Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Box at a Time

Article 4 in My Clear out the Clutter Series
A Box at a time

Not in a box? Put it in a box, only as much as will fit.

Clutter, it's a curious thing. It's like a noxious weed. It's like garlic mustard or quack grass. It seems to multiply and grow. It overtakes its surroundings, hiding the beautiful landscape or rather, decor. It quickly reaches the point where it becomes disparaging, discouraging, seemingly beyond the point of no return. That's when we have to narrow our view point from the broad picture to the cropped corner of the frame. Bite it off in chunks.

If you have a box of items, which need to be sorted and put away, just go do it. If you only have a box of clutter then you probably don't need to read this. Go plan your garden projects. Go work out. If, however, this box is just the tip of the iceberg, begin to take care of it now. I mean it, start a new habit or confronting issues head on. No more procrastinating. Apply this to the garden chores and the garden will reward you with unbounded joy. Apply this to the home and you will go out to the garden, guilt free this spring.

If you have more than a box... or two. If you unfortunately have a mountain of undealt-with miscellaneous items then use some strategies to ensure you remain sane and avoid stress.

Limit your time and you'll minimize the headaches. Make it feasible. Set the timer and stick to it. Make a schedule, add it to your day's plan and stick to it.

Bags I put in my son's room. He doesn't even live here anymore!
Box it! Gather a few cardboard boxes, plastic containers, whatever you've got. Put the clutter, all that will fit, into the limited number of boxes and bring them out into the open. Set up other boxes or bags, especially those that stand up on their own to catch tossed items easily. Label them to suit your needs, depending on the nature of the clutter: "Upstairs," "Rummage," "Donate," "Craft Room," etc. Then sort it! Empty the boxes of clutter and make the bold decisions! Leave nothing even if you have to have a small bag called, "Undecided." However, if the timer goes off you need to stop. At this point if you are on a roll, then go reset the timer but don't let it go on indefinitely. It could make a good move forward go bad quickly.

Live to fight another day! Relax and enjoy your day's efforts.

Dreaming of Summer... and Bumble Bees Zzzz...

This reminds me of an article I just read about how butterflies see in color but not clearly like we do. They need masses of like flowers to draw them. We need to have like things in one place in order to function at our optimum potential. Let's get organized indoors now so we can make peaceful, restful, helpful places outdoors when the time comes.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


 Article 3 on my Clear Out the Clutter Series

I'm at a stage in my life where I can let go of some of those things I had been holding onto. I was at a tea with some friends recently. We like to do that once every few years where we actually get to use the good China and tea paraphernalia and remember why we're hanging onto all of that stuff. It's nostalgia and good memories. It's a time for making new memories, encouraging and comforting friends.

It's also a time for helping each other to come into the light of reality where we begin to understand that our children are not going to want all our old stuff. Our treasures are just that, our treasures. If we are only holding onto them for our children we need to be realistic. Do we really want to burden them with this stuff, stuff that they think they need to hold onto for their children?

It's something altogether different if we know they have an interest in it. In that case if they are in the position to take it at this time then by all means pass it on. On the other hand, if they are too young and their tastes haven't developed try to narrow it down to a few cherished pieces, a few special photos. That makes me laugh and reminds me I'll need to make a few more passes at the photos before they're whittled down enough for the kids to be able to appreciate. 

That's another way to think of stages. The whittling down is a gentler way of clearing out. It is a way of clearing out that shows us first that it's not as painful as we thought. It's like walking into the lake slowly rather than jumping off the pier. I'm definitely a wader, not a jumper. Then, we can become more bold, when we've felt the exhilaration of victory over accumulation.

Again, it prepares us for the garden tasks that have been aching for a bold hand. That euonymus that has been straggling along year after year under the ever increasing shade of the maple. Do it, cut it off or attempt to move it  but don't keep ignoring it and hoping the plants around it will hide it from sight.

Tackle the jobs because you know how good it feels and looks afterwards. Don't neglect that garden spot because that combination of plants once looked so beautiful, do what it takes to make it beautiful again.

Friday, January 29, 2016


Take a bite out of clutter. 
Article 2 on my Clutter Clear Out Series Spill-over:
Confessions of a pack-rats
Oh the horror! My shove-all closet off the
family room. Time to pay the piper for
all the times I saved time hiding clutter
rather than dealing with it.

Let's not only hope for a spill-over of good habits and positive philosophies caused by getting our houses in order, let's live it. Let's tackle the dark corners where we shove clutter to put off until later. Later is now. 

Here's the garden bed I want to start with
in Spring. I remember what it once looked
like before the crab grass, etc.  moved in.

That corner is like that eyesore of a weedy bed under the spotlight of the morning sun. You know, that ray of beautiful light that slips between the branches and highlights a section of garden like center stage. What a shame for that light to highlight thistles when it could show off rich hummus planted with cherished favorites. That beam of light could show through your windows and into simple, peaceful bliss rather than cluttered spaces. Get in the habit and you'll be ready to tackle the tough garden jobs at the start rather than hemming and hawing  until the bugs come out and the heat begins to swelter. 

I'm ready. Are you? I've gone through the linen closet and one file drawer. I've made a bold swipe at the boxes of photos. I chide myself for not "weeding" out more but I have to remember that every little bit helps. It's a start and it emboldens me to conquer more, a box at a time. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Clearing the Path to Spring

Only the deer are out there gardening now: pruning and fertilizing 
Sure, looks lovely but we need to move on and get
something done until we can tend the real flowers
of Spring
Here's  what I propose we need to do when it's cold and white under the arbor, on the garden paths, and in not-so-lush places this winter. Yes, the go to answers we see everywhere are to peruse the seed catalogs, plan your projects, and gear up. Right and then what? I say, use your time wisely, get your indoor work done, your affairs in order and your clutter cleared. Work furiously, fearlessly and fervently to alleviate any possible guilt for the amounts of time we plan to spend out of doors this Spring and Summer.  I plan to delve into how we can do this in the next few days.