Just got done reading Flylady’s book, Body Clutter. It’s a great way to look at the extra weight or anything else you don’t want in your body or in your head. There is not one single recipe in this book. So some people get their feathers all in a ruffle if they were expecting that. I have a little weight to lose, but that’s not a huge issue for me. I know what I need to do to fix that. Most of my body clutter in between my ears.
To fix the mental clutter, I decided to get all scientific about it. Write it down and analyze why I’m not doing the things I love to do.
1. Love to Dance
- Need to put on music. This is not easy to do? Well make it so! If I haven’t arranged easy access to music, what can I do today? Close my eyes and dance to the music on the boob tube. Even the stupidest shows usually have fairly catchy music.
2. Listen to Music:
- Is my music easily accessible? Mine was on CDs here and there in piles, boxes and all over the place. It was way too much trouble to play it. What I did was is a high-tech solution, but works for me. If you are not high-tech but have a high-tech husband, or other techie relative or friend, ask them to figure out how to stream and play your music. It gives him/her something to do that they can be the master of.
- My house is already wireless networked. I did that a year or 2 ago so I could play Netflix on our big screen TV in the Den. I started ripping all my CDs to iTunes on my computer. I didn’t turn it into a project that I could beat myself up over if it didn’t get finished at some arbitrary deadline. I just did it now and then when I wandered by and noticed that one was finished I popped in another CD and started it again. Then streamed it to the den.
- Make play lists. Trust me this is important. It’s the icing on the music cake that makes all that effort worth while. Don’t get all esoteric. Name them what makes sense to you. “Shake you booty” “Clean the bathroom.” “Need a Good Cry” “I Hate Men” “The Cat Box Sucks!” “Add Scenes to my Dark Moody Novel.” Name them whatever works for YOU. The beauty of play lists is that you can change them whenever you feel like with a click of a mouse.
- No high-tech solution available? Low Tech is just as good. Just gather all your music into one spot, a shoebox, any box will do. Put it next to the music player so it’s easy to grab a couple and pop them in.
- What the hell does “stream” mean? Don’t feel bad if you ask yourself this question. It only took me 10 years to figure out it. Think of it as running a speaker wire from one part of your house to another. Only without the wire clutter 🙂
3. Water Plants & minor gardening.
- Get yourself a pretty watering can, small enough to be easy to carry. Don’t cheap out on yourself and buy some butt ugly monstrosity that you will hide somewhere and promptly forget where it is. A small one is better because more trips to the faucet works a lot better than hurting yourself with a heavy can. All a heavy water can will do is cause you to give it up because you spent a week in bed with a heating pad and muscle relaxers.
4. Like to Read?
- Find something to read and put 1 book by your chair or where ever you read. If you put more than 1, the damn things will start to pile up again.
- Find a benign scrap of paper to use as a bookmark or hell, go hog-wild and get an actual book mark. When I wait until I’m knee-deep in the book I will grab anything to use without thinking, (deposit slip, receipt for embarrassing medicine, social security update, fantasy list of revenge methods on Hubman for leaving a wet dishrag on your grandmother’s cutting board) to use as a book mark. Do this now because you may get sidetracked going through books.
- I’ve decided to get all ruthless with my books. If I put it down half read it’s because I don’t like it that much. Who am a I kidding? When I like a book it’s impossible to put down. A half finished book with dust and multiple books marks in it is a good candidate for the OUT box. It’s easier to discard books when you know you don’t have some incriminating paper stuffed in there as a book mark.
- Get a box, grocery sack, whatever is handy (don’t turn this into a shopping trip) and label it OUT. Put books in it.
5. I love to Travel.
- Am I ready to go? mmm….not quite.
- Is my dop kit prepared with all toiletries so I could walk out the door with it right now?
- Is my suitcase cleaned out from the last trip. (left over receipts, maps, plastic bags, half eaten energy bars, banana peels.)
- Before you leave, plan about 20 minutes before you leave to do a double-check, not just mental. Physically search your entire carry on. Trust me on this one, it might lighten your load and your peace of mind will thank you later. Do you have your necessities, wallet, passport or other ID, tickets, money, telephone numbers, addresses?
- Check to see if some bizarre item remains or snuck into your carry on. This is a very important step if you don’t want to experience the thrills of jail or a body search. Strange things happen. Once I was checking my bag before leaving the house and there was an enormous box cutter in it. We’re talking huge with a grip that looked like brass knuckles. I lived alone at the time and had no idea how it got in my backpack. What was even stranger was that I never saw this box cutter in my life. Wouldn’t have purchased such a huge mean looking gadget like that. There had been no repairmen or any outside people who might have left it in my house. I kept it and asked everyone who came to my house for months after if it belonged to them. No one claimed the thing. I finally threw it in the dumpster. Its presence in my backpack remains a mystery to this day, 10 years later.
Look around the house for manifestations of hidden guilt.
- I had piles of magazines, shoe boxes and other junk that I haven’t thrown out because I am a closet environmentalist. My city delivers recycle containers that I put out on garbage can day. It’s amazing how much junk I’ve thrown out since I got this recycle bin. 50 tons of old magazines at least. Books that I consider such unreadable trash that I don’t want to even donate them to charity.
- I feel bad goofing off or dancing before I’ve tidied up the house a bit. What works for me is to make the bed, clean the kitchen area and the cat box. After that all bets are off. Then I can party down guilt free. OK, I do dance if I feel like it while doing above activities. But this only works if I have already managed my music to make it easy to access. I would love to claim that I can dance to the music in my head, but sometimes if I’m feeling down there is no music in my head. For me this is a personal warning sign. When I get really depressed even sad music retreats. Figure out 1 thing that does it for you to get you going. I don’t care what it is.
- Do you have items to return but feel guilty because you broke it or you’re not on good terms with the person you borrowed it from? Fix or discard the relationship. Can the item be repaired? Call them, send them a text or an email if you can’t bring yourself to talk to them on the phone. It worked good at work, use it in your personal life. It’s OK to take away the good stuff and leave the rest.
Areas of trauma
- Mine is the computer on the dining room table. My grandson used it while he was living with us. It broke my heart when I had to make him leave. Now I know why nuns pray before they do anything. If there is a problem spot, it’s hard to let go of a problem spot because you don’t want to even look at it, never mind think about it. Almost impossible unless you work through the crud down at the bottom of your heart. I haven’t cleaned up that computer because I haven’t cleaned up the relationship with my grandson.
Are You paying attention to your body?
- It’s easy to get in the habit of ignoring it when everything hurts all the time. I was surprised when I started paying attention and discovered that there were a few particular ouch movements I was doing repeatedly, but ignoring. Sitting slouched over my laptop in the recliner was making my neck hurt, seriously bad. I experimented around the house and found a chair that worked. Yanking the huge econo-sized liquid laundry detergent down off the shelf was another thing I was ignoring. My elbow was giving me fits. I started using both arms to do it and asked Mr. Husband to buy smaller bottles, problem solved.
- My grandmother used to say (substitute your favorite wise woman) “every time I start thinking I need a new pillow or mattress, I think back and I’ve been forgetting to take calcium.” I have no idea why this is so. She didn’t have problems with osteoporosis, so this was not the reason. For some reason calcium seems to help with general aches and pains. Hey, it’s worth a shot. The worse thing that can happen is it doesn’t work for you and so you forget to take it after a while. It’s really hard to overdose on calcium. You would have to make a concerted effort and why the hell would anyone do that? I watch a lot of medical dramas on TV and I’ve never seen an episode where anyone was admitted to the ER from ODing on calcium.
So there you have it. This is my own personal plan to get myself in gear to do the things I love to do. Enjoy it, make your own list, argue with me, wad it up in a ball and bounce it off the wall, share it. Do whatever works for YOU. That’s what is important.
One of my sisters who lives in New Orleans is lucky in a lot of ways. A handsome loving husband, 2 wonderful boys and the big one: You can kick your unwanted belongings to the curb whenever the mood strikes you. At any hour of the day or night. She doesn’t have to wait for the dreaded “bulk trash” window that comes once a month here in Dallas. This window comes and goes and our junk piles up.
This all came to me in the dark in bed last night. It’s 90 degrees outside and I’m laying there in full length pajamas under a blanket shivering. The ceiling fan is on so high that I fear it will take flight and decapitate our cat. Another fan is on the floor blowing at Mr. Husband and the air con is turned down to zizz. There is probably frost on the windows. But this is all righted by a sound machine puking the soothing sounds of a rain forest. Why you may ask? Well Mr. Husband may end up with a bead of sweat on him. Horror of horrors. I don’t want to get out of bed to ease up the air con because I might trip over something.
Sometimes I wonder if my main reason for wanting to travel is to get away from all the electrical gadgets and clutter. After 8 years of living with Mr. Husband I am beginning to suspect that he may be a high-end hoarder. It’s to the point where if I hear a crash and the sound of something breaking I yell “thank you Jesus!” and jump up to do the happy dance. I might even get to throw it away. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket on those lucky days.
I have fantasized about having him kidnapped and the ransom would be to donate 25% of the stuff in this house to charity. That would mean that I would have a fighting chance to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen without breaking a toe. At first glance one would not think a hoarder lives here. Our stuff is nice, everything is clean and dusted once a week. It began to grate on my nerves when I discovered that there is not one place in the house where I can lay down and do yoga without hitting my foot or hand on something or rearranging furniture.
“No, thank you” is a perfectly acceptable phrase in the English language and one the hub-man has not mastered. Well he knows how to say no to me, but I hold this title unopposed. If family member wants to give us a another hunk of furniture, kitchen gadget, or gee gaw, it is not because it’s a cherished family heirloom. It’s because THEY DON’T WANT IT.
Hello … if they wanted it or had room for it they would keep it. But, not only will Mr. Husband accept it, he will go get it. Easy way for them to get rid of stuff. The Salvation Army doesn’t even do home pick up anymore.
Can a hoarder and a minimalist find happiness in the same house? Most of the time we manage it. But it’s a constant battle and renegotiation. I am beginning to suspect that Mr. Husband is afraid to leave the house for fear that when he returns something might be gone. It would take him a year and half to figure out what it was, but he would. I just know it.
My husband collects DVDs. There are so many of them in this house that I’m considering starting a bonfire. At last count, there are almost 800 of the nasty things crammed in our walk in closet. Years ago husband had a carpenter come in here and make custom shelves for them. This is before I came on the scene. My mistake. Should have checked out his closets before I married him. Maybe I will write a letter to that Hoarder show on TV and see if he is eligible for a visit from a pop-psychologist.
The damned things are like rats. I am convinced that they multiply during the night. If there is an apocalypse we’re covered. We won’t have electricity, but maybe I can get him to buy one of those bikes that you pedal to power the TV, just in case. The DVDs used to be in some kind of order. I ambushed him with a label maker and threatened acts of violence if something wasn’t done about the confusion. That solution lasted about 3 months, until the amount of DVDs again grew out of the space provided. Now there is a stack of 15 new ones collecting dust on the bookcase by the TV.
He has a plan in the works to have a carpenter come in and build MORE shelves in his office. To add to the outrage, Mr. Husband announced yesterday that he intends to replace all his favorites with Blu-rays. Yippee, can’t friggin wait.
I am a minimalist. Building more shelves to store more junk in this already over stuffed house is about as appealing as cleaning out a collection of neglected cat litter boxes. Maybe worse. Netflix is where it’s at, in my opinion. So much less wasteful. Don’t have to storage problems. A little elbow room and more space for my shoes. Now, if I could only convince the hub-man.
Better yet, next boy’s night out I’m going to convert the entire bedroom into a closet. Trouble is he would probably like that and rush out the door to buy more stuff.
Interesting concept on this site: In a World Where…Everyone Has a Library
Photo Credit: Nick Stone.
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