Recycling and Sunshine Led to Some Outside Decluttering

I got up earlier today as I wanted to slow roast the pork so that we could have dinner at lunchtime. Whilst cooking on a Sunday morning, I like to potter around in the kitchen/dining room and my plan was to clear the stuff by the back door and then come up with a system to prevent it building up again.

Clutter traps around the house

The problem I have is that the back door is where everything goes when it’s on its way out, whether that’s the recycling bins or the garage. It’s too easy to dump it there and it’s become a clutter trap. I’ve written about this before and actually cleared it all and then it crept back. I must look back at my posts from last year to see if I have any tips for myself 😃.

I used to fill the utility room with the same kind of stuff; however, since having it decorated last December, I’ve managed to keep it really tidy which is progress in itself and now at least it’s only in one area instead of two. By the back door is the best place anyway as it’s staring at me and annoying me every day. It’s also easy to get out there to the recycling bins, which brings me to my next point…

Tidying up the garden

My beautiful primrose plant

After Sunday lunch, I was tempted to sit outside for five minutes as the sun was shining. It was only about six degrees centigrade but there was no breeze and the sun felt just about warm enough to be comfortable without a coat (I had a jumper on and a couple of layers underneath).

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Four Productive Hours in My Cluttered Hideaway

Boxes I emptied today ready for recycling

After my daily reflection and journaling time this morning, my plan was to get on with the clearing but I just couldn’t work out where I wanted to start. I was going to go into the garage but it was too cold so I went upstairs to continue with the study.

I popped into my daughter’s room first to see what she was doing and she was in the middle of tidying up. She seemed a bit frustrated about not having anywhere to put things which reminded me that all of my large plastic boxes of photos were still taking up half of her built in wardrobe. I started to take them out and drag them into the hallway, but realised that I had nowhere to put them at the moment.

This was when my whole mood changed and I started to feel fed up. I think she sensed this and very sensibly but firmly told me not to take them out of her wardrobe if I was only going to put them in everyone’s way in the upstairs hallway. I knew that she was right because I was thinking the same thing, so we put them back in her wardrobe.

I went to the study to start sorting out the clutter but I was no longer in the mood. I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than my garage aka “my cluttered hideaway”.

In the safety of my cluttered hideaway

I put on my coat, gloves and woolly hat and went outside to the garage. I knew that I needed to be alone; not influenced by anyone else and what they were doing. Being in my cluttered hideaway really helps me get through it all, because in there, I have so much to throw away so I can make actual progress. In the house I sometimes struggle if I’m not in the mood for making decisions.

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How Do You Know if You’re a Hoarder?

I’ve been listening to a podcast series called The Clutter Chronicles for a few days now and I’m on episode 22. It’s just an ongoing conversation with a person called Mary who calls herself a recovering hoarder. She spills her heart out to a lady called Lori Koppelman about her struggles with getting rid of stuff, all in a bid to helping others. I can’t even remember whose blog I got the link from (thank you!) but I’m finding it so interesting and refreshing to listen to as I clean the house.

It makes what I’m holding onto seem like nothing in comparison, but yet it’s helping to shift something in my mind. Mary is an American, who is a year older than me and lives with her husband in a large house with many rooms full of stuff including a basement and garage. She seems to have a lot of time to tackle her clutter and is also having therapy to get to the root of her hoarding. It’s worth listening to a couple of episodes if you struggle to get rid of things or have collections of stuff that you don’t know what to do with.

Some of what she’s talking about I can relate to in terms of why she feels that she has to go through all of her stuff herself, why she rejects help, and why she feels stuck at times. I’m not quite relating to the tendency to collect things which I’m quite happy about in a way otherwise can you imagine where that would all be? It’s made me think about how the term hoarding could be broken down into two parts:

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Clearing Clutter and Making Decisions

Saying that I’ve achieved a lot this weekend is an understatement, so it wasn’t surprising that I ran out of energy about 8.30pm this evening. Apart from cooking dinner both days and skyping my mum and dad today, I have spent most of the weekend sorting through papers and other clutter. It’s been very productive. This afternoon, I helped my husband design our wardrobes and we made a few decisions.

Moving Forward with the Wardrobes Discussion

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Measuring Decluttering Success

I know when I’ve had a good decluttering session by measuring the following:

  • How much I’ve put in the rubbish bag
  • What I’ve managed to recycle (which is usually a larger pile than the rubbish)
  • What I’ve added to the charity bag
  • What I’ve put aside to sell

Today has been a good day as I’ve spent the afternoon going through some of the study/spare room. My husband (who I won’t let help me for fear he’ll throw everything away 😀) told me this week that the entrance to the room was a fire hazard. This did upset me a little bit but when I’d stopped sulking and really thought about it, I decided that he was probably right and I really wouldn’t want to tempt fate and leave it in a mess for any longer. Death by clutter doesn’t sound like a good way for me to go 😂!

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There is a Good Reason Why we Need to Slow Down

Even when we are busier than ever, people tell us we should slow down; however, no one really explains why. We know it’s something to do with stress and we know it sounds like a good thing to do, but we think we know better. When the message does eventually sink in a little bit or we wear ourselves out, we take a quick break and then go back to our old habits. I sometimes trick my body into thinking that I’m slowing down but then I go back to rushing around again once I feel okay.

Why we should slow down

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Being Inspired and Passing the Message on

Spring Cleaning the Conservatory

It never ceases to amaze me how reading a few inspirational posts in the morning can set the tone for the whole day. As mentioned in yesterday’s post I went to bed before midnight for a change which resulted in a good night’s sleep and when I woke up, I didn’t immediately get out of bed. I sat there and wrote in my planner, updated my lists for the day and read some blog posts.

One particular post that caught my attention was by Suzanne – Happily Decluttered titled Avoid the “Just in Case” Clutter Trap. I resonated with everything she wrote and delved into the comments to see what other people had written in response. I noticed that one person wasn’t sure about getting rid of things because she might need them one day (very much like me) and Suzanne suggested having a ‘holding place’ for the clutter that you cannot part with or that you think you might need again. In this particular instance she was talking about children’s things, but I thought that it could relate to anything. It shifted something in my brain and I thanked her in the comments.

It made me think differently about the remaining items that I just keep shifting from place to place that are still just getting in my way around the house. I already know that the reason why I do this is because of the attachment I have with those things. Ideas started popping into my head about what I could tackle today and how I could clear more space around the house by creating holding areas for items that I’m not sure what to do with. I was going to declutter today anyway and this just inspired me to get out of bed and get on with it.

Even though I will be creating holding places for my ‘stuff’, deep down I know I will end up giving the items to charity, selling them or just throwing them away; however, it made me happy just hearing someone else say that it was ok to put the stuff somewhere else for now. The way I see it, is that when I am in a better mindset to deal with these things, I will know what to do with them. The other way of looking at it is that by the time I come across the items again, I might have detached myself from them. I appreciate that this isn’t ideal for some people because they won’t have the space, but it’s worth thinking about categorising things in your current spaces.

Inspiring posts can stop you feeling stuck

I love to be inspired by what I read and learn; it’s why I listen to so many podcasts, audio books etc. I think that deep down I am searching for ways to move forward and I love learning something new every day. It’s also great when you find the right message just at the right time quite by chance. I could have read something similar before and just not absorbed the true message. In fact if I think about it, what I came across today is very similar to the idea of putting items in a sealed box with a date and if you haven’t thought about them after a certain length of time, you just get rid of them. I’ve never actually done that though. Messages mean one thing to one person and something else to another. Some people may never take in the true meaning of a message, some may take action straight away, and others will shrug it off due to lack of time, energy, or just not believing in themselves.

When you feel stuck (and we all do from time to time), reach out, because someone somewhere will have an answer or a nugget of wisdom that will help you. I have friends and family that help me and I return the favour and help them where I can.

I now have over 500 posts on this blog and a similar amount on My Writing Notebook and will continue to grow both by filling them with inspiration for others. Even if one person reads the post, it makes me happy. I think we should all pass our inspiring thoughts on in order to spread happiness to the world.

I’ve had a wonderful day… I sat on the swing seat in the garden in the sunshine this morning and it was really warm which was such a contrast to the snow last weekend. I then cleared and cleaned the conservatory so that I could get to the chairs that have been sitting behind a few items of clutter that has now been ‘dealt with’. I was then able to relax in the armchair in the peace and quiet to have a little bit of me-time. My newly purchased primrose plant that I picked up from the supermarket yesterday went well on the decluttered table.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to tackle the clutter by the back door (again) and also make a start on the study.

What or who has inspired you lately?

Until next time…

Sandra

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Day 50/2021 Following the Plan and Slowing Down

One of the challenges that I set myself at the start of 2021 was to work through Stephanie Bennett Vogt’s book A Year to Clear and it’s going well; I haven’t missed a day. Today I’m starting week 8 and day 50 is titled ‘Slowing Down’. I thought I would share my scribbled notes with you. I wrote down more than I thought I would when pondering the following… “If I dialed down my life a notch or two, it would mean…”

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Are We Adding to the Stress by Squeezing Out Every Last Drop?

Almost empty bottles ready for recycling

This evening I was about to run a bath when I noticed that my daughter had started using the new shampoo and conditioner bottles when there were clearly small amounts left in the old ones that she’d put to one-side.

I was going to say something to her along the lines of ‘There’s still some left in the old bottles. Can’t you try and squeeze some out?’ but then I stopped in my tracks.

I gave it some thought and decided to discard the bottles for a change. Do I really want to teach my youngest to do things ‘my way’ which is to squeeze every last drop out of everything including myself?

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I Was in the Midst of Clearing and Vacuuming the Floor When…

I just had to stop vacuuming to write my thoughts down on clearing, as words were just popping into my head….

After having a good night’s sleep, I woke up and planned my day sprinkling in some me-time breaks throughout it. This is one of them. I didn’t rush to make a start as I always like to have a leisurely first hour of the day having breakfast by myself, reflecting in my journal, updating my lists, and planning my day. Days always go better when I do this. I then spent half an hour with my husband before making a start on the things I wanted to get done today.

I told my husband that I was going to work in the study and our bedroom and would be able to let him know by the end of today what ‘stuff’ needed to be stored in our room and what ‘stuff’ would be left to organise in the study. To give you a bit of context, he is planning on building some furniture for our bedroom and wants to know how much storage we need.

Something he said drove me to get going. “I don’t think you’ll be able to do it by the end of today”.

He probably didn’t know when he said that sentence how much of an impact it would have on me, but I left the room quietly and got to work. Now, if you are thinking, why can’t he help, the answer I would give is that I don’t want him to. He’s lived with my clutter for so many years and usually doesn’t make much of a fuss (luckily). Occasionally he asks what it’s all doing there but I usually come up with some sort of excuse. Sometimes, I think I might wake up and see it all in a skip but so far he hasn’t done it. I don’t let him touch any of it, as I want to sort it all out myself. Can anyone else relate to that?

If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I love listening to inspirational audio books and podcasts and today I did that whilst clearing. The words pouring into my head were spurring me on somehow, making me look at it all in a completely different way. I made a start with something easy and then stopped after an hour to write this as it was going so well.

Today, I want to prove to myself and my husband that I can move forward and contribute to our plans to build storage in the bedroom. I feel well with no aches and pains in my head and neck; the sun is shining; it’s lockdown so there’s nothing else to do; and there’s snow on the ground so I probably won’t go out for a walk, Everything is on my side, and there’s nothing in my way.

Is today the day where I’ll make a significant amount of progress that will make a difference to our lives?

I believe so.

I will write back later to let you know how it went.

Until then…

Sandra

(Edited: WordPress have just informed me that this is my 500th post)

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