My family room – the before pictures

I don’t have my after pictures ready as I am still working on this room.  Three garbage bags full of donations to take to the Salvation Army tomorrow morning, 1 1/2 totes to set aside to sell.  Since we’ve moved to this home – quite a bit has been removed – giant toybox, 3 book shelves (1 remains), a very large computer desk, plants, and more.  At one point we had a narrow walkway to get from the door to the large bathroom.  We probably would have turned the large bathroom into a closet if it weren’t for the cat (litter box and feed station in the bathroom) and for the bunny who is in the bathroom (much calmer – was overly anxious all the time before.  I believe it’s from being a daycare bunny.)

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Roughly a third of our home was unusable because of the clutter and chaos.  Also – there are no pictures of any room at it’s worst.  and these pictures are how we lived when no one was looking.  I would have never let even family who didn’t live with us see these rooms like this.  We were very, very good and stashing and dashing.  closets bursting at seems – comments about having a lot of stuff but never would I show anyone this.

Here is picture 2 – our plant is no longer with us.  We’ve had this neglected plant for almost our whole marriage.  I didn’t want to get rid of it but also didn’t want to keep it.  plant and stand were sold at one of the yard sales this summer.  bookshelf given to my brother.  I imagine many items pictured are no longer in our home.

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Our vacuum cleaning not put away but near the walkway so we can get to it.  a solitary dress on a garment rack.  nothing goes together and it’s all chaos.

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We have this gorgeous furniture set – my husband’s computer desk and matching book shelf.  beautiful set – was a yard sale find.  We obviously don’t take care of it.  it’s loaded down with too many items.  red bins on top full of stuff, piles everywhere.

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Okay so I couldn’t just post these and not give you some progress –

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Closet (taken in March) – kitchen set sold.  sewing box sold.  pink box full of motivation/ improvement audio CDs – donated to my work.  Will show updated pictures of the closet soon.

Now for some pictures I took about 10 minutes ago – I’ve been wanting to wait until it was “perfect” but I don’t really want to wait anymore.  I spent about 10 minutes straightening up before taking these pictures.

This first picture is what you see when you are looking into the room.  I’ve been going through things and decided that I’m separating out by who needs to make the decision to keep or get rid of.  The bright green bucket on the desk is my daughter’s items, the green tote underneath is my husband’s and the black (hunger games) bag next to it is mine.  The black cauldron still holds Halloween candy and once it’s empty will join the Halloween decorations in the shed.  The bag next to the desk is full of empty bags that were full of stuff.  The tall white totes next to the couch (2 of them) were full of stuff – now empty.

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Game shelf still full but not overflowing anymore as we purged a bit of games.

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Here is the tv from our bedroom – move to the family room so I can eventually exercise in here with the Wii fit and the Kinect.  Also – here is the printer stand and game shelf that was previously in the living room.  really cord heavy but eventually we will make it more attractive.  my husband’s bowling ball that he has yet to put away in the closet.

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some totes chilling where they don’t belong – empty green tote, white tote has yard sale items, gray tote next to it has our winter stuff – hats, gloves, scarves, boots, coats, etc., large gray tote has my daughter’s toys that she isn’t ready to part with but doesn’t fit in her room – going to the shed until she is ready to part with them or wants to switch out her toys.  white box full of empty bottles for homemade laundry soap and fabric softener to give away.  bag is full of stuff I still need to sort through.

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The picture below was not taken tonight but gives you a good idea on how it’s looking now.  my husband has decided to sell these two pieces of furniture which means we have to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.  red baskets still full of stuff.  shelves have less books than before.  those plastic shoeboxes are full of art supplies that we actually use.  he is also taking about selling his computer and buying a laptop.

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I wanted to share the dryer balls my husband and I have been making!  still need to be felted.

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My daughter’s room

Now I would count the items in this room but it’d take me forever.  She isn’t buying into the less is more mindset but as you look through the pictures please remember she had LOTS more.  I don’t necessarily think we spoil her by buying lots of stuff for her though we do frequently buy her stuff.  She is our only child.  For several years she was the only grandchild on my side and the only great-grandchild.  For even longer she was the only grandchild on my husband’s side.  My husband’s mom is a bargain hunting, yard sale junkie.  If there were trophies to be won for purchasing “bargains” she’d have them all.  What I’ve learned is that it’s not really a bargain if you don’t really need it.  I’ve also learned that you can’t base needs off of what a young child says they need.

My daughter absolutely LOVES all of her stuff.  Everything is her favorite and she remembers everything.  The squeaky turtle bought for her when she was two?  she remembers – where she got it and who got it for her.

She got bit by the clutter bug hard.  Gotta love my daughter – but she doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I always dread seeing certain family because I know we are going to be bringing home new “treasures”.  porcelain dolls, dollar tree finds, funky clothes, books, coloring books, their junk mail.  Yes my daughter falls in love with junk mail, catelogs, coupons and scraps of paper.  She collects rocks, coupons, stuffed dogs, squinkys, mighty beans, littlest pet shop animals, polly pockets, my little ponys, zhu zhu pets, leaves, books, candy wrappers (not laziness but because she likes them), pieces of yarn, paper, acorns, pine cones, winter gloves and Christmas socks.

I’ve asked my mom to do a lending library for books and toys so that I can bring them back to her for the other grandkids to enjoy.  She graciously accepted and understands how overwhelmed I get so she has cut back dramatically on gifts for my daughter to bring home.  – small measured doses.  His mom would flood us with yard sale treasures every Saturday.  Toys and items constantly flowing in for my daughter.  People give her stuff – every Polly Pocket item ever made? Check we got it for free.  More My Little Ponies than what 10 girls could play with?  check.  again for free.  Dora kitchen set, baby doll strollers, carseats, giant snowmen, check, check and check.

When we did that yard sale for a friend she told my daughter she could have whatever she wanted.  I cringed inside.

I’m complaining – they all mean well.  We’ve gotten so many things for free from who care.  I get flustered and overwhelmed but some of the things we really needed and couldn’t afford.  My daughter’s bed and sheets were all free.  We couldn’t have afforded such a nice mattress set for her and sheets are expensive.  Our couch and recliner, though not my style were free, given to us by his parents.  Our couch in our family room that I love also free courtesy of my mom, who gave it to my brother, who gave it to my sister, who gave it to us.  Many of my daughter’s beautiful clothes including her favorite pair of Uggs and some high end clothes given to us for free from my boss.   Winter coats to keep her warm.  It has really helped us stretch our money.  I typically only have to buy her 2-4 outfits when she outgrows her clothes because my boss’s friend’s daughter must go through growth spurts at the same time so when my daughter outgrows hers we always seem to get a new bag.

Our microwave? a wedding gift, our dressers? a yard sale find.  My daughter’s dresser? free from my brother.  I need to be a better guardian but I also can succeed by not letting the unwanted items linger in my home.  I’ve sold alot of stuff which often feels selfish as I should be blessing others but I sell the items super cheap.  I also donate quite a bit too.  My massive amount of clutter came in super helpful when my town flooded.  They needed clothes – I had a 100 white t-shirts from when I owned a tshirt press.  All the beautiful clothes?  there was a desperate need for clothes my daughter’s size.  Underwear – the extra packs I bought and were given to us put to good use.  All those unused coloring books went to children who had lost everything along with boxes of school supplies, art supplies and hygiene items I had unfortuneatly stock piled.  Bags of towels and sheets were donated – given to us by friends and family put to good use by people devastated by the flood.

That flood helped us.  It brought our community closer and brought my family closer.  My husband, daughter and I felt so fortunate that we didn’t lose our home and stuff.  We felt sorrow and grief for those who lost.  Countless pictures of lost and devistation called us to action to part freely with items that were just taking up space in our home.

Most people don’t know how much we had.  I was so ashamed by the sheer amount that I couldn’t have people in.  My storage unit was bursting and I made regular trips there to add more.  I couldn’t stop accumulating whether it was free, given to me or purchased.  I needed stuff.  People weren’t invited in when it was at it’s worst.  Pictures weren’t taken inside the house because I was ashamed.  ASHAMED!   I would love to have more before pictures but they simply don’t exist because I would never have taken them.  I have various pictures from the last two years but that’s after I found Fly Lady and then Miss Minimalist.

Here we go!

Embarassment awaits – I found some before pictures of my daughter’s room just now.  These are not before before but beginning of summer before.

This is what you saw when you were near her doorway.

This is what happened every time she played.

This was the top of her dresser.  There were too many clothes than what the dresser could handle.  Please note this room also used to have a student desk in here and a night stand (the one that is now in my room).

After!

This didn’t happen over night but rather over the course of 6 months.

Still cluttered but a lot less stuff.  The before picture was after downsizing.  This one is much better.  I’ll share what she chose to keep on her dresser – Goldie and Goldie’s tank and food.  A jar/ vase with a few rocks and shells from her collection.  the plants vs. zombies house, the signed bowling pin and birthday hat from her 6th birthday, a timer, a toilet paper owl she made at school, a rather large pack of C Batteries (bought with yard sale money) and a jewelry box that she rarely if ever uses.

Her purse hanges on the door, nothing behind or under.  Her two monster high wigs hanging on the door.  I HATE the stickers all over but you really have to pick your battles.

That massive white tower used to be full of Polly Pocket with an additional tote for Polly Pockets.  Now?  just the three bottom drawers, this also now houses her littlest pet shops, her squinkies, her jewelry and assorted small toys.  The black set of drawers?  her dress up clothes and dress up clothes for her babies and toys.

Not too bad – much less than what used to be here.  a box of for paper collection, and her musical instruments.  a shoe box hanging out next to the tv stand.

Her toy net and shelf.

her toys whittled down enormously

more floor space

her bed.  The two giant snowmen are not regular guests.  she typically has a small stuffed dog and small elephant, her dog happy napper and her dog pillow pet, two pillows and tons of blankets.

so definately not a minimalist room or even a Lagom room but no longer the room of a hoarder.  it’s a work in progress.

 

My living room – the update!

Living Room

Our living room is definately better.  More or less it’s similar to my previous numbers posting.  We have removed most of the video games out of this room. (now in the family room)

We kept the PS3 in this room so we can watch netflix and movies.  I liked the bins so much in my daughter’s room that I bought one for the living room.  I chose not to put the top two baskets in so that I could use the shelves as a place to display my favorite Christmas decorations.  I could never be a minimalist with no Christmas decorations but I did realize that I also don’t need four totes full.

Usually our living room is plastered with holiday stuff to where it’s overwhelming.  not so much this year.

As you can tell there is quite a bit less here than before.  7 of our favorite Christmas decorations are on the two shelves but my snowman sitting on the floor next to Jack’s bed.  The PS3, two controllers, tv controller and surge protector make up the other items pictured.  Want to know what’s in the basket?  Two Christmas collection DVD sets for easy access!  Hanging on the wall is my TV and my picture frame.  It seems cord heavy in the picture but we will have to make due.

Second view – our Christmas tree full of ornaments and a newly aquired tree topper to replace our beloved but broken tree topper.  our snowman tree skirt, a wooden santa, our recliner with my husband’s sweatshirt and coat.  Two pictures hang on the wall – will be moving them to a better location eventually.  Hidden behind the recliner are two folding tables for when we have parties for my daughter.

This is what you see when you walk into our living room.  our couch was moved because my husband wanted to see the tv better so it no longer rests flat against the wall.  my laptop and a tiger pillow on the couch and my cat sleeping.  9 pictures hanging on the wall and blinds but nothing hanging from the ceiling anymore.  Our cat’s tower against the wall.

behind the couch – jack’s crate with his blankets, toys and treats.  Our bench to the kitchen table and 4 of my daughter’s favorite toys for Christmas.

Hidden on the window sill are about 15 acorn squash and mini pumpkins.  I’m going to have to throw these in the woods soon as they will be rotten before long.

So another glimpse of my life – not minimalist, not a hoarder but comfortable and lived in.  My living room makes me happy

Minimalism, Lagom and Hoarding

I know you are probably wondering what minimalism, lagom and hoarding have in common – most would say that minimalism and hoarding are the complete opposites but I believe they have a lot in common.  Does stuff or the lack of stuff make people happy?  I imagine many would say yes.  I believe that with either it’s always about one more thing.  One more thing to acquire or one more thing to purge.  it never seems to be enough.  walking through the stores thinking will this item make me happy?  walking through the house thinking will this item need to leave my house?  Either way it’s about that strong urge to focus on stuff (or the lack thereof).

Lagom however is this wonderful Swedish word that roughly translates to just the right amount.  Hoarding can be too much stuff.  Minimalism can be too little stuff but Lagom is just the right amount.  If 100 items is just the right amount for you to where you don’t feel deprived and you don’t feel overwhelmed then that’s your number or those are your things that you need.  If 5,000 items is just right for you to fit your needs (a crafter maybe? with a large family) then that’s your number.  However it’s not about the number at all it’s more about having what you need no more no less.  For each person this is different.

So with Lagom it is okay to buy new things, it’s okay to own things and it’s okay to be at peace with things as long as it’s the right things for you.  Be happy with embracing enough, embracing equality and sharing of resources by donating items that no longer fit you and your lifestyle, resist the call for too much or too little.

I’ve decided that instead of trying to reach for this unattainable goal of living a minimalist life with my unwilling husband and daughter that I should strive for a Lagom life and be confident that if we keep what we love, enjoy and use that our home will be comfortable and happy.

My home update

I will admit that as I’ve been purging and decluttering that I am happier but is it about giving up the stuff or is it a combination of everything I’ve been going through.  I still think too much about stuff and I’m not okay with that.  I still feel the strong urge to acquire and have actually bought more since starting on this process.  I still feel the strong urge to declutter and get rid of stuff.  Now don’t get me wrong, the number of my items in my home have been steadily decreasing but some of the quality has been increasing.  quality involves more money put into the item.  We got rid of hundreds of items with our last yard sale.  so we rushed off to the store and bought a keurig.  we love it and my husband uses it daily.  so definitely a good purchase.  the kcups are expensive and although we have a reusable filter my husband prefers the cups.  reoccurring “luxury” costs.  still takes up less room than all the other stuff.  this awesome coffee machine creates the urges to buy MORE!  Now that we have this lovely machine sitting on our counter I want to buy a lovely display rack to store the cute little cups in.  We haven’t bought it but I want it.  Hate the wanting.  I want to not want.

The kitchen has less stuff in it but it still gets messy so fast.  I buy food that we don’t really need because I have a food obsession and often feel deprived based on the trauma of my past.  We have less dishes but still hate to wash the ones we have.  We have less bakeware – this one is hard for me as I want to buy more.  We don’t need more than 1 cookie sheet or 1 cupcake pan or more cookware than we have but I WANT it.  I am really trying to justify buying a few loaf pans but I don’t really need them.  When I was at my mom’s house I baked three delicious little loaves of bread so now I want them to bake bread at home but in reality I always have frozen bread dough but rarely do I ever make loaves of bread with it.  I use it to make rolls, or pizza, or pull apart bread or any number of things but very rarely would I make loaves of bread.

One recent purchase that I absolutely love is my rice cooker/ food steamer.  I use it frequently, it’s super easy to use and to clean and it makes more than just rice.  I made quinoa today and it turned out perfectly.

My daughter’s room

We got rid of lots in my daughter’s room but spent money upgrading her things.  We got rid of her rather large toy box and replaced it with this rather cute set of drawers which holds considerably less toys.  She is amazed at how much more room she has to play in her room.  She is spending more time playing now that she has less stuff!  The toy box she purged was one of those long outdoors storage benches made out of plastic – they hold a lot of stuff.  She is ready to get rid of it completely but I’m not.  We put it outside next to the shed and I put her roller skates, moon shoes and the fishing poles and tackle box in here.  Better than them being all scattered about.

She wasn’t ready to part with most of her toys though so I bought a large tote to store these toys in the shed until she is ready to part with them.  She was able to choose what toys went into the bins for her room and what toys went into storage.

One thing she purged from her living room was her bed frame.  strange – and sometimes i worry what people would think of my daughter’s mattresses being on the floor but she is happy with it and it makes her room look bigger.  I like it because nothing disappears under her bed anymore.  I also like it because we are not banging into the metal frame anymore.  (the polly pocket toys all fit in a bin so when her room is picked up the only toys you see are the three babies on top and the stuffed animals in her net.)  so her room bit by bit is getting to where it needs to be.

 

 

Pleasantly Exhausted

Today was a successful yard sale day!  the beginning was questionable as it was super wet and very chilly.  we were determined however because my husband had taken the time off of work and we had no other choice but to go ahead or else wait until next month.  the ad was paid for, the signs were up and the items priced.

here are the positives –

  • 1/2 the shed is still full of items to be gotten rid of but nothing was brought back into the house except empty totes to be filled with more unwanted clutter and items that belonged in the house.
  • I got the opportunity to spend the day with a fantastic person and got to meet lots more wonderfully interesting people.
  • I got to see my mom! and my daughter got to spend some lovely time with her as my mom helped us out by taking her to a birthday party at the skating rink.
  • we made enough money to purchase our fire pit plus extra – we are thinking A/C unit as I detest the heat (the gazebo was already purchased with pre-sales and a lovely anniversary giftcard from my wonderful sister).
  • my daughter made a whooping $50 plus by selling her items.  This means she is able to purchase all three items on her wish list – a stuffed Club Penguin puffle toy, Kinectimals for the Kinect and a water table.  a super duper positive is that these items take up sooooooooooooo much less room than the items that were sold.  LOVE IT!
  • my daughter was able to receive her new bike from us today – we offered her a deal she couldn’t refuse – we pre-purchased a new bike for her – larger than her current bike, fancier too with sparkly streamers coming out of the handle bars – no training wheels and in her favorite colors no less.  We put this in the shed.  We purchased her a 6-month Club Penguin membership.  then we offered her $1 per item that she put into the yard sale to be put towards these two Shiney, enticing prizes that she couldn’t refuse.  She earned both with flying colors.

Tonight I’m sitting in my home – it’s messy and things need to be straightened and put away but it feels SO much bigger.  Clutter makes spaces smaller and crowded.  Declutter is the best way to make a small home bigger.  I can twirl and dance around in my family room should I so chose.

There is so much space and I’m in a little bit of shock, a lot of bit of awe and all over relief.  this is going to be so much easier to clean.  this will give me more time to have fun with my family!  how happy is that!

today i was also able to joke about things with the people that i met and the people i spent time with today!  it felt good – joked about my OCD (as it’s not crippling me – thank u Dr. L and the medicine that’s working), joked about me, joked about life.  it felt good to laugh and just be happy.

today i spent the entire time outside.  this is HUGE!  6:30 – 8pm setting up then 8-4 yard sale then 4-9 dinner and games in the gazebo.  all day and i’m still alive and well – (with the exception of a sun burn).  all day outside and i’m still happy.  life is good.

pocket full of money to buy what we really want, 100’s less items in my house so clutter banished, and an enjoyable day.

tomorrow i think i’ll spend 15 minutes cleaning up the kitchen, 15 minutes in zone 1 (the entrance, front porch and dining room) and then relax and enjoy time with my daughter.

Fly Lady’s habit for the month is drinking water so i’m going to give this a shot – maybe more water will help with my on-going health problems (multiple UTIs since February) and give me a glowing complexion.  Did you know that drinking water can help you lose weight, helps you get rid of headaches, makes you look younger, relieves fatigue better than coffee and can put you in a better mood?  there are many incredible benefits from this “simple” act.

I learned this years ago and it still sounds true – do you know how much water to drink per day?  many people know the 8 glasses of 8oz of water.  I learned that you should take your weight then divide it by half (200lbs divided by 2 is 100).  there you have the daily fluid ounces.  so the 8×8 makes sense if you do the math.  An average person of 128 pounds would need to drink 64 ounces per day.

Here is a great water calculator that I found!  It equaled my above method for determining water requirements.

Decluttered the shed and played in the creek

After surviving the outing I was starting to feel energized.  I was ready to tackle the shed.  We only have 3 small closets in our home so everything goes in the shed (or on the family room floor).  My husband pulled out the grill which required everything being taken out and then put back in so it was a hot mess.  craziness abounds.  I took with me a roll of masking tape, a black sharpie, garbage bags and a microfiber rag.

One by one I pulled out a tote, sorted through it and pulled out items for the yard sale.  The mismatched items put together and totes formed lines out on the lawn.  As I pulled out an item for the yard sale I wiped it over if needed with the rag and then priced it then and there.  It felt good knowing that at least those items won’t be priced during the yard sale itself because it’s already done.

2 full totes ready for the yard sale.

Here’s what I was able to sort and organzine!

  1. 2 yard sale totes
  2. 4 totes full of my daughter’s things for her to ultimately decide what to do with.
  3. 3 Halloween totes – decorations, costumes, etc.
  4. 1 Thanksgiving/ autumn decorations tote
  5. 4 Christmas decorations totes

There is more to go but I’m proud of my accomplishments today.  1/2 the shed is neat and organized.

The Creek

I’m not very good at outside play.  My daughter asked to play in the small section of woods near the creek.  The answer is always no but today it was a yes.  I figured I was outside sorting totes so she would be within earshot if needed.  She ran up to me and was so excited about a “BIG ROCK!” that you could walk on and she wanted me to see it SOOO BAD.  Normally I would say no.  Today I said sure if you help me finish up a small section in the shed.  We walked into the woods and she pointed down the steep slope down to the creek bed and rocky shore.  She slide on her butt down the hill and yelled up, “See Mom!  That’s a big rock isn’t it?”  I must admit it was huge.  I stared at the slope – battling within myself – “Do I go down? I could get dirty?  My shoes might get dirty and I really like these shoes.  What if I fall?  I could get a cut and bleed and then I would have to look at it.  If I lost my balance and had to touch NATURE then my hands would surely get dirty.  The dirt would get on my clothes and then what if the wash machine doesn’t get the dirt out all the way or what if dirt is left in my washer and then the dirt would get on my other (dirty) clothes.  What if I get down there and there is a spider?  What if I step on a snake?  What if, what if, what if.  maybe i can search for an easier way down because this way is MUCH TOO RISKY but then I’d be walking further into NATURE and then I might encounter more unpleasant things and I don’t want to disappoint her but I JUST CANT DO IT”  This internal monologue took all of 1 minute and I gave you the abridged version.

I was about to say, “okay now, it’s time to come back up” when the unthinkable happened.  My feet took me down the steep slope.  I had to quickly force my hands out of my pockets so I could actually make it safetly down the hill. but I didn’t fall.  It was easy – much easier than I ever could have thought.  I walked right over to the giant rock and climbed up it with her.  On my way down the hill I saw some spring flowers hidden in an unusual place and wandered up the rocky shore to show her my discovery.  It was beautiful – she thought so too.

She was overwhelmed with childhood delight and was telling me how much she loved it down there.  I remember loving it once when I was young before the OCD took hold.  I remember the adventures, my love for nature.  She saw an “undiscovered island” in the middle of the creek.  This creek is only a few inches deep (6 at the most) and about 15 feet across, maybe 20.  The island was a small section of rocky ground that was barely above the water.  she started building a rock bridge to get to this exciting island.  her feet were getting wet, so were her socks and pant legs.  It was a bit chilly out and I thought about correcting her and heading back up when I found myself bending down to pick up a large, dirty rock.  I carried it over and added it to her bridge.  I add another, and another.  I saw some spiders, a salamander, lots of mud, thankfully no snakes.  I stepped on her bridge and felt the water seeping into my favorite shoes and I stepped further in.  I dropped a particularly heavy rock in the next spot and water splashed up over me and her and she started laughing so loud.  I laughed a bit too.  We got her bridge to a point where she thought she could jump to the island.  It was a bit too far and I knew she couldn’t make it.  Normally I would say that it wasn’t good enough yet and make her go the extra step to make it just right.  I said, “Go for it”.  She was a few inches shy of the dry land but i knew she would be safe (wet, but safe).  She picked up some rocks from the other side and added a few to make up for the shortage and proudly walked back across and said, “we made this – our bridge to our island.”

Hesitation is a problem maker (though it is a safety mechanism).  Mine is overactive.  It was time to climb that slope.  Normally I would second guess every step, every scenerio and ultimately need help getting up the hill.  I just went for it and beat her up the hill and was actually able to offer someone else the helping hand.  Which she refused to my delight because “she got this”.  she figured it out on her own.  she won’t be stuck staring helplessly at a situation without working her way through.

Today was my day to explore the creek instead of passing this opportunity off to my husband like all the times before.

Decluttering my Books and Family room

Decluttering is mentally exhausting.  I’m in the middle of a break from the dreaded family room.  My vision of the family one is reasonable I believe.  I’d like a clutter free room to give my daughter space to play during her inside time this summer.  I envision a bright, clean space with open possibilities.  My requirements for this room are as follows:

  1. The couch has to be useable at all times.  This means nothing on the couch or piled in front of the couch.  It’s a hot mess right now – just saying.
  2. Her table – clean and cleared for projects and games.
  3. It has to be comfortable for reading with easy access to the books.  My book shelf and my daughter’s bookshelf should have only books we would read that fits activities we would actually do.
  4. Art supplies – neat, organized and within my daughter’s reach
  5. Board game book shelf easy to access.
  6. Plenty of floor space.

Currently, it’s filled with everything.  It’s also full of too much – books, games, supplies.  I called my mom and asked her for help.  We have a declutter date planned for two Saturdays from now.  She will help hold my hand through this process and I will buy her lunch.  My mom reminded me of how hard it was for me to originally sort through my daughter’s clothes.  I wanted to cling onto everything regardless of the size or condition.  Mom pushed me to keep only what was good and what fit her.  Since that initially struggle it’s become easier to maintain my daughter’s clothes.

A big problem is that my husband and I hold onto things because they are in good condition, we paid good money for it, it might be useful someday.  We both agree however to not keep things deemed to be garbage but sometimes I think that certain things could be useful someday.  We also differ on when we want to purge.  When my husband is ready he gets rid of things and I want to beg him to reconsider some of them because I can’t let go.  When I’m ready to purge I want to donate everything just to be done with it but there are many items he will only get rid of if we sell it.  I do need some help though because we have nice things, useful things.  It would be easier I think if the family room was full of junk but it’s not.

I realized that my daughter would save everything.  scraps of paper, every assignment and worksheet ever brought home, expired coupons, dollar store toys, outgrown toys and more.  She saw me sorting through her school papers and wanted to know why I was throwing some away.  I told her that I look carefully at all of them but only handpick a few to save.  She said okay but I could tell she wanted to reach into the trashcan and pull out the papers.

I think the big reason I hold onto things is because of dreams – I dream that I’m going to be a crafter selling beautiful items on Etsy.  I have glue guns and felt and pins, buttons and beads, this and that.  I had a great idea for felt flower pins with button centers.  I rushed to Walmart and bought the supplies.  A year later and everything is still in the wrappers.  not a single flower pin created.

I dream that my daughter and I are going to explore the world together.  I dream that I’m an outdoorsy adventurer type – even on a good OCD day I will never be that person.  I dream that I’m a muscian, an artist, a photographer and a writer.  We have books on art and science and crafting, cooking, camping, play activites and 101 things to do and be and training guides and research materials.  We have camping gear, photography props, crafts, art supplies, graphic design books, paper plane kits, gizmos and guitars, a microscope and hats – tons of hats.

I worked on a pile here and a pile there today in the family room.  Slowly the garbage can is filling up, the yard sale tote as well.  Too much still is still piled around.

I needed a noticeable difference to the room or at least one area that finally looks decluttered.  I worked on the four red baskets ontop of the shelf.  I labeled them finally, one for cords, one for DS/electronic games and items, one for photography related items and an assorted bin.  I cringed when I wrote assorted on the label.  Almost any article you read about decluttering and organizing tells you not to label things misc or assorted.  How do I define the hodgepodge items in this basket though as anything other than assorted?  (air pump to my exercise ball, foam piece for the AC, spare brita filter, voltive candles, etc).  No other title seems to fit.

I worked on my book shelf.

My beloved Harry Potter series is now in the yard sale pile.  I’ve read them twice and have an electronic copy so the books have got to go.  Also in the pile to sell are my Lemony Snickett books – The Series of Unfortunate Events.  I love them but they take up so much room.  Parenting books and social work DVDs are being donated to my work’s collection.  How-to books on things I’ll never do are in the pile to go.  I held on to some that really should go but emotions are wearing me down.  At this point in time – there are no books doubled up on my shelves.  That makes me feel real good.  One series remains on my shelf even though I have the electronic version for my ereader – i guess I’m just too attached to my Hitchhiker books.  maybe someday but definately not today.

The yard sale pile is getting bigger and the mess is getting smaller.

I look around my living room and am reminded about why I am going through this emotional roller coaster of decluttering.  I have ADHD and I believe my daughter does too.  My husband is chronically depressed.  We need a calm, clean environment to be healthy.  The dirt and clutter wears us down, makes us worse.  Our home is our santuary and we need a place to relax and heal.

My living room is calming down, clearing out.  The purpose is known.  Our gaming center with tv, three comfortable recliners, a table for our laptops and a folding table for games or folding laundry.   a student desk tucked away for my daughter.  the dog’s crate and the cat’s tower.  the clutter sneaks in but is swept away in 15 minutes or less.