Let me start by saying….I am really bad about returning items. I (or hubby) will purchase things, get home, find they don’t work for what we needed/don’t like it, blah blah. So I’m just like, Oh well. Put it over there and I’ll take it back when I go back to the store. Simple enough, right? Mm hmm. Except that it never fails I will forget. And go to that same store five times (or more) and come home and there the items sit.Unfortunately, I too suffer from “slob vision” so those items tend to blend in with normal household decor & items that are “supposed” to be laying around the house. (I mean, doesn’t everyone decorate the corner of their fireplace with a bottle of non-toxic mineral paint thinner?)So today, since I had to get out to deliver some papers to my youngest daughter at school, I decided to put a dent in the “Returns Basket” in which I had placed all of the items I came across while decluttering last week. I returned 8 items between 2 stores and the total of the money I got back was $109.95!$110 bucks! Worth of stuff! Just sitting there! In the way! Taking up space! For weeks! Some of it for months!! I have serious issues. (Yes, there are more items to be returned, but I have to locate the receipts as I declutter some more)This made my heart frown a little because twice within the last week, I told two of my kids “No” when one asked if we could go grab something to eat after softball practice and the other asked if I would bring her lunch (fast food) at school. Not that we are hurting, but I explained that I was trying to not spend any extra money on unnecessary things before next payday since just this month, we’ve had to make repairs on two cars, pay for my oldest’s college tuition, and found out my youngest needed glasses.So after making my returns today, I brought both of my girls lunch to school and when they smiled excitedly, that frown in my heart turned upside down!
What I’m learning (or really already know):
- Clutter = hurt pride over people coming into my home
- Clutter = chaos and angry household members
- Clutter = having to say no when I should be able to say yes
- Clutter = Guilt
- Clutter = $$$ (in my case)
Thank you so much for your blog!!! While I already know the many ways clutter affects my life and family, reading your blog…
- Gives me hope! When, for years, I have felt hopeless
- Has helped me find the humor, when, for years, I have only been able to find tears.
- Has taught me so much about looking at & working on myself! For the 1st time, (probably ever) I am no longer angry at my husband and kids. Yes, I still get annoyed that they make messes and/or don’t pick up after themselves. But the anger and the blame is no longer there. Because you’ve opened my eyes to the fact that I need to change my habits before I can expect them to change theirs. After all, they learned from the best! (there’s that dumb pride thing again)From,A Fellow Slob (who now has a little less clutter and a few more bucks)
Viewing every random straightening task as a full blown decluttering project.
That’s ONE of my problems.
As my Slob Vision cleared while I got the kitchen out of Summer Survival Mode, I shook my head and realized the spread-out-edness of all the stuff on the kitchen cabinet might be contributing to the overall messiness of the kitchen.
So I took the 2.5 minutes necessary to straighten the area.
Things I know from experience:
- “Straightening” will make a huge impact. No need to consider it a decluttering project. Thinking of it as a Decluttering Project might would justify procrastination. Y’know, because if it’s a Project, I need to block off time, and blocked off time needs to be put on a schedule rather than done right now.
Oh, how I love putting things on a schedule. I love it so much more than straightening.
- Straightening this area takes a whole minute or two. Three tops. I have proof in other posts. It’s the blessing/curse of Slob Blogging.
Once I was looking at the area, Slob Vision Blinders removed, I saw the big ol’ bottle of conditioner. Yay for kids who bring in Costco hauls from the car! Can’t really blame them for missing the obvious need to take the conditioner to the bathroom when Mama didn’t see it either for a few days.
So I took the conditioner to the bathroom right then.
Even though this WASN’T a decluttering project, Decluttering Question #1 still applies.
The big ol’ bottle of Olive Oil went to the other side of the kitchen where I’d look for it. If I needed it, and it was still in this Kitchen Blindspot, there’s a 50 95% chance I’d search frantically everywhere but there and groan loudly about how I just knew I’d bought some the last time I went to Costco. I’d probably throw in a few self-pitying phrases like “Why do things like this always happen to me?” and “Seriously?? Who loses a huge bottle of olive oil??!?”
Once I moved those Duh Items, I saw this:
A cute little straw holder with no straws in it. Right next to a plain ol’ container where I actually put straws.
Cute is good, but who has time to lift the lid thingy? And angle the straws to go in there? I mean, that might take two whole hands and five whole seconds.
I got rid of the proper straw holder and went with what works.
At that point, things looked better. (Pardon the hand.)
The big black speaker. Hubby used that speaker until he saved up his birthday and Christmas money to get a much fancier speaker. The big black one has been passed on to our kids. I guess they were naturally following the “Where would I look for it first?” decluttering question when they put it back there.
Except that two feet away (or less) is the nice speaker:
So I took it to my boys’ room.
Straightening turned into decluttering. Way less overwhelming than officially titling and scheduling it as a Project. And as long as it’s not an Official Project, I don’t have to stress that it isn’t perfect.
It’s better. I like better.
Maybe this is how Normal People do it? And how they avoid having a long list of Decluttering Projects to do?
Looking for decluttering tips from someone who understands what it’s like to have clutter? Here’s my ebook!
I was so proud of this thing when I bought it.
I found it at Costco, but it wasn’t cheap. There also weren’t multiple options like there might have been if I’d gone looking for a salad spinning thingy in a regular store.
But I wasn’t looking. I just saw it in front of my face and the proximity alone reminded me how desperately I’d been wanting one.
Desperately, even though I had never gone looking. Whatever.
Anyway, I bought it. I mean, it’s a really good brand. And just think of the motivation to eat salads! And fruit! This purchase alone will surely change my life.
It worked (for spinning salad, not really for full-life-change), but it’s huge. So huge I can’t fit the pieces in my dishwasher.
And it took up huge amounts of room in my kitchen cabinet. I wasn’t about to replace (a clutter-busting concept when I can use it) my colanders. I use those all the time.
And they fit in my dishwasher.
After months of shifting and counter-space-taking (in various states of washed-ness/usability), I stuck it on the top shelf of my pantry.
Where it sat, and definitely didn’t get used.
As I put away groceries last week, I felt animosity toward this monstrosity (monstrosity is too harsh, but oh so rhymable) and the prime pantry real estate it had claimed.
So I finally gave up. I gave up on the idea that this thing would suddenly turn into the wonder-product I’d imagined it was when I bought it.
Off to the Donate Box so someone somewhere who doesn’t mind handwashing can use it in their much bigger kitchen.
Or at least they can find out it’s not for them for a lot less than I paid for it.