March was a long, long month filled with lots of actual physical work for me. I've been attempting (this time for real) to simplify things around the house. I've managed to live with so many things for so long that, as the Febreze commercial goes--along similar lines, anyway--I've become "nose-blind"...actually more of a visual blindness to my surroundings. I can make one small corner semi-perfect, and that's what I see...I don't see the clutter, messiness, and "stuff" that has filled the remainder of the room. So sad. And so lazy on my part. It seems like I've been walking a narrow little path through my house, similar to what a hoarder would do. Shameful.
So...for the past month, I've been going through the house, throwing things away, organizing, and putting boxes of books together to donate. I still have a ways to go, but I feel better every day in what I've accomplished. It's been hard, I've been exhausted, and I've felt overwhelmed many, many times. I would say that even if I didn't work 40+ hours a week outside the home, I would be further ahead, but I know that's not true. I would just sit around and be truly overwhelmed. Breaking things down into 20-30 minute segments (unless, of course I'm on a roll!!), and then taking a little break seems to work best for me.
Not that I'm an actual hoarder***, but I tend to keep magazines and books...yes, I had Victoria magazine from the very first issue until they stopped publication the first time...and many, many years of Country Living and Martha Stewart Living...assorted others, too. They are now resting comfortably in the recycle bins, ready to leave the neighborhood at Monday morning's pick-up. While all of that tossing doesn't add up to lots of square feet of living space, now there's a bit of room to breathe. So far, twelve cartons of books have been donated. Many more, soon to come, but I need to collect a few more boxes for them. What else got tossed? Project information, papers from five years of "higher education", and just plain old junk. Seriously...Tupperware and the like seem to just multiply like rabbits. I can never find the piece that I want, and if I do, the lid is nowhere to be found. NO MORE!
Why did I let myself end up in this mess? Beats me. It seems to have gotten way out of control in just the past six months or so.
***Hoarder...do you do any of these things?
1. When you exchange gifts with someone, do you ohhh and ahhh over the ribbon snippets they've used, then go home and put said snippet in a jar or container for future use? Maybe that use is just to "look pretty"?
2. Do people know to bring you their recycling items because they know you can do something with them, or can create a library program using the items?
3. Do relatives drop things off at your house, whether you want them or not...items like outdoor tables, chairs, etc., when you already have outdoor furniture? Do they do this saying that Aunt So and So wanted you to have this?
4. Do you save magazines because there are really great recipes, home decor ideas, gardening tips...whatever? Or do you rip out the pages and organize them (in never-to-be-found files)?
I was guilty of many of these things. All I can say now is thank goodness for Pinterest, Zinio, iPads, and digital music. I get magazines on my iPad via Zinio and my public library...no piles stacking up, and no paper clutter. If I find an article I want to keep, I save the picture and article in my photos section of the iPad. Easy. No fuss, no muss.
I'll admit that I was quite amused by the Maria Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I like the idea of clearing up one area of your life at a time, and I really do like being thankful, but thanking each and every piece of clothing, dish, or whatever is a little too much.
The photo for this post is an "after". The "before" is way too embarrassing! Real life, though.