Away From Home

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I have been away for a couple of days as I have had some family commitments.  Luckily, I had prepared the ‘Wordless Wednesday’ post on the weekend so it was ready to go.

I don’t have anything particular to share but I have noticed recently that everywhere I turn there seems to be discussion about excess stuff and decluttering.  Is it just me or have you noticed the same?

2015-05-28 01For ‘Flashback Friday’ I will find one of my previous posts on decluttering and living with less.  In the meantime please share your thoughts.  Have you decluttered?  Do you wish you could?  Is there any particular aspect you would like me to write about and discuss?

2015-05-28 02

Not So Perfect

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More on the organising theme today.  After reading a couple of the comments on my previous post, I wanted dispel any misconceptions about me being perfectly organised.  That is definitely not the case.  My dressing table is a case in point.

This is what it looked like last night.

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The state of this area has been bugging me for months but there always seems to be something else which was more in need of my attention.  The other thing holding me back was perfectionism.  Why start it if I could not complete the task properly?  I have come to realise that perfectionism is one of my personal hurdles and it has taken many years and false starts to identify the problem and then try to work on it.

I had moved some of the larger items in the last week or so but it was still messy and cluttered.  Some of the things that I moved and put away in their correct places were:

Bone density xrays
Prescription tablets
Repeat prescriptions
Warranty for new phone
Packet of Christmas bell decorations
Plastic container

IMG_4085

What is not evident in the photos is that I have not washed all of the china, changed the doyley nor dusted and polished the timber.  The knowledge that I did not have time to do all of this would be reason enough not to tackle the job, however, last night I decided to just put away/discard the extraneous ‘stuff’ and leave the actual cleaning until another day.

The job did not take long and I felt better once it was done. So what was so difficult?  For me it is overcoming the feeling that I have to do the whole job in one go or why bother.

What are your hurdles and what strategies do you use?

Keep the Clutter Out

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I have previously written about the importance of stopping clutter coming into your home.  Decluttering is only one weapon in a multi-faceted approach to keeping your home clutter-free.

One one the biggest culprits is mail.  We have eliminated most of our mail by having a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker on our mailbox and opting to receive as much information as possible electronically.However, today we actually received 4 pieces of mail  Here they are.

Mail

There are 2 local publications – The Range News (newspaper) and The Hinterland Times which is more of a magazine format.  I always read them to keep up with local issues and then they will be recycled.  The item on the top of the pile is the first piece of election advertising material that we have received.  It was read and then went straight into the recycling.  Finally, the large yellow envelope was the most interesting piece of all.  It was a bundle of brochures and information from the company where we purchased our solar panels.  We contacted them to see if they could provide some literature for the Sustainable House Open Day which is coming up at the beginning of next month.

To be recycled

This is what went into the recycle bin immediately – envelopes, election information and the catalogues which are inserted in the local paper.

Reading materialThese are the 2 local publications which I have set aside to read.

Solar informationThe solar information which I will file until it is required next month.

By dealing with the mail immediately there are no piles to be sorted out later on and no clutter that is not required.

Stop the Sabotage

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It occurred to me recently that many people are constantly sabotaging their own decluttering efforts.

Clutter

They are hauling garbags of ‘stuff’ to the op shop, filling the rubbish bin each week and trying to find time list items on eBay in a vain attempt to claw back some of the money they have spent on unwanted items.  Yet, these same people are often using every strategy possible to score a good deal on clothes, shoes, bedding, magazines, cosmetics and anything else that comes their way.  It is only a bargain if you truly need it.

Overflowing wardrobe

I feel that cheap or bargain-priced items are the nemesis of decluttering and minimalism.  If you need to outlay a significant amount of money on an item you are more likely to stop and think twice about whether it is really worthy of a place in your home.

Utensil drawer

So, how do you resist the plethora of bargains?

Top drawer

  • Unsubscribe from all of the emails from shops and shopping sites – this is a continuous process and you need to be vigilant
  • Make sure you have a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker on your letterbox
  • Do not buy magazines
  • Do not buy newspapers
  • Limit viewing of commercial television
  • Deactivate your eBay account
  • Set financial goals that require you to limit your discretionary spending in order to achieve them
  • Remember that shopping malls are not entertainment venues
  • Take things to the op shop – do not bring more stuff home
  • Shop with a list (and stick to it)
  • Send someone else to do your essential shopping
  • Buy 1 or 2 good quality items instead of 10 cheap versions – t-shirts are a perfect example

Op shops

Do you have any other ideas for keeping the clutter at bay and the money in the wallet?

 

Clear The Clutter

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I have spent several years gradually decluttering in an effort to simplify my life.  I am not sure what the end point of this journey looks like, or even whether there is a destination.  Since I have most areas in my house fairly clear and streamlined,  I am certainly at the point where it is easy to recognise potential clutter before it becomes entrenched.

It is important to identify things before they become clutter.  An example is a plastic water jug that was in our refrigerator.  It had obviously developed a hairline crack because I discovered a pool of water on the shelf where it was standing.  Until yesterday this was a perfectly functional item in our kitchen, today it will not hold water which is what I use it for.  So, I have thrown it in the garbage.  Some people would suggest that it could be used to store/display non-liquid items or be refashioned into something else.  I am all for minimising the amount of stuff that goes to landfill, however, I do not need this jug for any other purpose other than holding water, so out it goes.

Do I need another plastic water jug?  I am trying to use more glass and less plastic in the kitchen so my plan is to look for a suitable glass jug.  It is not desperately urgent so I may check out the op shops when I have time.

My sewing room is one area where I still have quite a bit of ‘stuff’.  I am gradually working through it so tonight I did a little more.  Just before Christmas it was a bit of a mad flurry to get the sewing table (folding) cleared so that I could fit bedding for 4 children in this room.  I have previously resisted stashing things away without sorting them properly but as time was limited I carefully folded the remaining fabric and half-finished projects into 2 lidded boxes.  I put the boxes in the wardrobe but as soon as Christmas was over and the table re-instated I brought the boxes out and placed them on the table as a reminder to me that I had to sort through the contents.

2013-01-06 01There are several garments which I had bought from the op shop last year with a view to using the fabric for my patchwork.  I had begun unpicking this blouse which was in the box so I decided to finish that job.

2013-01-06 02Here is the material that I have for use in my patchwork project.

2013-01-06 03The buttons have been salvaged and are now in my button collection.

2013-01-06 04The scraps of fabric have been discarded.

2013-01-06 05I now have 1 less thing in my ‘to do’ pile.  Here are another couple of garments which are the next things I plan to deconstruct and use for patchwork.

2013-01-06 06By having the things confined in a box I can easily see that I am making progress in clearing them out.

Do you have a particular room or type of items that present a decluttering challenge to you?

A Spoonful of Sugar………

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………helps the medicine go down, according to Mary Poppins.

On Sunday evening Miss O and I went to see Mary Poppins.  I had already seen the show in Sydney so was familiar with exactly what would happen.  Miss O was completely unfamiliar with the story but was thoroughly entranced by the costumes, music and dance routines.  With a little guidance from me she was able to gain an appreciation of the story.

It is exciting for me to share my love of the theatre and to see the sheer delight on her face.

As the full cast performed Supercalifragilistic for the encore Miss O was sitting on my lap, wide-eyed and clapping in time to the music (along with most of the audience).

2012-02-28 01I did not buy a program because I feel they add very little to the overall experience.  Also, in order to justify the cost most people tend to keep them which is simply clutter for the majority of us.

I think this photo of Miss O in front of the mural outside the theatre will be a far more meaningful ‘souvenir’ for her.