Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Seeking to Simplify

Hooray! I accomplished all my simplifying goals this past week. That is, all but one. Next week hopefully I can do it all. I didn't sell (or really even work at selling) anything.

I did.....

  • Go through one area (box, cupboard, shelf, drawer, closet, etc) every day (Monday through Friday).
  • I got rid of at least 5 items each day. In fact I have 63 items written down (and I had trouble remembering to write that down all the time).
  • I also cleaned out my e-mail inbox every day!!! This one is super exciting to me as I have really struggled with it but it sure speeds up my day to have all the e-mails answered and out of there. I just have to use some self-discipline and make myself take the time to deal with whatever issue was needing to be addressed right now instead of putting it off until later. This makes my life feel so much more peaceful. I love it!
  • I also went through and organized at least 5 photo files each day (Mon-Fri). I am not noticing any great speed change in our computer yet but still it is nice to get organized and make it so I can find things better. I also like getting rid of all the digital clutter of bad pictures.
We also finished my desk last week (I will have a post about it soon - I hope!) and that has been so much fun to work on some organizing with that. My desk has been an area that I have struggled with clutter on since childhood but this year I am really hoping to change some habits there and learn to keep it clean. This week has been very successful in that area.

   I do realize with all these successes that I am at the beginning of the year and I am excited about making some changes along with the fact that this is a much quieter time of year for me (no garden, few weddings, homeschool is sailing along smoothly, some music students have been on break and food prep is pretty easy using all the things that I canned and froze in the summer and fall) but Lord willing I can work to develop some good habits now and then they will stick with me even as times get busier.
Here is some of my clutter that needed to go! Some old shoes that served me well for many, many years. The insides were now falling apart. I did carefully cut off the buckles to go in my sewing/crafting stash.
 I enjoy making cards and so I save things - colorful envelopes, old cards, calendars, magazines, junk mail with cool paper, etc. Though I don't actively save papers as much as I used to I still have a big stash. I would guess that most people could easily toss that whole table full of stuff into the garbage/recycling without a backward glance. But I know how I can use it. That my kids and I can have a fun time making cards together and then when we send them to others it will brighten up there day too.

   So this is where the clutter gets emotional with me. This crafting business is where I have the real struggle with clutter. Yes I have clutter in a few other places in the house and I have to sort through it from time to time. But this is where I have trouble getting rid of things and where things can get so overrun that I want to create but the mess gets in the way.

   In some areas of the house (going through clothes, kitchen cupboards, the bathroom, etc) I have no problem going through things and making quick decisions but this is my area where I contemplate long and hard on things. The thing is -I love to repurpose things so I can see potential in items that I realize many people won't see and so then I feel like I need to keep it because if I don't it will simply get thrown away anyway.

    We all have different issues with clutter. I have seen homes with bathrooms that are overrun with so many different types of hair products, make-ups, lotions and more. That isn't me - my bathrooms are pretty austere. Some families have toys over-running the house. Again that isn't us. Some people go shopping for clothes as a type of therapy and have closets that are bursting. Again that isn't us. I think I bought one item to wear last year - a pair of hiking shoes - and that was it. But my struggle with clutter is largely centered around crafting. It isn't that I buy a lot but I do have a lot of people give me things (as they know I like to make things) and I don't like to turn them down and I also save things that need to be repurposed. Also if I was going to be tempted by good sales - it would be on crafting supplies. I like to...

  • Make cards
  • Sew (clothes, bags, curtains and much more)
  • Make quilts
  • Arrange flowers
  • Make decorations
  • Draw and Paint
  • Teach children's classes with crafts
  • Crochet
  • Knit
  • Make things with clay
  • and much more....

 Anyway, I think it is good to realize what your real clutter struggle is. Then you can know better how to work towards fixing it. Also it is good to realize that the struggle isn't just with the physical clutter but also how we feel about it emotionally.

   Change isn't going to happen overnight but little by little I think we can work to find a balance. I don't desire nor do I believe God is calling me to get rid of the crafting in my life. That is a tool that I believe He has given me to use to His glory. But I want to control it rather than having it in some ways control me.
 This picture (above) is of some of the cards the girls made during our few days of card making this weekend. It is a blessing to work together with them on projects.
 These (above) are some sets of cards that I made to use as gifts or perhaps to sell.
 These cards (above) are some that I made for us to use and I also am giving some to my Mom who said she needed more (I enjoy keeping her supplied with cards). Hopefully we can use them to share God's love.
These I made specially for Ken as we were out of gift tags and he likes us to wrap presents properly and gift tags are important to him. :-) So these are ready for next Christmas already.

 Going through art supplies is something that is happening gradually. I am trying to do a little bit every day. I am also trying to more closely monitor how much I allow to come in. Some things I have trouble making decisions on immediately but if I can at least make progress it is helping.

   What is your area of struggling with clutter? Do you have a plan for getting it conquered?


Mrs Shoestring said...

Lovely cards ! I too used to struggle with the crafting stash but now I only keep what I know that I can use in a year and beyond that I let it go to somebody else who can use and enjoy it !

Abbi said...

Thank you! That is a good tip. I am glad you found something that works well for you.


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