Friday, April 25, 2014

blah week

This has been kind of a blah week for me. Although I did reach a milestone in making my de-cluttering efforts a habit: I dreamed about it. I dreamt that I was tackling this gorgeous closet and pulling out things and saying--Why have I kept this? And everything was really dusty. It was odd.

Probably the biggest reason this week has felt so blah is that a lot of the stuff I'm "getting rid of" is being saved for a sale. And my donation pie is full. So I'm not really seeing any progress.

The sale is in 8 days. I have a huge pile of books, clothes, and toys. I am only individually pricing the toys, which makes things easier. And my daughters are theoretically running this sale for extra cash, so they are encouraged to do their own de-cluttering. And they did! One daughter who declared to me, she needed a really big house when she grew up (to hold all her stuff) found 20 books on her shelf she didn't want anymore and is currently arguing with her sister about another 10 mutually shared books that she'd like to get rid of that her sister (the one who usually has no trouble with this) wants to keep. Everything left over is getting donated. Everything.

Also I am clearly ready to take another load of things to be donated. Between the two of us, my husband and I emptied a file cabinet! And I have another filled box, two trash bags of clothes, and another box that probably will be full by the end of the weekend. But all this stuff is still all piled up, making me still feel very cluttered and a little defeated.

So I am giving myself (and you if you need it) this pep talk.
Every little bit helps.
These piles of clutter are temporary.
You have made great progress! Go check out the smaller areas you have cleared!
Look how much you have inspired your family in their own efforts!

And now, I think I'll load the car and head out to donate my big pile.

Friday, April 18, 2014

jeans

This week found me tackling the sewing/craft room again. And today I want to talk about the jeans. I might have a slight problem when it comes to jeans.

In fact I have a drawer in my dresser full of jeans I don't wear, but could wear if I were a few inches smaller. But I hate to throw them out, because a) I liked those jeans and b) we are only talking like 2 inches, not 22.

I also have a huge stash of jeans that are ripped or I did give up on for various other reasons, that I am saving for a craft project (or two). But a few years ago, I made a jean quilt. It is a smallish quilt--big enough for an impromptu picnic or outdoor seating. In the summer, it lives in the car and is very useful. So yes, these are jeans that did not get used in that project!

jean squares

I think I ended up using 45 squares, instead of the 40 listed. But clearly, I have a problem, because I was faced with this: Jeans before

And a bigger picture view shows the ones I pulled out before I thought to take a before picture:
bigger picture

And yes, I had flannel stashed in there too.

I had a really hard time with this, What if some of the jeans in there fit me? What if they'd make good cutoffs? What if I want to make a cute jeans purse?

In the end, I made myself go through them and pull out 10 pairs to get rid of. I figured just 10 would leave me enough to tackle whatever projects I wanted to do. After I got to 10, I totally surprised myself by throwing in an eleventh.

I'm not done with this shelf yet, I still have jeans to sort through (I made a pile of might fit). But behind all the jeans I found two stereo speakers! And an valance I had made for the nursery (12 years ago!). Both items, I can let go. Neither item was completely visible at first glance (although you can see the valance under the jeans, but seriously, I thought it was fabric). But I feel like I made real progress, even though I probably didn't need to keep any jeans.

It is all about the baby steps.

Remember, you can follow me on twitter to see what goes every day.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Frugality

I am a frugal person. The dictionary.com definition is right on for me: "economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful". I don't go shopping just to go shopping. I usually don't buy "trendy" clothes, preferring classics that will last. I eat leftovers, and get really upset when something goes bad before I can use it. And I don't think overall that it is a terrible thing to be frugal. In fact, I don't want to change.

But it does have its down side, especially when it is in regards to clutter and saving things.

I tend to hang onto things that were expensive to buy. Which explains why I had a 15 year old digital camera. I had spent some serious (for me) bucks on it back in the day and hey it still worked!. Of course I'd since replaced it many times (3 times!) and I didn't use it. And I am not even sure I could download pictures from it to my current computer. Not that it held more than 200 pictures. But I was very hesitant to let it go. What if I needed it? Why should I give it away? It cost me a lot of money.

And it had clearly outlived it's usefulness. And that is what I need to remember as I am going through my things.

The other thing I have been tackling this week is my sewing area. This week, I decided that I would get rid of all the patterns I no longer need, cut or uncut. And it was hard. I think because of the frugality. What if I change my mind and DO want to make something from this? I'll have to buy the pattern again! But when I got realistic about it, I realized that 1) some patterns will never get made again because I will never ever need to make a size 4T princess costume and 2) clutter was getting in the way of my frugality. I had 2 of the same pattern! Why? Because I had so many patterns that I didn't even know what I had. Plus, I had run out of room in my pattern drawers, and so patterns I was currently working with are spread out all over the room. Now I have not only a better idea of what I already own, they are all tidy and in one place, so I won't buy a duplicate.

Clutter may be preventing me from being frugal by causing me to spend money on things I already own!

I am trying to turn my frugality into a good thing. I'm trying to use my frugality to aid in the de-cluttering. And the best way I have come up with so far is this: If you had to pay someone to move this item to a new house (and assuming your new house had all the space of your old house) would you do it? Sometimes, the answer is yes. Yes, I would pay someone to move my wedding dress, my children's christening dresses, and my box of baby stuff for both my husband and I. But many times, the answer is a resounding no. No, I would not pay someone to move my wedding shoes, 15 or so patterns mostly from old halloween costumes, or a dozen other things I've put in the donation box.

Probably the biggest "little voice" I hear when I am de-cluttering is "what if I need this again?" For a frugal person, this is a pretty strong and loud voice. And sometimes, honestly, I listen. But most of the time, I know that voice is not right. I will not need my wedding shoes again (even if the dress gets used). And even if I do need whatever I just got rid of? Most of the time I have a 3 week buffer before I take things to the donation place. And about a one week buffer on things I pitch. if I don't need it in that time, I probably wouldn't have remembered I had one if I did need it!

Remember, you can follow me on twitter (@todaystwo) where I post details every day of the things I'm de-cluttering.

Friday, April 4, 2014

de-cuttering with guests

This week was my girls' spring break, and rather than travel anywhere, we had guests. And let me tell you, attempting to de-clutter, even two items at a time, was a challenge with guests in the house.

It wasn't that I was trying to clear out the room they were in--I feel like I've done a decent job of the guest room, and to go further will take help from other family members. I had targeted the children this week, thinking they could help me with some of their things. However, I think I forgot one fundamental principle that seems to work best for me and for them too apparently: Start small.

It isn't that we have to do a huge de-cluttering project digging everything out of the closet and going through it piece by piece. We could maybe start with one drawer a day. Sadly though, they were initially interested in going through the summer clothes bin, and I jumped on it. And so now, I do have a small pile of clothes that don't fit--headed for a mom 2 mom sale. But I also have a pile of clothes that don't fit but they can't bear to get rid of (sigh) and a bigger pile that they haven't gone through yet because they are tired of trying on clothes.

I'm no better. My goal for myself was to go through my accessories drawers. And somehow I got stuck on hosiery. I have 4 pairs of pantyhose and 10 knee highs that I am having trouble thinning out, despite the fact that I rarely wear hosiery of any sort. I know I can cut this in half and never miss the difference. But I am struggling, I think because having guests has worn me out.

But guests are gone, and soon we'll be back to school and I can get back to clearing out the basement.
In baby steps.