Posts Tagged With: dejunking

 
 

Mugging It for the Camera

Friday Letter to my Kids – March 20, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

A solid, deep blue basic. My go to mug.

A solid, deep blue basic. My go to mug.

I went through a kitchen cupboard this week in my continuing efforts to downsize, declutter and dejunk. I also sorted and organized one of the messier drawers since Dad couldn’t find a twist tie and I knew we owned at least a thousand of them. What a tidy drawer the plastic bags and foil and waxed paper have to live in now.

In my defense, most of what resides behind those closed doors and drawers exists for those mythical and rare times when the entire family gets together. Your Dad and I only need a few of everything, even on our wildest cooking days. But when it’s time to fondue, or holiday dinner or family barbecue then we need more than a dozen plates, a zillion drinking glasses, multiple forks and knives, myriad amounts of pans and bowls. But for the other 361 days of the year we have far too many things in our cupboards.

Might be a collector?

Might be a collector?

This particular cupboard received a comment probably half a year ago. Something having to do with owning more glasses and mugs than a small nation needs. It’s true. Between the glass cups I prefer and the blue plastic ones Dad likes, the sippy cups for the littles, and all the other odd mismatched ones it’s an overabundance of drinking paraphernalia. That doesn’t even include the mugs and teacups.

I pulled all the mugs out of the cupboard first. Ah, such fun memories. I have a bit of a collection, one that could be on display except that it’s not classy like china. Granted it isn’t a shot glass collection, or salt and pepper shakers from around the world. It’s just a small taste of my past life. I admit I’m a bit of a hot chocolate fiend. Having the perfect mug that fits my mood when I mix the elixir simply adds to the pleasure of the experience.

I though if I paraded my mugs perhaps it’d help me decide which ones to let go. Maybe you want to claim one or two for yourselves. I think a couple actually belong to you guys. Let me know. I’m happy to pass them on to a new life.

I have a few more around the house that became pencil holders when the handle broke or the lip chipped. A purple Venus, a silver snowflake, a blue speckled tin. I can’t seem to let things go. isn’t that weird? I think so.

There’s some history in these mugs. Lots of cold mornings with a steaming cup of cider. Some snowy afternoons with hot chocolate to thaw your toes from the inside. Plenty of sick days with Russian Tea warming the mug and soothing your throat. It’s been fun looking at them with you.

You know, it’s not the mugs I’m hanging onto so much as it is the memories. Seems like that’s what it all really comes down to in most decisions. People, not things.

Love you all,

Mom

~~~~~

“Hot chocolate is like a hug from the inside.”

Categories: Family, Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

To Keep or Not to Keep, That is the Real Question

On nearly every women’s magazine cover I’ve ever seen, there is one blurb about decluttering.  That topic seems more compelling than the latest celebrity gossip, weight-loss plan, menu calendar or scheme to get a raise.

From that fact alone, I would surmise that everyone is a packrat, everyone has too much stuff,  or they aren’t very organized about the stuff they have. (If you aren’t even a bit of a packrat, you can stop reading now.) You can read my own confession of “packratness”  in my Seven Steps to Organizing Your Garage or Losing Your Sanity post.

SURELY THERE’S MORE TO IT THAN TOO MUCH STUFF

For me personally, what I’m really looking for when I read an article on organization or dejunking, is control over my life.  I just want to feel I have a little bit of a hand on the steering wheel of my life.  Mostly what I experience on a daily basis is the sensation of being in the passenger seat of a first time student driver.

Model Homes This Way

(Photo credit: sdpitbull)

I’ve known minimalists whose homes were pristine, perfect specimens of the uncluttered life.  Were they happier?  Did they seem more in control of their lives?  Honestly, I have no idea.  It seemed kind of barren, like stepping into the pages of a magazine model home photo shoot.  Dry, flat, empty. That’s not the look or feel I’m aiming for either.

ALL OR NOTHING

We once moved into a home a week ahead of our possessions.  We had a couple of foam mats, some sheets and pillows, bath towels, camp chairs, our suitcases.  We ate take-out or deli food on paper plates, drank from paper cups.  The house echoed a bit. But we both agreed it was oddly pleasant not to have so much stuff around us.  Even the garage was empty but for the solitary car we parked inside of it.  (Now there’s an idea, huh?)

I almost felt like I was on vacation; camping without the bugs, dirt and latrine. A couple of friends dropped by to see the new place.  When we said we liked it empty you’d have thought we said, we’re thinking of installing a torture chamber in the spare bedroom. People really like their stuff.

Moving boxes

Moving boxes (Photo credit: Andrea_R)

We weren’t all that thrilled when the boxes and furniture arrived and filled every room to overflowing. (Did I mention we had downsized?) Suddenly there was life demanding attention, a to-do list miles long and months out.  And with it all, an ongoing list of maintenance, dusting, cleaning, polishing, filing, cooking, washing, and sorting.

LET’S GO SOMEWHERE

Maybe that’s why I like traveling.  My stuff is all that fits in one carry-on suitcase, a backpack and a personal item.  Travel is life simplified, life in control. I’ve got my own hands firmly on that steering wheel.

MSH once suggested living in a motor home. (That’s traveling, I suppose.) You know, those bus sized houses on wheels that snowbirds drive into Arizona on their yearly migration from Minnesota and Canada? I couldn’t picture us that way. For one thing, we aren’t nearly old enough. Besides, where would I put all my books? The thought of downsizing THAT much made me breathless with anxiety. That is certainly not what I meant when I said I wanted to have my hand on the steering wheel of life.

Steering Wheel

(Photo credit: Marie Carter)

Still, there was that one week we had of minimal stuff.  It was relaxing. But, it was also temporary.

I wonder if I could find a happy medium between almost no stuff and way too much stuff.

Guess I’d better look up some articles on decluttering.

Categories: Humor, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Simplify. Are you kidding me?

“Pick a random word and do Google image search on it. Check out the eleventh picture it brings up. Write about whatever that image brings to mind.”

Simplify? Who me?

My jaw hangs open. I am astounded.

Do you ever wonder how things happen that seem so serendipitous?  So random, and yet, so planned.  Like a happy accident.

That’s how I felt when I counted to eleven on my Google image search.

It’s my Destiny

Obviously I am destined to read this book. Whether is will help me solve my current dilemma or simply add to it, I don’t know yet.

Like any good reader/writer, there is a bit of chaos, semi-controlled, here and there about my home.  Sometimes the chaos is winning, sometimes I am.  Freshly dusted flat places become receptacles for a few papers, a magazine, a DVD, and a mountain begins to grow.  Okay, maybe only a small hill.  But piles erupt spontaneously as if to taunt me.  I try to stay on top of it, but work, family stuff, errands, writing, reading, eating, volunteer stuff, laundry, cooking, sleeping, all seem to get in the way of the housekeeping.

book pile

book pile (Photo credit: luiginter)

I usually have a few, (okay, many) books around the house in different stages of “readingness.”  Bookmarked, dog-eared,  left open cover up, left open cover down, an empty mug holding the page, another book holding the page open.  It gets a little silly. But, let’s be clear; books are not clutter.  No way!

Here’s a bit of irony for you.

One day one of those hill-like piles had a book on the topic of decluttering perched precariously at its peak.  It was Clutter’s Last Stand if I remember correctly. Although, it could have been half a dozen other books on the subject of dejunking, organizing, winning the lottery merely to hire a full-time maid, simplifying, streamlining, or decluttering. I own a few books on those topics.

My husband thought that particular dusty book, resting on a pile of  stuff and clutter was the funniest thing he’d ever seen.

I was not amused.

The clutter and the chaos drives me crazy!

I attempt solutions:

  • Trying to tackle it all myself with what little energy I have left after work and on weekends. Not so much a solution, more a self-inflicted bad mood.
  • Enlisting the help of family members met with more success when the children were much younger, didn’t hold down jobs or go to school or date.
  • MSH is a bit perfectionistic and takes a really long time, but he builds a pretty nifty set of shelves.
  • I buy books on the subject of decluttering.  I read books on the subject of clutter and how to manage it, reduce it, or live with it.
  • I actually declutter a little.
  • I dream about implementing all the amazing ideas in the books.
  • We move to a bigger house.
  • We move to a smaller house.
  • I secretly hope for a small disaster that wipes the slate clean.

I feel the weight of the nonsense surrounding me.  The already full sink of dishes when I’d just spent half an hour washing them up taunts me. The overflowing laundry basket snickers at me.  The opened box of Halloween decorations I have yet to put up cackles. The unswept floor sends shivers up my spine. The bathrooms rival any haunted house. The garage is the stuff of nightmares.

Unfettered Revelry

Seriously, there aren’t that many people living here.  We’re gone half the time working, and asleep  the other half. The stuff all out-of-place makes me wonder if it all gets up and wanders around at night or while I’m gone to work and flings itself about in wild, unfettered revelry.

No wonder I conjured the word “simplify” when I sat down at the computer.

I Sigh.

I consider staying up all night to make a dent in the piles.

MSH made the bed the bed this morning, and it looks inviting, calls to me, sings comforting, happy songs to lull me over to it. The pillow joins in with harmony. The alarm stares in a hypnotizing blink.

It’s much, much too late to attempt tackling any of the chaos and nonsense.

For now, I think I’ll take the Scarlett O’hara approach,  “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow!”

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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