Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Decluttering as therapy

Today my big decluttering discovery was the disappointment I feel about my dream library.  We are so lucky to have this house that's big enough for everything we want, including a room just for books.  Except it's not just for books, it's also for cat litter boxes.  I've accepted this is the best location for the boxes, not trying to come up with a different arrangement, I just need to work through how this arrangement makes my library something other than the cozy booklover's grotto I dreamed of.



But I still believe it can be that dream place!  It will take a certain amount of work.  To spend any time in a room with litter boxes, there has to be daily scooping and sweeping.  Nick took over litter box duties 8 years ago when we started trying to have a baby. (According to science, pregnant ladies can't touch cat poop; I exploited this.) Let's face the straight poop here:  I can clean the litter boxes. Somewhere Nick is reading this and a joyful tear just trickled down his cheek.

What will it take for my library to be the place I want to spend time in?


  1. Hidden, unsmellable litter boxes.  We have the technology.
  2. Shelves of books, cataloged and organized in a librarianly way.  I am actually a trained professional in this area.
  3. Dust-free shelves, cat hair-free furniture, clean floors.  Just a little weekly cleaning, surely?
  4. Comfy furniture.  Done.
See?  I just needed to sort this all out in my mind to see that it's possible to have what I want.  Now if I can take my blinders off and actually spend some time in there, we'll be on our way.  So for today's 30 minute decluttering session in the library, I ran the Roomba, dusted the shelves, changed the air freshener, and wrote this blog post.  Baby steps.

The large closet in the library, full of miscellaneous bins of my stuff is another matter.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Today I threw away my push present

Today I threw away my push present. It was a tough thing to throw away the 8-month-old flip flops because they were the first gift Nick bought me the week after Mamie was born. (Unless a bag of candy bars counts?) Fresh new flip flops were a dream in the early days when everything about life seemed out of order and harder than I was capable of handling.

Still, today, I threw them away because 8 months of daily wear is all one can expect from even the best flip flops. It was a single step in my month-long decluttering program. I've learned that I can make a huge impact in just 10 minutes, but I can also get absolutely no where in a whole day.  I just have to keep working on it, and at this halfway point in the month, I still have hope and a little steam.

I started this project by assigning each room or area of the house to a day of the week.  For example today, Monday, my areas are the living room and the front yard.  The first week I only planned to spend 10 minutes in each area. In ten minutes I was able to sweep the front sidewalk and make a note that I want to hang a swing for Mamie.  Pretty satisfying.

This week I am up to 30 minutes per area, which feels like a suffocating eternity! While I am still SOOOOO resistant to diving into packed closets and miscellaneous bins and drawers because it is SOOOOO overwhelming, I have discovered an exciting happy secret about decluttering:

Every day, I find something awesome that I have been looking for or forgot I ever had. I mean, truly awesome, happiness-producing things.

For example:
  • A bag of Chowards candy that I totally don't remember buying.
  • My long-lost giant Starbucks iced coffee cup.
  • The business card for my favorite gardener, who is coming tomorrow to save us from our tangled landscape.
  • A stack of king-sized pillow cases to add to the stack I bought shortly after we moved here because I could never find any king-sized pillow cases; now we have at least 20. (They are also good for covering diaper changing pads, FYI.)
What will it be today?  I've already discovered 15 free minutes to sit down and write this post.

One of those dreaded bins which could contain any kind of treasure.  At the least, it contains Netflix DVDs we've had over a year.