my soft spot

just a mom who plays hockey and knits

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Take THAT, clutter!

This post got me thinking.

I was wallowing in the clutter hell that my house and yard had become. I ignored it as much as I could, made a half-hearted effort to do some things, and that was about it.

Then, I had it. I sent a note out about the yard, offering $10 an hour for basic clean-up work. A friend asked me to hire her out-of-work husband and he's been getting things done.

And I looked forward on my calendar, and extrovert that I am, I want to have a goddamned Christmas party. (Ooh! Or after-Christmas White Elephant party!) So I divided my house into areas, and wrote out a list (it got lengthy) of what needed to be done, where.

And I've been working on it. Some things are so frustrating, but as the post says, perfect isn't really the goal; progress is. So when I find things all on the ground around the coat tree, I try not to blow my top, but remind my kid again that he needs to hang up his jacket and backpack. And I either put my jackets away or move them so they don't fall off.

Last weekend, I worked really hard on the undercounter spaces in my kitchen. One had lots of random dog crap in it (mostly dog toys, but some bowls and other things), and the other had 3 paper bags of things I'd been ignoring for a few years.

Now, one problem I have with cleaning and decluttering is follow-through. Does this ring true for anyone else? I start cleaning, go to put something away where it belongs, do a little reorganization there, and the first area is not only not clean, it's messier with the piles of things that go here and there. So this time, I really pushed myself to finish the job. I threw away the CD holders and took the old computer backup CDs to work to shred. I emptied the bags out completely and settled in to sort through the papers--recycle, shred, and keep (which was like 3 papers). I filed the papers I kept. I moved the recycle bin back to where it belonged. I put the shred bag back by the front door (my sister has a shredding service and invited me to bring a bag of shreddables rather than take the time at home).

I swept out both places, and found that my dog's dishes (on their boot tray, a trick I learned from other Lab owners to contain the drool as they drink and the food as they eat) fit in one of the knee holes, so they don't have to be out on the floor! I put my son's art bin back in the other knee hole, but it may find a home elsewhere. I'm starting to dislike things being on the floor when they don't need to.

That was one of maybe 45 things on the list, but I did it. And finished it.

And it feels great. Honestly, just great.


At 3:02 PM, November 16, 2010, Blogger andrea said...

awesome, well done. it's the little things. and it really takes such little time. now to get myself over that dread and get some stuff done.

At 3:06 PM, November 16, 2010, Blogger Jennie said...

See, I totally get that dread. Concentrate in one small area, do it up right, sit back and admire your progress. Then move on.

At 3:25 PM, November 16, 2010, Blogger McJedi said...

Yep, I can totally identify with both post and comments. I try to grab a shoebox or box or armful when I sit down to watch TV in the evening, and I end up with my piles: toss, shred, recycle, freecycle?, donate to charity, keep. And once in a great while, sell.

I put everything in its appropriate place before going to bed (shred box, donate box, etc.), and then do it again the next day. Donate the donateables every 2-3 weeks. Just gotta have faith that it'll make a difference over time. :-)

Keep blogging to us with your progress, Jennie -- when I do it, it helps me feel like I'm accomplishing things; maybe it will help you too!

At 5:06 PM, November 16, 2010, Anonymous Jeannie said...

I get the dread also, but once you get started, each small area at a time looks so much better. Also, sometimes it helps to have a purpose, like your Christmas party. Next week I plan on finding at least four coats that we no longer ware, wash them and donate them to One Warm Coat. BYW, nice blog :)

At 2:57 PM, November 18, 2010, Anonymous Maia said...

An inspiring post! I am hip deep in a closet reorganization project. It 12 feet long and only had one shallow shelf and a clothes rod. Now we have it cleaned out, freshly painted, and replete with adjustable wire shelving. The process of sorting and organizing the returning contents has begun. It is easy to get started. At some point I end up with a pile (or boxes) of misc. crap. Getting the last 10% done takes so much more work. That is when I struggle to finish the job. I will think of you and persevere. :-)

At 6:08 PM, December 11, 2010, Blogger Dharma said...

Clearing out is excellent. Go Jennie.


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