letting go of some dreams

As it does so often, aspirational clutter is rearing its ugly head. So many of the boxes I need to sort through are filled with stuff I have been saving for “someday.”

  • Someday I will get to that quilt project.
  • Someday those empty journals will come in handy.
  • Someday, Quinland will decide she wants to a) dress like a pioneer; b) dress in my 80s drop-waist jumpers; or c) dress in … well, a dress.

I need to get honest with the fact that the first two “somedays” – quilting and journaling – are under my control… but I do not have control of what Quinland will do someday.

She may want to wear a dress in the future, but she may never want to wear one again. She will never, EVER, want to wear my old cotton jumpers, though they did come from Brass Plum at Nordstrom and one has the cutest lace collar. She just won’t. Nor will anyone else, probably. (I will never fit into them again, or I’d be parading around like it was 1986 in a heartbeat.)

This all came to a head about a week ago. My friend Deb was over and noticed that – in the wall of boxes currently stacked outside my bedroom – I had a box labeled “80’s drop-waist jumpers.” Yes, a boxful. (Am I excused if I point out that it was neatly organized and labeled?)  We dug in. Deb discovered that she had personally handmade half of the jumpers back in our college days, and we had a bit of reminiscing over each one. She took one jumper to use as fabric for a future project and then advised that I take photos of the rest and get rid of them. They sat out for this entire week before I have decided this afternoon that she was right. I’ll take a photo or two, and the jumpers can go.

The pioneer stuff is another story. I mean, there has got to be a way I can get that child to wear a coordinating sunbonnet with me, no?

What are you embarrassed to admit that you have saved?  Any long-cherished dreams that you have to admit will never be fulfilled? Comment and commiserate!

cleaning up the mess

Messy

I have decided that I no longer want to live in a messy house.  Most of the mess, I admit, is mine. I’ve been putting my mind to work to figure out why things are messy.

  • I have too much stuff.
  • I don’t put my stuff away.
  • Some of the stuff doesn’t get put away because it doesn’t have a home.
  • I am “cyclically neat.” I tend to throw things around and leave things out when I am frazzled, and then when I have time – or when things become “extremely unpleasant or trying” – I clean them up.
  • I don’t address the reasons behind the whole “frazzled” thing: I take on too much, I don’t get proper rest, and I don’t follow good systems and routines.

But this is not a blog of beating myself up; it is a blog of action!

I have been asking myself FlyLady’s three questions this week about every single thing in my bedroom. I am not shuffling things around; I am either finding each thing a home or else it is leaving the premises. I am already on my second Goodwill box and I have another box standing by.

I’m proud of myself. Some of the stuff has been easy to let go of: duplicate books (I found two), old papers I no longer need, magazines that had one key article removed. Other stuff has just needed to be processed: papers filed, magazines read. The last stuff has been trickier.  These are the things I really need to decide if I love enough to make a place for them. In some cases, I have decided to keep things – a small mantel clock we got for our wedding, a cushion my grandmother brought back from a trip to her native Australia – and I have made space for them. But a fair number of things are being let go.

Soon I’ll have the entire room cleared out, in a good way. I’m getting impatient for it to be finished, but I am trying to be thoughtful and not rush the process.

I am also trying not to get down on myself for needing the process. Decluttering may not be a natural skill of mine (though I am getting better with practice), but I am good at things that don’t come easily to others. We all have our strengths… or so I keep telling myself. Hopefully, that “self” will hurry up and listen!

Is decluttering one of your strengths? Are you able to just let things go if you don’t love them or have room for them, or do you agonize and longer over every decision?

Attacking my paper clutter

trashed

If you follow FlyLady, you may know that her focus this month is paper clutter. She suggests taking 15 minutes at a time to tackle a small pile of paper – a drawer, a file, a box – and to determine what needs to be shredded and what needs to be kept.

I’ve been bogged down since I got home with a few different kinds of paper:

Bills to pay. I set up everything on automatic deduction before I left… or did I? It’s funny how many once-a-year things like a Costco membership or AAA come up unexpectedly.

Bank statements to reconcile in Quicken. I know David thinks that using Quicken is a waste of time, but I like to know where my money is going. I have been operating on a Quicken-backlog basis for about five years, but I may actually be seeing the light at end of the tunnel.

Stuff to file. This pile grows and shrinks depending on how productive I have been lately, but it seems to be a never-ending job.

Euro-Trip memorabilia. This is contained in a single box right in the middle of the office floor. David has been tackling it bit by bit, recycling the “Why did we save this?” and the “Do you even know what this is from?” stuff.

Other memorabilia. I’m really trying to cut back, but the dang scrapbooker in me still likes to save.

Plans and Hopes and Dreams. This is the stuff that gets out of control easily: pictures of rooms I love, templates for organizing schedules and cleaning routines, things I read and want to save, Very Important Directions (such as how to remove stains or when to plant tulip bulbs), and the like. Information and inspiration, all piled together in dishtubs, waiting to be remembered and sorted and put to use.

Last night, I worked on the “Bank statements to reconcile in Quicken.” I am really burning through those!

It felt good. I told myself I was going to work on it for 15 minutes, and I ended up going strong for over an hour. The best thing about it is the commitment I now have – thanks to Freedom Filer! – to only saving papers for two years. So all the newly reconciled statements from 2007 and 2008 have become fodder for the Shred-It guys. Whoo hoo!

Daily Check-In:

I’m grateful for my sister. She is an amazing woman, an amazing writer, an amazing mother, and an amazing friend.

I’m also grateful, of course, for the photo by Muffet.