Okay, not as melodic as “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music!” or even as comedic as “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Griswold!” but nevertheless, it is music to my ears.

Or, rather,  it will be when I actually start de-cluttering. As it is, I’m spending most of my time moving my head around to various angles trying to determine which one produces the least amount of sinus pressure and bloody snot. But I digress.

A few months ago my Best Bud and I decided to have a yard sale this coming spring. Since I have no staging area to speak of, my de-cluttering came to a halt in order to prevent a mental breakdown. However, with absolutely no effort on my part, my tiny little basement “get rid of” pile continued to grow on its own – and at an astounding rate. (Where does this crap come from???) Lately the pile has come dangerously close to what I like to refer to as The Freak-Out Point.

Then, a wonderful thing happened. During an email discussion of an unrelated event, the Best Bud and I touched on the yard sale topic. She asked if she could bring things to my staging area. My head almost exploded. When I had collected myself, I responded with an alarming and vividly detailed account of the current states of both my basement and mental health. We cancelled the yard sale and agreed to donate our stuff.

Free at last, free at last!

I have to say, I didn’t realize how much the idea of having yet another yard sale was weighing me down until we canceled it. I would have celebrated by skipping through a field of daisies if it weren’t for a) it is the middle of winter and there aren’t any fields of daisies nearby, and b) I can’t breathe, much less skip. Instead, I celebrated by swiping a bunch of cardboard boxes bound for recycling and took them home to fill for donating. 

Now all I need to get this project into full swing are antibiotics and someone willing to load the truck…Honey, got a minute?

Yesterday my family came home from vacation. We stayed in a beach house where we lived amongst someone else’s house full of too much stuff, only to return last night to our house full of still (!) too much stuff. The irony did not escape me.

While on vacation I chose to just “chill.” I didn’t take all the projects I had originally intended to take, opting only to work on my genealogy project. I took two books but read only one. I let my mind slowly empty of all the excess stuff. It was refreshing and calming.

I also used the time to reflect on what was clutter in my life (beyond actual belongings), and what was missing. I determined that I was a long way off from where I want to be and that it was time to start editing. Good editing doesn’t just take away, it adds where needed to make the most of what is already there.

Due to a few unforeseen hiccups our vacation “wasn’t the most perfect vacation ever” as my husband so aptly put it, but it was great to get away, and as a bonus, it gave me all the inspiration I needed for the next phase in my life.

 

In my world it’s Tuesday…plus a few hours. 🙂

I have never considered myself minimalist by any stretch of the imagination, though I do love clean lines and uncluttered space. However, I’m starting to wonder if I’m not heading in that direction. So often now I find myself looking around my house, seeing objects with new eyes, and thinking, “that needs to go”. And these were things that I formally loved. My ideas about what is wanted or needed seems to be changing daily, and the desire to lighten the load is increasing exponentially the more stuff I get rid of.

Case in point. Two years ago my sewing/work room was contained within a small extra bedroom. It was a crowded but cozy space with walls the color of caffe au lait, curtains I’d made myself, a bookcase full of books, a closet stuffed with all my sewing, needlework, and jewelry making supplies, an antique dresser filled with odds and ends. I loved that room, and all my little treasures.

Then, I discovered I was pregnant with Little M and the extra room needed to be transformed into a nursery. I carved out an area in the basement and set about creating a new cozy space. It was different but it still had the cozy woman-cave feel, and it worked well until Little M outgrew the basinet and then the pack’n play. When it came time to little Little M roam free, suddenly it was all too much. There were books that could be torn, cords to get tangled in, open shelves with two many things to topple over on a little one. It went on and on. I had to find a compromise that worked for me and for a baby discovering the world around her.

After tossing around several options and trying some that didn’t work, I decided to move the table that my sewing machine sat on back upstairs and set it up in the master bedroom (with creative arrangement of furniture we had the space). Then a lot of related began to follow – books, supplies, a lamp, tools – just because I was accustomed to always having them nearby. Time passed and I realized I was spending more time decluttering the work table than actually creating projects. It was frustrating. 

Finally, one day I took everything back to the basement that I did not absolutely need for the sewing project that I was trying to complete. The table was left with a sewing machine, a task lamp, and a basket that contained my patterns (that were in use), sewing tools, and notions, and a magnetic straight pin holder. Suddenly the space was inviting. I couldn’t wait to use the area. And now I do, regularly. I’ve discovered that the less visual clutter I have hampering me, the more productive I am. Now, the basement area is my storage space, and that little table is my workspace. I bring up to the table only what I need for a project, and return what I don’t need any longer when I’m finished. It’s Heaven, but it has me looking at that basement area more and more wondering, “what can go?” A lot, I’m pretty sure.

I had several topics in mind for blog posts this week, but the one that is predominantly on my mind this week is CLUTTER. Clutter, as my husband will gladly tell you, is the one sure-fire thing that can turn me into a giant stress ball in a matter of minutes, and subsequently, him into a psychiatrist talking me down off the ledge.

It all started when I was a kid. I grew up in a somewhat cluttered household (entirely too many knickknacks) and it has been my personal mission since leaving home to be as clutter free as possible. I’m not a minimalist by any stretch, but I do love the calming feeling of clean, clear counter space and walkways, and the joy of less than full cabinets and closets.

Most of my adult life clutter has not been a problem in my house. Then twenty months ago I had a baby, Little M, and life got complicated. Stuff accumulates a lot faster with children and it is harder to find the time to sort it and get rid of it in my preferred methods (sell, donate, recycle). Now, I work at it everyday and two of my favorite blogs 365lessthings and unclutterer (and the fear of clutter related stress) help keep me on task.

So what’s the problem? 

The further along the decluttering path I travel, the more other people’s clutter freaks me out.  Especially when the clutter belongs to people I know, love, care about.

So what do I do? How do you not become a ball of nerves when you are visiting someone’s home and are afraid to lay down your car keys because you don’t know if you’ll find them again? When you have to clear a space at the table in order to eat a meal? When you have breached the subject of too much stuff – gently, and not so gently – but it falls on deaf ears? How do you deal? How do you stop fantasizing about backing a truck up to the front door, loading all the stuff up and hauling it away? How do you remind yourself that it’s not your problem, your home, or your life, and to just let it go? I don’t have the answers to any of those questions, and it frustrates me. A lot.