I want to accomplish in my day on one side of the scale and compare it to what Flylady is admonishing me to do, knowing that I can strike a healthy balance. I can hold up the sheet of paper with Flylady’s routine on it to my subject (me!) and get a white balance. I can zoom out and see how Flylady’s routines fit into my bigger picture. Okay, maybe none of that makes sense.

Or, maybe, you get the idea….

More Decluttering Revelations

February 15, 2010

I obviously have decluttering on the brain since I’m trying to develop the habit this month with Flylady’s help. Her promptings to declutter for 15 minutes every day “no matter what” have been just what I’ve needed. I have to confess, though, that Lydia’s surgery dominated my day on Friday and I didn’t declutter that day. I decided that “no matter what” did not mean “even when your child has surgery.” I figured that I can’t really use that as an excuse on a weekly basis, so I’m pretty safe….

Anyway, I’ve had a couple more revelations about decluttering. One is that I don’t have to stick to decluttering one area until it is entirely, completely, (dare I say) perfectly decluttered. For example, I was kind of tired of working in the pantry after a couple of days and decided to declutter in the laundry room. Now, both of these areas have been majorly decluttered within the last year, so the decluttering I have been doing is more along the lines of throwing away and putting away. Yet, the work I’ve done in both areas makes utilizing those spaces so much more pleasant. It’s really kind of instant gratification.

The second revelation was not really a revelation. I was decluttering with Eleanor a little this weekend and she just reiterated what I had posted about last week when she exclaimed, “You can really get a lot done in 15 minutes!”

Today, I think I’ll declutter in the craft room.

Thoughts on Decluttering the Pantry

February 11, 2010

This week, I’ve focused my 15-minute decluttering sessions on the pantry. We have a walk-in pantry that is approximately 10′ by 7′ with a 5′ by 3′ counter in one corner and shelving on three walls. Our second refrigerator is in there and a chest freezer. Last summer, I decluttered the shelving that holds small appliances and vases, etc. I unearthed of a bunch of crock pots that didn’t work anymore but had perfectly nice removable ceramic crocks and now our chickens have some lovely ceramic water dishes. I got rid of tons of vases that I knew I would never use again, too.

But, that was last summer. This week, I was tackling the paper products, specifically. When I approached decluttering the pantry this week, I was, as I’ve mentioned before, struggling with the thought of having to make a bunch of decisions about what to throw away or give away. Okay, let’s be realistic. How difficult is it going to be to throw away or give away unused paper products? But I wasn’t thinking realistically when I started decluttering this week. I was still in mythological decluttering mode.

As I spent time sorting and organizing our paper plates, napkins, plastic cups and flatware, I kept thinking, I’m not giving away or throwing away very much stuff. I mean, you can’t organize clutter, right? Maybe I was kidding myself and not really decluttering properly. When I was all done, though, I was happily admiring my organized paper products, looking forward to how easy it was going to be to use those products, now, when I had my thought on decluttering the pantry: when it comes to decluttering, giving away and throwing away are not necessarily more valuable than putting away! If decluttering my pantry means that now I can easily get out the paper plates and napkins when I have Bible study tomorrow morning, that I can see how many plastic cups I have left so I don’t buy a lot of extras unnecessarily, that I use the plastic flatware because I can see it, then putting away is as valuable as giving away or throwing away.

As usual, Flylady keeps me thinking.

A Confession About My Timer and Decluttering

February 6, 2010

Yes, I have a confession. While I have used my timer — for it is my friend in 2010 — on many occasions, I had never used it for decluttering until this week. When I challenged myself to debunk my personal decluttering myths, I knew I had to follow Flylady’s 15-minute guideline to make my little experiment valid. After all, if I’m proving to myself that decluttering can be accomplished by dealing with it a little at a time each day, then I obviously have to set a time limit on my endeavors.

I was seriously amazed at how much I could get done in 15 minutes, how fast 15 minutes flew by AND how easy it was to stop after 15 minutes. In this journey with Flylady, I have trusted that Flylady knew what she was talking about when she first urged me to shine my sink and swish and swipe my bathrooms. I have no doubt that washing two loads of laundry every day keeps Mt. Washmore under control. I don’t question the value of wearing my lace-up shoes from the moment I get up. But, somewhere along the line, I didn’t buy into the whole idea of routinely decluttering for 15 minutes.

However, I think that my experiences over the past two days have made me a believer. I’m actually looking forward to spending those 15 minutes continuing to declutter our pantry, even though it’s Saturday. If you’ve never tried setting your timer and decluttering, I urge you to try it! You might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

My 15-Minute Decluttering Challenge: The Report

February 5, 2010

I know you all have been unable to eat or sleep or focus during the past 24 hours as you eagerly anticipate the report from my little decluttering experiment yesterday. Well, the waiting is over. Here it comes: I was correct. There were a lot of things I could throw away to which I had absolutely no emotional attachment.

My decluttering focus yesterday was a couple of bags of “stuff” that I grab to take with me when I know I’ll have some down time in the car. These bags include books, CDs, crochet projects, etc. I realized that I had gradually filled two bags with “stuff” so, obviously, there needed to be a little decluttering because one bag would suffice. Now, I did have moments of emotional engagement with some of the “stuff” (like when I found Amelia’s and Stephen’s original Target wedding registry catalog from when we went to Kansas City almost a year ago — awwww), but it was not difficult at all to throw those things away.

I got some immediate gratification for my efforts, too. For example, in the above-mentioned Target catalog, there was a $20 gift certificate to Shutterfly. Sweet. I also found a Tazo tea bag (still sealed, thankyouverymuch) that I steeped for my morning tea. AND I found some gum (also still sealed, you people) that I enjoyed yesterday.

So, I was encouraged that I CAN declutter without having to get emotionally involved with my stuff. I can make progress without shedding any tears. I can throw stuff away without angst.

Now, my next personal decluttering myth to debunk is that decluttering requires a huge amount of time to actually make any headway. I know that this myth is based on my recent decluttering experiences. I spent two days last summer decluttering my linen closet, three days decluttering the playroom, a week decluttering the clothes. I had the time and helpers to accomplish these decluttering feats. I loved being able to have ALL of the toys spread out so that I could locate every single game piece before I decided if any one game needed to be tossed for lack of components. Same with the linen closet and the clothes. I like, very much, to be able to see everything and then make a decision on what to keep and what to give away. It actually makes it much easier for me to make the decisions when I know I have the panoramic view.

And, I should stop here and give myself a little credit for the decluttering I actually have completed since I’ve been following Flylady. I mean, ALL of my maternity clothes are gone. ALL of the little boy clothes (except infant) that are smaller than Peter’s size are gone. ALL of our games are now complete and used on a regular basis. Plus, once an area is decluttered, it stays that way. There’s not an area of my home that has received a thorough decluttering that has been re-cluttered. Hmm…when I think of it this way, maybe I’m a little too hard on myself about decluttering.

Well, anyway, back to today’s mission. The way to prove to myself that decluttering doesn’t HAVE to be done in huge waves is to, yep, give it 15 minutes a day like Flylady says. So, I’m off to spend some quality moments with my timer, again.

P.S. One big decluttering challenge for us moms of large families is dealing with other people’s clutter. Here’s an example from yesterday: I noticed that there was a children’s booklet from the power company about electrical safety, the kind of publication that tends to float around the house because no one really claims it but no one throws it away because it seems to have some educational value and it was free. So, I tossed it. You’ve guessed what happened next. Mid-morning, I get a concerned look from Charlotte and the inquiry, “Where is my electricity book?” Thankfully, I had put the paper trash in a separate bag so it was not covered in potato peels. Whew.