I didn't find that I made any resolutions this year, probably because I know I have trouble sticking to them. So I made a resolution to declutter yesterday and began today.
A visit to my mother's house always inspires me to come home and declutter, or maybe I should say her house provokes me to come home and declutter. Mom likes to collect things, books, dishes, turtle figures, plants, bird houses, dogs, and even rocking chairs. Why rocking chairs? Why anything, I guess. I counted fifty turtles in just one room and there were more scattered in other rooms. There were more in the yard along with more bird houses and metal lizards covering the side of the storage building.
A funny story, at least funny to me. While driving around town, we saw a house with yard art in the front yard and a sign that said "I despise thieves" so we figured someone stole some of their yard art. I mentioned it to mom, and she said, "Oh, I don't like all that stuff in her yard." Before I could clamp my teeth down on my tongue, I blurted out, "Mom, you've got the same stuff in your yard!" She just couldn't see it as clutter in her yard.
I think that's true of all of us who have clutter. It's hard to see our own stuff as clutter. I don't collect things, at least I don't think I do - my clutter is more along the lines of being lazy, and having too much stuff for the storage I have. But after tripping over the stuff in her house all weekend, I'm fired up to do something about my own clutter. Where to start is always my problem. It's just everywhere!
There are a lot of different methods to deal with clutter, but most deal with adding more things to organize the clutter rather than how to get rid of it. For many, the four box method works, where you sort things into four boxes: keep/put away, give away, storage, and toss/trash. That sounds like a good idea, but it doesn't work for me because it brings four more big boxes into an already crowded area. Also, it takes time to pick up an individual item and decide whether to keep it or not, and it's also wearying to spend so much time thinking about where something should go, and I'm more likely to quit mid-declutter. And if I can't decide, I put it back down and then it's back to being clutter. What I've done in the past that worked is to pull everything (everything that isn't put up, that is) out of the room and later only put back what I want to keep as long as there is a place to put it. It is encouraging to see how nice a room looks stripped of its clutter; it also frees me to give up much of the clutter and I'm less likely to fill it back up again. The things I do put back are done so with consideration about their use or how they make the room look and feel.
There is still a need for trash and give away as I bring things back into the room, but the trash goes straight to the curb, and the give away goes straight to the car where it can be donated right away. I don't do storage unless it's a rare item I want to sell, and I have a shelf in the garage attic for that.
So today was the dining room. I brought in a big trash bag, and raked everything off the table right into the bag. Picked up all our outdoor shoes and tossed them in also. That left the table and chairs. Too many chairs. I have four chairs that go with the current table, four chairs that go with the table I now use as a game table, and two chairs I want to strip. At most, there can be only six chairs around the current table. My plan is to sell the table and four chairs, but I need to finish painting three of the chairs first. In the meantime, I have four extra chairs and no place to put them. THAT is clutter. For now, I put the extra chairs in a spare bedroom. I hate to do that as it only moves the clutter and I'll have to deal with it again if I don't get them painted.
After the kitchen was decluttered, it needs to be cleaned. As everyone knows who has ever watched an episode of The Hoarders, no one ever cleans well when a room is cluttered. My dining room was no exception. With all those chairs in the room, I couldn't get around the table easily and seldom cleaned the windows. For today, I will just vacuum the ceiling, walls, and floor, and then mop the floor. The room still needs a deep cleaning but that will have to wait.
I used to keep a really clean house when the kids were little. That was before the internet and there's definitely a connection. Just look at the amount of time I've spent here today just writing this post! But I've also lost the motivation to clean at that level now that it's just Hubby and me at home and seldom have visitors. To get me back in the groove of a daily deep clean, I've been reading Kelly and Cindy a blog from a couple of ladies who used to be part of flylady. I tried flylady once but it just didn't work for me. The Kelly and Cindy blog is similiar, but without the nagging, without patronizing, and without pushing products. I'll let you know if it still works for me after a few weeks.
Along with my decluttering resolution is a renewed resolve to limit my internet time. Instead of restricting my time online, which really didn't work, I am going to just not get online on weekends and a couple of days during the week. That probably won't start today because I'll have to get organized here too so I can schedule some posts.
Now I'm off to clean the dining room! (and no, there will be no pictures)