Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It all adds up.

I've noticed that when I get overwhelmed by my clutter, it helps to focus on something really small.  It can usually get cleaned (fairly) quickly, and serves as a helpful tangible example of a completed task.

What I forget sometimes is that those little things aren't just compromises -- just because they are small doesn't mean I'm cheating by not attacking the big picture.  Those small jobs all add up to BE the big picture.  And each and every one of those small tasks can actually make a big difference, too.

Here's an example.  I love pencils.  For some reason I seem to write more neatly with pencils -- and I also love that they can have images/ads/etc. on them that I like (vintage brands, cute logos, whatever).  The downside to pencils is that they need sharpening, though!  I tend to get lazy about this and put the dull ones back in the pencil holder and so the next time I come along I have to pick through to find the one (or two) that is actually sharp enough to use.

(can you guess where I'm going, here?)

So today I actually SHARPENED those darn things.  I know -- a 4- minute task that a even a child can do.  But for some reason I kept putting it off....but now I have a handful of sharpened pencils and a whole LOT of satisfaction.  Small task, big reward.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hands off.

I have heard on lots of organizing blogs and shows to only handle something once.  When you are decluttering, pick up an object and make a decision right then and there about what to do with it.  Don't put it back where you found it without finding a home, making a choice to get rid of it, etc.

I can be really, really good at this and really, really bad at this.  For instance, sometimes items just need to be returned to their homes.  Easy peasy.  Other times it's a fairly easy choice to let something go.  Or maybe I just need to clean out a drawer or something so that the item can be housed with like items.  No problem, right?

But THEN there are the sticky ones.  The "pretty" thing I bought that has no use (remember the brown and turquoise bin?  Yep.)?  The gift I'm not sure what do do with?  The item that needs to have something done to/with it before I'm finished with it?  You know where I'm going with this.  These are the ones I pick up and then frantically wish for the phone to ring so I have an excuse to put it back down again.

Here's an example.  I bought this adorable chalkboard from an etsy seller and it needs to be hung.  Problem is, I bought it without following my rule of knowing AHEAD of time where it will go/how it will be used.  So here it sits, completely unappreciated.  I need to find a place for this this week and get it on the wall/fridge/wherever so I can actually enjoy it.

I am not always a success at this particular strategy.  But I do think it's a good one!  And I also think it works best when I only do a few sticky items at a time.  I tend to make better choices and actually follow through.  I'll let you know how it goes.....

Friday, May 13, 2011

Farewell Friday: Another purse

On Fridays I say farewell to something that left my house during the week.  Here's today's Farewell Friday item....

Last week I got serious about purses. 

Ok, that sounds really dumb.  But I did!  I looked at every single one and tried to be honest about whether I've a) ever used it and b) if I ever would.  Some of them didn't make the cut -- and I got rid of a bunch.  The removal process continues!  I pulled out a couple more that are on their way out the door for the garage sale (it's this weekend, by the way).  I do find that once the clutter-removal ball gets rolling, it's easier to say goodbye to more things.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Clothes do not make the (wo)man.

I have been cleaning out my closet, one section at a time (it's fitted with dividers/shelves -- done by the previous owner and I admit they are very handy).  I am trying to be RUTHLESS -- which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't -- but am still very successful in my clear-out.  I admit it helps that my sister often likes to have my hand-me-downs -- it's much more fun to get rid of things when someone else is excited about getting new stuff!  So tonight I cleared out my hanging skirts/pants.  Not only did I find about 6 things with the tags still on (YIKES), I found things that were about 5 sizes too small, and things that were dusty (yes, you read that right) from hanging up so long undisturbed.  If that doesn't send a clutter message, nothing does!

I finally made a decision to get rid of anything that was two sizes or more too small.  Even though most of my clothes are black and classic-cut (meaning they don't really go out of style) I do think that if I lost that much weight I would want to celebrate with some NEW things.  I did allow myself to keep things that were one size down, as that (to me) is a more tangible goal.  I put them in a chest under my bed, though.....seeing clothes I can't fit into everyday is actually not a motivator for me.  Instead, it just makes me feel bad.  Who needs that angst every morning?  Eventually I will have a closet filled with only clothes I can fit into and like. 

I got rid of a bunch of shoes, too!
I feel really good about the big stack of pants, skirts and dresses that is headed to my sister's house, and am ok with the small stack of items that I put aside for a possibly-smaller me.  And I feel even better about seeing more empty space on the hanging rods and shelves, and being able to see what I have instead of frantically digging every morning!  I'm thinking that by the end of the Spring I should have the whole closet done.  I'll let you know!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Can't see the trees for the forest.

I spent the entire day working on clutter yesterday (NOTE:  this is very different from cleaning -- vacuuming, dusting, etc. --- this was working on clutter items only).  I also took care of a lot of loose ends that have been dangling over my head for a while (read:  stressful!).  I went to bed feeling so productive and happy (yes, I am a dork).

Then this morning I woke up and the house looked awful!  No, a bunch of gremlins didn't trash the place overnight.  It didn't look like I'd done anything at all yesterday!  I guess all of that decluttering didn't actually make the house look different....on the outside, at least.  Some cabinets were clearer, some projects no longer on kitchen counters, things like that.  And, in some cases, I think I made more of a mess by pulling things out that had been packed away in the back of a box somewhere.

I will admit it was a little discouraging -- but I know I did some good work and I'll keep going at it.

Has this ever happened to you?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Keep on rolling.

It is SPRING here in NY!  So I ventured outside, with my ghostly indoor pallor, and checked out the car.  It's a MESS -- salt all over the floor mats, rocks from my (lovely -- I mean ICKY) gravel driveway filling every crevice, and random items all over the seats.  I pulled out my mini shop vac (love. this.) and some cleaning wipes (I know, not necessary but they make me like the job a little more) and got to work.  I vacuumed the whole car, wiped down every hard surface, and even cleaned the inside glass.  I got rid of:

-about 239478239847 paper napkins (don't worry, these will get used)
-a copy-paper box of items that belonged somewhere ELSE
-a beach towel that had been lounging around on the back seat (why?  what did it want from me?)

and I reorganized:

-put back together the tote of shopping bags and a quilt (I keep one in the car to protect/cover/pad things)
-collected a bag of items that were supposed to go to my office but I kept forgetting to take them inside with me
-put some winter items (like a snow scraper) back in the garage for the season

I rewarded myself with a little ladybug car freshener (not really necessary but awfully cute) and a big pat on the back.  My next-door neighbor asked how much I charge, so apparently Amy's Detailing Service is pretty good (when it's in business, that is)!

Forgot to take photos, but just picture a sparkling clean Jaguar and you've got the idea (let's just pretend I own a Jaguar, shall we?)....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Farewell Monday and a Giveaway!

(I know, it's supposed to be Farewell Friday, but whatever...)

This weekend I hunkered down and got a lot of decluttering done.  It feels really, really good -- and my house is looking better for it, too.

One project was my closet.  I tried to be ruthless and get rid of some handbags that I just don't use.  Some (two) were actually UNUSED which kills me.  Impulse buying is a horrible thing!  I'm working on it -- and not having two pointing-finger-guilty-conscience handbags lying around will ease the pain a little.

That's where the giveaway comes in - maybe one of you could use a new bag!  I'd love to pass along one of these babies to one of you -- not only as a thank you for joining me on my clutter journey, but as a fun recycling venture!  Pictures are below -- if you're interested in having one, post here with the name of the bag!  I'll draw a random name on Friday, May 6 (12 noon EST) and will contact the winner for shipping information.  Please be sure your post includes your email somewhere, so I can contact you!  I will ship anywhere in the world.

(p.s. -- I live in a smoke-free home but not a pet-free one -- just an FYI.)

I like nights on the town, candlelight dinners, and Broadway shows.

 Hey, y'all -  I'm a casual gal, who likes bike rides, picnics and hiking. 

I may not be the real thing, but I still know how to have a good time. 

I love long walks in the park, romantic poetry, and a little jazz.

Have a good week!