Thursday, July 15, 2010

De-Clutter Like Never Before

Recently I went to my home town where I have a rental property.  The property used to belong to my parents and next to it, is a huge shed.  I have never really used the shed.  It stored lots of things from old ceiling bats to sheet music that my grandmother (who has been passed away for about 35 years) used to play on the piano.  It has all been there since before my parents passed away almost 10 years ago.  I have finally reached a point where I felt I could attempt to declutter the shed in a methodical and unemotional way.  I set myself some guidelines about what I would allow myself to keep for 'memorabilia' and with the help of a friend, my son and husband set about decluttering the shed.
The night that I finished I was checking my emails and there was a post from a blog which I subscribe to detailing a great way to declutter.  Now, I'm not sure it always works.  In the instance of my shed, I haven't used anything in there for at least 5 years.  There were a lot of memories in there though and this system just simply wouldn't have suited me right now for this declutter job.  It certainly is a great idea for my email declutter and in my own home, I certainly use this method already with things like kitchen utensils and clothing.
The ideas come from a guest blog post on Zen Habits by Jeffrey Tang of The Art of Great Things.  Usually, when we declutter, we take what we have and slowly and progressively go through it to get rid of 'stuff' or to simplify our lives.  It is sometimes difficult to find the time to do this and also can be quite emotional.
Jeffrey Tang calls this the 'clean-slate approach'.  Here's how it goes:
First step: Put away all of the clutter you are facing.  If it's old clothes, put them away in a box.  If it's emails, put them into a hidden folder.  If it's old toys, they too can be stored in a storage box.  Now the clutter is gone and you have a 'clean slate'.   Notice you haven't yet thrown anything away yet.
Second step: Continue on with your life.  If you find you need something you put away, go get it out of the storage item.  Otherwise. leave your items stored. 
Third step: When the time is right, sell, donate or throw away the items in storage.  You know you don't need them and by now there is probably less emotional attachment (if any) to the items that are stored.

A simple and succinct way to deal with clutter, simplify life and a time saver as well.  Something I noticed after we cleaned out the shed was a heightened feeling of being free.  The issue of clearing the shed, knowing a little about what was in there, was obviously weighing me down.  Sometimes areas of our homes weigh us down with clutter as well.  So now when I have to declutter, instead of having to allocate a time in my diary, I will find it much easier to tackle the declutter jobs.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back to Normality

June's Lifescrap seemed to me to be a celebration of normality.  Life is every day looking more and more like we feel it should.  Being grateful for that, to me, is very important.  Enjoying my long stretches of minfulness.  Practicing mindfulness after going through a radar when I may or may not have been a little over the speed limit-when the not knowing is going to last for a couple of weeks at least.  Remembering to take big deep breaths and enjoying what the senses are picking up.  Staying with the healthy lifestyle and helping my family stay healthy as well.  Making more of a connection with some wonderful friends on Facebook who have fantastic senses of humour.  Enjoying my photography-it really does help you to take in the scenery.  Visiting family and friends and really enjoying their conversation.  Creating with something different-knitting and crocheting.  I could go on forever.  I really have been just enjoying each day.  What normality are you grateful for today and every day?

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I struggled which blog to post this to.  I guess in the end it doesn't really matter.  I was chatting with Mel yesterday.  We were both talking about our current challenges in regard to sounding like a fishwife when things aren't going how we would like them to go in any given circumstance when children are involved.

I don't yell and scream too loud (although I do welcome winter as the neighbors and our windows are closed mostly so they don't hear the ranting!) and mostly I am pretty calm and I like to look for the positives.  When I go off though, it's like there isn't an off button and I will go on for some time (some might say hours...) about what 'should' have been done or what is missing and how it could be fixed.  So much to the point yesterday where I even took to the road in this state and ended up cursing at the roadworks and the petrol bowser and my husband and lots of other things (the old addage about 10% is about what happens to you and 90% is about how you react to it comes to mind now).

Mel reminded me (in her ever so gently way) that a great way to express yourself when one of these situations arises (or attacks happen depending on who you are) is to express your feelings by saying "When you do this, I feel........."  Mel gave the example of when the kids are dawdling and you are in a hurry you can say "When you dawdle, I feel like you are wasting my time and that makes me cranky."

I thanked Mel for sharing and told her I was going to post it on my blog because maybe others could do with a reminder as well with it being school holidays and all.  I used to use this way to express my feelings when I worked in the corporate world.  Living a cruisy (is that a word) life gets you out of practice and I guess my son is really a very pliable and well behaved child and that keeps me out of practice as well.  So it was timely for me to receive this remind from Mel.

So I made a list (mostly for me but I'm happy to share) of things I can do instead of acting like a fishwife next time things aren't going my way with my son:
* Take a deep breath
* Walk away
* Phone the person/place where you are going to be going and let them know you will be running late
* Ask myself 'Does it really matter if the dvd's aren't back at the store on time?' Ha ha
* Sit in the car and wait
* Take a deep breath or two
* Try to be in the present instead of thinking all those things I think which make me cranky
* Go out into the back yard and scream (what will the neighbors think then?)
* Take two or three deep breaths
* Bury my head in a pillow and let it all out
* Bury my head in my hands and sigh