Sunday, October 14, 2018

Don't Defer Decisions

Hello! Thanks for joining me as I work to declutter and simplify our life.

   When it comes to decluttering something I have found very challenging over the years but that I am making good progress in is not to defer decision making. In so many areas of life I can be very decisive and I don't waver all over the place and in fact indecisive people have often been a bigger irritant to me than I care to admit. However as I mull things over and get to know myself better I have realized that I can be very indecisive in some areas. The one that I have struggled with for a long time is figuring out what to order in a fast food line. But as I don't go to fast food very often and it really doesn't matter that much if I take a few more minutes (I let people go in front of me) I don't care about this one. But the other area I do care about.

   Through the years I have really struggled with being indecisive about my stuff. Something comes in the mail and I look at it or maybe I don't truly have time to look it over well and then I set it somewhere to be looked at and considered another time or maybe 10 more times. I have actually gotten way better at this and now I do tend to just chuck stuff in the recycling pretty quickly and I have come to realize I don't even have to open every envelope that comes from a political candidate or some charity asking for money. I don't have to give them any time at all if I don't want to. And I don't have to feel guilty about not doing that.

  So mail has been a big area but other random stuff is even bigger and messier. And this is the area I still struggle with more. In my office especially, with craft supplies particularly. Whenever something doesn't have any easy home that I have set up already it is easy to just keep moving it from place to place and maybe back and forth when I really just need to take the time to figure out it's permanent home (quite possibly away from our house) and not have to keep shifting it, keep feeling guilty about needing to do something about it. I need to stop deferring with my decision making.

  Another area I have struggled with this is dealing with e-mails. An e-mail needs to have some action taken on it but I don't feel like taking the minute required to figure out what action is needed and to do it so I defer it and then I keep noticing it over and over again and quite possibly I keep deferring it. When I do that it just causes me to feel (a little or a lot) stressed about it. It is much simpler if just as often as possible (I know that it isn't possible 100% of the time) I would just make the decision and take the tiny action right now and get it out of my hair and off my mind.

  So if you want to have less clutter either physical or mental than stop deferring decisions. I hope to join you in that!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Listen To Your Kids


Today was another productive day. Not quite a productive as I dreamed of being but still good. :-) How are you all doing? If you also have been working on simplifying and getting rid of clutter I would really love to hear how it is going.

Our big project of the day was Megan's closet. It wasn't horrible but I knew there was quite a bit in there that she didn't like, want or use. So we went to work.
 I am curious how things go in your family when you are going through your children's clothes. We get most of clothes second hand and a lot of Megan's especially are given to us. She has always had plenty of clothes as a result but not always ones she likes a lot. But I have been quite guilty over the years of making her keep a bunch that she never wants to wear. "That would look so cute on you." "You might want that sometime."  "You might need that." As a result Megan has generally always had a stuffed dresser and full closet but complains about not having clothes to wear or things she likes. She also has really struggled at times to keep things clean. She shoves things in her drawers and the drawers usually look quite chaotic. Like this:
  Today I determined to not make Megan keep things just because I wanted them for her. Yes we wanted her to have enough clothes to wear but currently she had way more than she needed and we had plenty of room for decluttering.

We got rid of (mostly ready for donation or taking to the consignment store, some things went in the trash and a pile is ready to be made into rugs) nearly 90 items in these categories:

  • Some didn't fit right. Megan is quite slim and unless the have the elastic inside the waist of the jeans she needs to wear a belt and she doesn't like to do that. So generally she won't wear them.
  • Some were worn out - those are ready for being repurposed into rugs and that was not part of the 90 because they aren't truly ready to head out the door.
  • Others that were worn out did go straight to the trash if I didn't have a good way to repurpose them.
  • Megan thought some were ugly.
  • Megan didn't like the color of some. She tries to avoid pink whenever possible. I haven't always been patient with this but as I am not a big fan of pink myself (and wear it very little) I really should have been.
  • They weren't a comfortable style for her. Socks were heavy in this category. She doesn't like the feel of short socks. She had been given a bunch of nice new short ones but since she doesn't like them they really were just clogging up her drawer. I said that she could get rid of them. Then I tried them on and they fit well and I like that style. Hooray! So those didn't count in the 90 either as they were just moving places.

 I have been frusterated with Megan being a bit of a messy "pack rat" before but when it comes to clothes I discovered that she really isn't very attached. I have been the real problem wanting her to keep many things that she doesn't like. So though I do think kids shouldn't be super picky and if that is all they have to wear and that is all that you can afford then they should wear it with thankfulness but when you have more than enough and your child is happy to get rid of some - far be it from me (now) to make her keep it. With all of our getting rid of things - they fit much better in the drawers!
 Megan wanted me to take a picture of the drawer above. We did our sorting while the weeks clothes were still in the laundry. So after she had removed everything from her pants drawer that she didn't like or want this was the only thing left in her drawer. But that did change after I got some more laundry folded....

Now she has a reasonable amount in her drawer and they are ones that actually fit well and she likes wearing. Wonderful!
 This is our stack of things to get rid of! 90 + items!
 The closet does look better now. It would have looked more sparse but I added more clean clothes in and we put some of her stuff that had made way over to Mara's side back onto her side.

  We did decide that there are a couple of things we still need to get for her (another pair of shoes and a couple of nice sweaters/tops that would go with some of her skirts. Over all we are quite happy with our job well done.

Friday, October 12, 2018

A Resource: The Minimal Mom

Today as I was working at decluttering in my office I had fun watching/listening to some YouTube videos. I found a channel on there that I found super encouraging and motivating and I thought you might enjoy it to: The Minimal Mom. She does a really good job of creating videos, she has lots of good tips and is really upbeat. She has a whole series on dealing with toys which I know can be a challenge. So, if you have some task you can do while listening/watching I recommend checking her out. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Camping - A Way to Try Out Living With Less

 How are you all today? If you also are working on Decluttering and simplifying in your home - how is it going?

 I had another good day of getting some things cleaned up and organized around here and various tasks done. I really am loving being able to stay home more this month. I also like to be on the go sometimes but this month where I am home most of the time has been fun.

But, thinking of going, camping is something we enjoy going and doing. And I think that camping can be a good way to get you thinking about what you really need and what you don't really need in life. It can make you do things creatively and work outside the box. I especially think that back packing or camping when you haul things on bikes or in a canoe are especially helpful as you really have to lighten up but even normal tent camping can teach you things as well. I am not so sure about camper camping as far as the teaching you how to live with less.

  In September we went up North to the annual Jackpine Retreat that our family enjoys going to. I finally uploaded pictures this evening of the last couple of months and wanted to share some on here so this post is partly talking about living on less and partly just telling about the fun we had at Jackpine.

 When camping everybody tends to get a little more creative when it comes to entertainment. We are for the most part away from technology and for the little ones there are not lots of toys so we figure out our own fun - which never seems to be a problem. This camping outing is the highlight of the year for many kids that I know. It was fun to watch my little nieces and nephews (ages 1 and 2) who adored being able to run around outside and play. Sticks and dirt became fun "toys".

Jonathan did bring along his hammock and decided to hang it up super high. That then became entertainment for many for quite a while. It was a challenge to see who could actually get up into it. I tried once and didn't succeed. I was going to try again but it stayed pretty busy and I didn't get around to it.
 Sticks and knives are pretty popular at Jackpine as a lot of carving goes on. The kids arranged a huge jousting match using sticks and swords that they had made. They were quite careful and there were no injuries that I was aware of and they had a wonderful time. All that was needed basically was a few pocketknives to prepare sticks. They did also use some string to mark out the ring. Hours of fun without lots of "things".
 A couple of my nephews that were having a blast just playing around outside. They watchedt he big boys and worked on carving too. Ephraim had a little stick that he used to carve on another stick. Lots of toys are just not really needed.
This Jackpine Retreat is a church retreat that we go to and there are many non-related people that go but we are also blessed to have our family go in large numbers. The picture above is my siblings and I and all our spouses. What fun it is to enjoy camping in God's creation together.

   Anyway I do think that camping can show you that for the most part things aren't the truly important part of life. However we have had some camping trips that have shown me how thankful I am for some things and sometimes I wished I had more of them. When we didn't bring quite enough food (back packing) or enough warm clothes (back packing again) and when the tent leaks and things get wet I do certainly appreciate a solid roof, enough warm and dry clothes and plenty of food. It reminds me of this verse:
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
9Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. I Timothy 6:6-9

Monday, October 8, 2018

Success Fuels More Success

Thanks for joining me again!

I don't have time to write much just now as I really need to be heading to bed but I thought I would just stop in and report on the day quickly.

    It was a fun day where I set aside a little more time to work on getting rid of clutter and cleaning some things up. I went through our toy cupboard (I hope to devote a post to the subject of toys soon) and an area for storing projects that are in process and a paper drawer in the kitchen. I also sorted through other random things that I was putting away or noticing around the house. I am not sure what my total items to have gotten rid of today was but I think it was at least 50.

  I have noticed when I get going and decluttering and things go well then I really just would like to keep going and working on it. The success of doing the job well makes me to want more success. It is  fun. I hope if you are working on getting rid of things as well that you also are finding that to be true. And if you are having trouble getting started I hope this will be a little encouragement just to go for it.

   Decluttering is kind of amusing when you start thinking about it as you go along. It is a good time to laugh at yourself and wonder why you saved a overflowing bag full of holey socks or all the papers from your dogs vet visits. What funny things have you found as you declutter?

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Don't Buy It

October 7th. Thanks for joining me for another post on Decluttering and Simplifying!

  I feel like perhaps I have talked about the idea of not buying to much and perhaps any frequent reader might be tired of it. But I think it is a super important concept when it comes to having less clutter in our homes and simplifying.

 Now, I do buy things from time to time and I am sure you will need to as well. However I think almost every American (me included) could buy a lot less, especially of non-consumable items. If we watch any TV, check our mail, look in a newspaper, look at a sign, listen to the radio or go online we are inundated with the idea that we need something that we don't have. But we need to question that very hard. Let's not allow ourselves to be influenced by what others think we need but rather just practically look at what we truly do need.

  Here are some ways that I have found helpful for buying less:


  • Try to space out your shopping trips as long as you can. The less often you are in the store the less you will be tempted to buy something. Also, you can save time by shopping less often.
  • Don't go to second hand stores or garage sales unless you have something that you actually need and are specifically looking for.
  • When you think you need something, for instance a couple of weeks ago our crock-pot broke and I think I want to get another one, wait a while before you replace it (whatever it is). See if you have any out of the box ways to do without it. Maybe something will actually work just as well or even better. I don't really think that will happen with the crockpot but I know when the thermos that I used to make yogurt in went bad I actually figured out a different way to make yogurt that I like better now.
  • I have found it very helpful in the past to have times when I try to go without buying anything for a month or months. I really like these challenges, they stretch me and help me to think more creatively and I find them fun. I know that isn't true for everybody but ff you are like me that might be fun for you.
  • Give thanks to God over and over again for what you do have. This is really helpful for making you feel more contented. When you are contented you don't usually feel like you need a lot more.
  Do you have any tips that have helped you to buy less? I would love to hear!

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