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Thread: Setting A Decluttering Goal in Units of Time Using Flylady's Timer Method - July 2018

  1. #11
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    IL, you think like me). Always much easier when the pack rat is gone.

  2. #12
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    I had hoped to do four hours today - because my daughter is with her dad and I am having people over Monday night - but I didn't quite manage it.

    But I did do two hours. These were technically hours 3 and 4, but they really felt like the first two "real" hours because before them, I was mostly doing unpacking and light puttering.

    Since I am having guests over on Monday night (always a big motivator for me), I'm focusing this weekend on the first floor common areas - the living room and dining room. Because my daughter is 7 and our house is small, most of her toys and play areas are on the first floor.

    I concentrated today on her art corner which has gotten messy. It was hard. I had to keep telling myself not to be a perfectionist and to just think of what I was doing was a "pass-through" cleaning, and in truth, there were a lot of things that were easy to throw out: probably 10 magic markers that had dried out, lots of old drawings and art projects. There was definitely more I could have tossed (old sticker books and coloring books that weren't completely used up, but almost), but in any case, that particular area, which is the first thing guests see when they come in the front door, looks better. I still have about 30 more minutes to do on it tomorrow though to really finish. Also, I was trying to create a kind of pretty "vignette" of her art projects on the top of the bookcase that holds all her supplies, and it's not quite right yet. I know I just have to be patient, though, and in time, I'll find a combination of pictures and objects that "spark joy."

    I was having trouble getting motivated earlier, but one thing I did that helped was to go back and look at my posts from other times when I've set goals for hours of decluttering. I've been setting these goals at regular intervals for three years now! Even though there is still a lot of clutter in my house, looking back made it really clear that though it has been a three-steps-forward-two-steps-backwards process, the progress has been definite and steady. When I started three years ago, the guest room and upstairs hall were full of clutter. This year, I completely decluttered the guest room (though I have some boxes of my winter clothes in there right now which I need to move) and the hallway is about 75% less cluttered. And through it all, the support of those of you here who have chimed in has been incredibly helpful, so thanks.

    As always at this stage, I'm dealing with a lot of guilt and shame about having all this clutter in the first place and anxiety about the best way to do this or that, but I've learned those feelings are just an inherent part of the process for me

    New total: 4 hours.

  3. #13
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    Evhase, you’re in the child rearing years with working and those are messy years for sure. Many on this forum are retired so of course our homes are neater, etc. By age 7 my kids had to play in their room including art but I had 3 so they weren’t lonely up there. I also went up a lot to play with them. We would often all read downstairs in the evening, homework was done down there until the kids were older. So it was easier to keep the downstairs neater. Also the more people the more stuff. Other things take preference over clutter. We would just put things in the basement to deal with later. Later came when we moved across the country for a job with 5 of us.
    This forum is filled with people that have plenty of time for decluttering. Do what you can and enjoy your child. The years go fast. I also thought it was more important to play with my kids and do things with them then clean. I tried to keep my living room neat so if someone dropped over they came in the front door and we sat there)

  4. #14
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    Thanks for the encouragement, Teacher Terry. I definitely prioritize quality time with my daughter over cleaning and decluttering, but I know both she and I are both happier and more relaxed in a reasonably orderly home. Like me, my mom was a single mom, and I'm realizing now that she did a lot of decluttering when I was off with my dad, which is what I tend to do with my daughter. But I think I also want to include my daughter more in some of the decluttering and cleaning so that she develops some of the good habits I never did. I'd love it if she and I could develop some housekeeping routines together so that she could get some positive messages about how satisfying such routines can be. We started using charts this year for morning routines, and I think I'm going to expand that a little this summer to include evening routines too. We'll see.

    Also like me, my mom had pretty serious clutter issues, and cleaning out her house with my siblings after she died made me realize how much all that clutter stressed her out. I think figuring out good routines and strategies for maintaining a reasonably tidy home (believe me, my standards are not super-high!) improve my quality of life. I'd like to feel nurtured by my home instead of stressed out by it, and I *do* feel nurtured by it when I take care of it.

    Onward!

  5. #15
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    I did three more hours yesterday.

    I'm still working on the downstairs. One thing that has changed since I began this decluttering push a few years ago is that it used to be that all my energy was focused on just getting rid of stuff or finding a place for it. And while it felt good to purge, really good, a lot of the spaces in the house felt really bare and dissatisfying after I did so. Since finally reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up last year, I began to realize I hadn't given enough thought to how the different spaces in my house might "spark joy" and what I might do to make the different spaces nurturing and pretty.

    So I've spent a lot of time in the last year on the apartment therapy website and on pinterest, trying to figure out what sorts of decor I like and don't like, and that's been enormously helpful. I wrote on this board last year about the big shift that took place in my home when I spent hours figuring out how to make the top of my dresser in my bedroom pretty and pleasing. I feel like taking the time to make that space (which is pretty much the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning - and which previously had been a space just piled with papers and junk) pretty was a real tipping point for me. It showed me it was okay to give myself permission to take the time to make every part of my home pleasing.

    All this is a long way of saying that a fair amount of my "decluttering" time yesterday was actually spent on trying to "style" and "decorate" a wall of bookcases in my living room. I decided in my winter decluttering purge to move most of my books down to the first floor, and I love having a wall of books. For me, a house just doesn't feel warm or lived in without bookcases and books. But I had just sort of shoved the books there and hadn't arranged them at all, so that wall wasn't very attractive. So yesterday I spent about an hour or so rearranging the books, putting in some family pictures here and there and a plant and some other "accessories" to make the whole view of that wall so much prettier and personal. And I took some small posters I had and a couple of my daughter's art projects to get them dry mounted so I could put them on the top. It looks ten times better now, the way I envisioned it could look when I first moved the books down here.

    Today, I'm going to continue my work on the first floor since I'm having guests tonight. I know I won't get through everything I'd hoped to do before they come, but the deadline has been a good motivator anyway.

    And thanks to anyone who actually reads these long posts. I think I'm realizing that reflecting here on what I'm doing is as helpful as the decluttering itself. Domestic tasks have never come "naturally" to me, so having a place to think through these ones is enormously helpful.

    New total: 7 hours.

  6. #16
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    I think you are doing great, EJ. You are right that the styling can take a lot of time, and I did a bit of that in my porch/eating area yesterday. I remember well how beautiful your bureau looked last year and you have every right to be pleased!

  7. #17
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    Thanks, rosarugosa. Your encouragement means a lot. It seems like having a pretty porch/eating area will be really worthwhile.

    Well, as I suspected, I didn't have enough time yesterday to get through all the clutter on the first floor, so in the end, I dumped a bunch of the remaining clutter in boxes and took them upstairs so the downstairs would be clutter free when my guests came. This felt like a bit of a failure, but I had to remind myself that I had gone through a lot of clutter over the weekend (and thrown a lot out), and I'm going to keep going through it for the next month, so I tried not to beat myself up about it too much.

    Also, it feels so good to be downstairs now that the clutter is gone, and it felt nice to have people over and feel relatively good about the space.

    And, interestingly, my seven-year-old daughter was ELATED by how tidy everything was when she came home from camp. She actually asked me to pick her up early from camp today saying, "You did the first floor, Mama, so I will do the second floor." Then she saw how much I took upstairs and she said, "Well, I might need a little bit of help with this part." It was pretty cute, and it was validation of my thinking that the clutter stresses her out just as much as it does me. She and I will do some decluttering together this week and weekend, and I'm looking forward to developing some housekeeping/tidying/decluttering routines with her now. We have a maid that comes once a month, so we don't have to do a lot of "deep" cleaning. Mostly, she and I both need to get better at putting things away as we bring them into the house, and putting things back after we use them, and then of course cleaning up after meals and art projects.

    Now that I don't have the deadline of guests coming over, I have to take a few days to focus on my paid work for the summer which I've been neglecting a bit. But I feel good about the steps forward I took in the last week on the house.

    I did three hours yesterday, so my new total is 10!

  8. #18
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    I did another hour today. I was sort of all over the place, but at the end, I decided to start working on the six - yes, six - boxes of clutter stacked neatly in a corner of my dining room.

    I barely made a dent, but I started.

    New total is 11.

  9. #19
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    I would move the boxes upstairs and deal with it there. I think it would feel better to not be looking at it everyday.

  10. #20
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    EJ, What a great reaction from your daughter! Together you may get even more finished. You've made huge progress and keeping the downstairs tidy, with both of you remembering to put things away will be easier. Good luck and congratulations.

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