Sunday, October 21, 2012

The de-cluttering continues.

My younger son, still in high school, shuttles back and forth between his father's house and mine, swapping homes mid-week. When he arrives, school things get dropped in front of the wood stove in the den and that area becomes the staging ground for the week. Some powerful force field is created and my stuff (see the gym bag and yoga mat?) gets sucked in, too. But it drives me crazy.
When he's not outside, my son is often at the computer, playing games, reading, doing homework or researching his latest project. Within a week the place is littered with cups and socks and a variety of papers and junk.
This room is where we watch movies and also where I pay bills, read, work on business paperwork, and have my own computers, both laptop and desk. When you add in my phone and iPad, I actually have four computers. I guess I'm a bit of a geek. Anyway, although we spend a lot of our time in this room - we're both in here now, in fact - it's hardly a serene place. It's probably the most cluttered room in the house. Have I mentioned it drives me crazy?
I noticed the UU church was having a course on clutter, but I found out too late to sign up. I bought the book and decided to work through it on my own. Ironically, on Amazon the physical copy was cheaper than the ebook. Cheap enough used that I decided to get the book even if it meant bringing another thing into the house.  Because that's the point of the book really - about our relentless acquisition of stuff and deep reluctance to part with anything once we have it. It's written by the organization guy on the show "Clean Sweep," but it isn't focused on organizing as much as divesting. I took the test and am actually pretty much mid-range. Most of my house is neat and I even enjoy getting rid of things. Still, I don't live as lightly as I'd like and I am looking to pare down in preparation for leaving this house in a year or so.  
It has to get worse before it gets better. I collected up the piles of paper and emptied out the file cabinet. And then started purging.  All utility and credit card bills except the most recent, gone. Papers I wasn't sure why I'd saved in the first place, gone. I sorted and threw away and signed up for web statements from my retirement funds. I didn't need to set up a system for paying bills because the checks for those get written as soon as they come in and I already bank on-line.
The revised system - lean and organized.  In addition to getting rid of a bunch of papers, I also dumped all the back issues of magazines in the recycling bin and put the magazine rack in the pile of stuff to charity. Along with several stacks of books and some games we never play. Everything that belonged in other rooms left and things that had no real use went into the trash.
My son still has to use this room for school work and so I've left his backpack and school books, and also let him keep a few things here that shouldn't be stored in the basement. I'd prefer it to be clear of all that stuff, but I recognize that his needs have to take precedence for the time being. So it's not perfectly clear, but it is way better.
The book emphasizes that is in an ongoing process, not a one time deal. Another day, I want to pare down the CDs and store them in a less bulky way, for instance. But I'm pretty happy with it, and plan to make a sweep of the place at least once a week to keep us on track. Next up, I'll tackle another room in the house. But right now I'm going to drink my coffee and bask in the thing of beauty that is my den.

37 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I am going over to check that book out. Your room looks wonderful and I so much want to join you in de-cluttering my life. It will bring peace into my life.

    LOL...I said it will bring peach into my life. Had to delete!

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    1. Peaches and peace - both good to have in your life!

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  3. I didn't even realize that was Peter Walsh's book, I love him.
    Watched him on the OWN channel. I definitely have to buy it!

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  4. We are working on clearing out our garage today. I have furniture from many family estates, and they have collected to the point that we cannot get a car into one side of the garage...so Goodwill is going to have a bonanza today. The papers are what pile up. I have started numerous systems, and they work for a little while, then things start to pile up again. It is hard when you have to have another person buy into the system. I also have tons of work files from when I was officing at home. They cannot be thrown away yet, and they are filling the basement. I don't want to pay to store them. Haven't gotten a solution for that yet. I think it is interesting that we have gotten this bug to de-clutter in the fall, not as part of "spring cleaning".

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    1. I periodically go through stuff in my garage and donate it. But you're right - paper is insidious. I have a stack of things I need to enter into a spreadsheet, and also old patient charts in a locked cabinet. I look forward to when they pass the required holding limit and I can shred them!

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  5. that one time makes you feel nice though...and you see progress but it is a discipline that you have to stay after if you really want to declutter...but think of the peace...

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    1. It does, and its a necessary part of any on-going commitment to living a less cluttered life. Worth putting the effort into to keep it going.

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  6. Good for you for taking the incentive to do this and realize you need to declutter and purge some things not needed/used, etc. Realizing that is half the battle in getting the work done I do believe. We are STILl in the midst of trying to declutter hubby's parents' home they lived in before they went into assisted living and we moved in 18 months ago. They have since both passed. They NEVER got rid of anything. We have found paid bills all the way back to when they were first married (1947), cancelled cheeks, etc. It has been a MESS to deal with. Conversely, we seem to move every 2-3 years so I got used to decluttering prior to moves so we hardly have anything we don't use.

    Room looks nice!

    betty

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    1. I went through that with my Grandmother's house after she died. She held on to everything, too. Finally, we threw up our hands and brought in an estate sale company!

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  7. Good for you. I decluttered when I moved from my Toronto house out here to the edge of the Atlantic. One thing I would recommend to you would be to put all your CDs on Ipod/pad. Eliminates more clutter and you can sort it all in playlists, etc.

    One thing that bugs me, until a digital system is perfected, is my vast movie collection (over 2000). They are everywhere (though shelved and indexed). And I hate being so anal about them.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. I do have all my music in iTunes, but I lost all of it once when I changed computers and now I'm reluctant to let my CDs go! But my plan is to just save a few of them (especially local or old ones that would be hard to replace), in paper sleeves, and get rid of the rest. Movies aren't a problem for me - I have only a few that are really the kids', so they can take them when they go.

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  8. Good for you for decluttering. I'm the same way, I can't stand clutter. I live in a studio apartment, so it's very important for me to keep up with things and not allow them to accumulate.

    Hey, you do yoga too? I LOVE yoga! It's truly one of the best forms of exercises for me because it good for both the body AND the mind.

    Btw, your den looks faaaaabulous! You did an awesome job!

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    1. Thanks! I had a studio apartment when I was on internship and it stayed immaculate because even a tiny bit of clutter overwhelmed it. But bringing kids into the picture changes everything!

      And I'm afraid I don't do yoga. I have really bad carpal tunnel problems and can't put weight on my wrists. The mat is for the floor part of Zumba. We do some yoga and pilates-like moves, but I don't do the ones involving my wrists.

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  9. The room looks really nice, tidy and homey. I like that feeling too of having decluttered and living more sparsely. It feels less stressful somehow. But I sure hate the process that's necessary to getting there. Good for you for taking it on.

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    1. This den is funny - it's as if the original owners just needed a cabin-like room and added this, with a brick surrounded wood stove, knotty pine walls and wooden shutters. At first it seemed a little hokey to me, but now I love it.

      You know what? I don't mind the process terribly most of the time.

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  10. i've been feeling the urge to purge myself. since i am unemployed i've at least tried to get a little organized. my main acquisition problem is books....oh my...yes, i am not to be trusted in a book store. your place is looking good though!

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    1. Might as well use that time. I have been gradually divesting of books for a few years, realizing that I virtually never re-read books.

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  11. this is what I definitely do asap, esp. with papers at home...
    Blog about life and travelling
    Blog about cooking

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    1. Papers are like viruses - they replicate of their own accord.

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  12. I might have to pick up that book. I am not good at letting things go!

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    1. I think the majority of us are not good at letting go.

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  13. It's amazing how much better I feel in a room with no clutter! I've come to the point where I don't want gifts of any sort anymore unless they are consumables.....food, candles, shower gel!

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    1. I told my mother that before my birthday - and a couple of years ago I converted to only giving consumables as gifts.

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  14. Jenny and I both have a horror of clutter so we tend to throw things out and tidy things away on a regular basis. Even so, there comes a time when one room or another is filling up and we have to have a big purge. Your blitzed room looks amazingly tidy now!

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    1. Thanks, I am committed to picking up regularly to keep it this way. It's tough with kids because they are like tornadoes in terms of redistributing stuff.

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  15. It's such a satisfying feeling when one declutters isn't it?

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  16. *shivers*

    We both felt the same topic tugging on our souls.

    YES: reduce, re use, recycle, give away, donate, clear away,: make it a peaceful home.

    It feels so light and good and I wish I wouldn't let such long stretches of time go between a good house shaking.

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    1. I am in the den right now and I swear I feel more at peace in here than I used to. I need to remember that!

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  17. With five children, I have dealt with inevitable clutter for the past 27 years. As they've grown up and out I have been paring things down and I have to say, that part of the growing up process feels great.

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    1. Although I will miss my younger so terribly when he goes, I will not miss the clutter, that's for sure.

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  18. I really like your Monkey Doc.....

    (The Sock Monkey of course)

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    1. If you look closely, you can see that the sock monkey has a baby sock monkey in its lap. :-)

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  19. im in this process now. i need to get that book!

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