Clearing out – a progress report

TLCMOT I am feeling somewhat inspired to share some more about how my clear out is coming along, and a bit more from the book too.

First comes the confession – a pile of papers stacked high and wide in two filing trays, plus two magazine boxes stuffed with papers and magazines have sat on my bedroom floor for MONTHS.
In the process of rearranging a few things to make the space work better I moved them from my side of the room to Mr Oh Waily’s; right in front of his chest of drawers no less !!
Can you say denial and avoidance?  Can you say, trying to be out of sight, out of mind?  Can you say dead cheeky to make it someone else’s problem? (As in walking around them each day.)

Well, as my last post mentioned it was time to move on from my limited and not so hard to discard clothing.  Books and paper came next.  Interestingly it hasn’t been too hard so far.  And I mean, so far.  This section of clearing out is likely to last some amount of time as we have copious amounts of books and paperwork lounging around our house.

I started shortly after the last post by laying out the books from two shelves and deciding what to throw and what to keep.  That went quite well and the outgoing items are bagged up waiting to leave the house, final destination unknown at this point.  And since then I have cleared through another two shelves, with over twenty books heading out our door for greener pastures.

Then yesterday something akin to inspiration, perhaps married to desperation to move forward, hit me.  I took one look at my long-promised to sort out piles on the bedroom floor and one by one I tackled them.  The magazine files were emptied and lots of items thrown away.  They were rehoused on the new work desk in the dining room, which is where they will stay for a trial period.  The other, more problematic, piles of paper were stripped out, items removed and the remainder are now waiting on the dining table for further checking and rehoming in a yet to be completed filing system.  I also cleared up the piles of paper on the aforesaid new desk and created a gaping hole on our dining room unit by clearing out the cables & cords boxes.  Remarkably I even labelled a few of them using some washi tape in a similar method to this one here, but minus the label maker and boxes. Although, depending on how it goes, the boxes may turn out to be a good idea.

I have to say that I was inordinately proud of myself yesterday afternoon.

While in no way is the job completed (piles on the dining table are not their final home), at least a plastic bag or two of unwanted items are now gone and the floor has been cleared in the bedroom.  I no longer lived in denial-land and I plan to continue to tackle the piles one by one today. Just taking that first step on a ‘stuck’ issue shrinks it down to it’s true size.

I have to say that I’m a convert to Marie Kondo’s way of doing things.  I totally get what she’s saying about the emotional attachment to things and the best way to deal with that.  And thanks to having bought the book on Kindle (for our iPad) I have been able to highlight some key points that really resonated with me, so far.  I thought I’d share them today so you can get a feeling for her ideas.

Cleaning quietly on one’s own generates another interesting change – the ability to tolerate a certain level of untidiness among your family members.

I have found this comment to be partly true.  While I’m not completely there yet, I am more interested in what I’m doing in my own space than what others are doing in theirs.  This is reflected very much in another comment shortly after…

If you feel annoyed with your family being untidy, I urge you to check your own space, especially your storage.

and

The urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space.

Indeed, focusing on yourself first is definitely a good idea.  After all you are the only person you have ‘control’ over, and leading by example goes a long way to inspiring others.  Not to mention the fact that the pot is often happy to point out the kettle’s untidiness without fully acknowledging their own.  Mea culpa.

This clearing up process is simply about me and what things of mine I want to live with.  On the shared bookshelves I simply lay out the books on the bed, put back the ones I want to keep and offer the choice of the remainder to Mr Oh Waily.  Anything he doesn’t want joins the exodus pile.  This may prove harder when we get to the kids’ books, but we’ll take that one step at a time since they’re only just at the beginner or pre-reader stage.

I also love the way Marie addresses the role things have in our lives, even though her slight anthropomorphising of possessions is a bit dippy.  The idea that our things have a role to play in our lives and can be removed from our lives once they have fulfilled that role is a really good way of looking at the objects that come in to our homes.  For example, you can view badly purchased clothes as a lesson in what doesn’t suit us; and gifts received allowed the giver to express their appreciation at the time of giving and receiving.

By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order.  In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure.

As for my book hoard, I thought this was a nice comment to reassure myself with,

People with large book collections are almost always diligent learners.

I haven’t made it past the books and paper part yet, in sorting and tidying terms, but I have read on past the sentimental items and how to deal with them.  She has some really nice ideas here too.

By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process you past.

and

To put your things in order means to put your past in order, too.  It’s like resetting your life and settling your accounts so that you can take the next step forward.

Making the odd profound statement in the general text seems to be the way of this book.  My favourite to date is this comment on looking forward rather than clinging to the past.

The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.

There are plenty of wise words, and practical advice in this book so far.  But not of the ‘keep 7 shirts, 3 skirts only’ kind.  If you want a ‘how-to’ manual that looks like that, then this isn’t the book for you.

See you all at the next update.

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One thought on “Clearing out – a progress report

  1. Pingback: Life skills for kids – a timely reminder |

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