Sunday, February 27, 2011

A realization on de-cluttering

I am actually now on day three of de-cluttering - and as all things come in threes, I have made an interesting (at least to me) observation today.

My purging "piles" ultimately consist of

  • 1 -  Get rid of it  (either trash, donate or sell)
  • 2 -  I might need it/I can make something with this/we could use this later/$$$ 
  • 3 -  Keep it

Pile #1 is easy - OUT it goes!  Ahhh - relief
Pile #2 is killing me!
Pile #3 is also easy - but it helps to be organized

If I look at this arrangement, I see I am easily getting rid of only 1/3 of my stuff.  I am also easily keeping 1/3 of my stuff, but that last 1/3 is causing me much grief and agony!  If I succumb to the last 1/3 and keep it, I am only getting rid of 1/3 of my clutter.  That is FAR below what I had hoped for.  I was thinking something fantastic like 85% would disappear - NOT!

So the question becomes - HOW do you get past a laundry list which includes the desire to sew a cute dress from the floral cotton curtains?   Or the flannel pillowcase which could become a great shirt for my son?  Or the brand new baby clothes we could save for ??? in the future?  Or the doilies gifted to me from my now deceased favorite Aunt? and it goes on and on and on....

Pleeeeease tell me I am normal!

Okay maybe not entirely normal, but at least - ummmmmm.... well never mind that.

It is taking me nerves of steel, and hours of torture to decide what to do with pile #2.  I really truly want to get rid of the stuff - and realistically know that most of my ideas are hair-brained at best, but overcoming that reflexive impulse to keep stuff is almost too much to bear.  It would really help if there was some leprechaun or something sitting on my shoulder egging me to "just toss it".  Wouldn't that be nice?  I wouldn't have to get caught up in my own guilt trip.  There must be a better way....

My main argument with myself is to accept the fact that I have only so much time and energy, and that it is totally unrealistic to think I can tackle all these projects and still be human.  The projects have been sitting there for ages, so why would I believe I will get to them anytime soon?  Wouldn't I rather spend some quality time with my kids instead???  Yes.  Reality check in progress...

Pile # 2 aside, I am feeling some sense of accomplishment today.  One large bag of clothes went to the donation box, the garbage can is half full of junk, two boxes of clothes are ready to head to the consignment store, one large box and 1 full garbage bag are deemed garage sale material, and eight boxes and two (gigantic) trash bags of stuff are now empty!  Yippee!!!  Closet space is actually opening up!!!

I think this project is going to require at least two or maybe three phases.  Phase 1 = go through the obvious stuff and figure out what goes in pile #2.  Phase 2 = revisit pile #2 and purge again.  Phase 3 = repeat phase 1 and 2.

How are your de-cluttering efforts working out?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Getting ready for SPRING

With Spring nowhere in sight and a severe case of cabin fever, plus lots of new ideas starting to slowly materialize, and an ever increasing sensation of suffocation, I have decided it would be a good idea to begin my spring cleaning early.

Oh the joy!

The process began last year when I put my house on the market, and it felt so good to get rid of at least some stuff.  But in the rush of getting the house ready, there wasn't much time to really sort through things other than the obvious junk.   My previous de-cluttering attempts were more like high-speed semi-organizing or simply a "hide it in the closet so the room looks tidy because someone wants to see the house" event.  No REAL de-cluttering actually happened.

Soooo, this year I actually want to take the extra time and effort to move a little closer towards a minimalist lifestyle.  Now don't get me wrong, I am NOWHERE even remotely close to true minimalism, but the idea sure is ever so appealing.  So, by getting rid of one load of junk at a time, I have hope that MAYBE, someday, I will have a clutter/junk free home.  Doesn't that sound utterly blissful???

I am beginning in the basement.  I figure that's where the stuff we really don't use or need is hiding.  There are two closets fully loaded with JUNK which are the first on my hit list. I can't wait!  But at the same time I have to wonder how I will get past the "I might need it someday" syndrome. This is where it comes in handy to have a thick skin.  But I promise, I will do my very best.  Hopefully the final culmination of my efforts will be a really successful garage sale. ;-)

Will keep you posted as the project progresses.

Have you found a good approach to de-cluttering?  Please share your tips and tricks!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Multiplication - DONE!

WOW - we are soooo excited!  The kids have finished MathUSee Gamma!  They are now proficient in multiplication!

I'm not really sure if I can say that multiplication itself was a challenge, but actually getting through the lessons was the challenge.  The kids, especially H, really started to slow down as the problems got larger.  Not because they couldn't do them, but because they "didn't want to" do them.  Oh the drudgery....

But with some arm twisting, and some cheer leading, and maybe even a little bribery, all lessons have been completed successfully.  What a relief!  

I will be waiting a few weeks before diving into the next level (division) so that the kids can decompress a bit.  I've decided a nice change of pace is what they really need, so the next month or so will be primarily focused on science, maybe some history, more reading and writing.  

This is what I love about HSing.  The flexibility to make changes as we go.  It makes learning so much more fun when you aren't chained to a desk, enduring the same monotony day after day - and it makes teaching so much more satisfying as well.  Oh, and best of all - I get to spend time with my kids.  ;-)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


After looking through my old posts on this blog, I noticed that I spend a lot of time wishing and struggling for peace and harmony in my household, but yet, for several years it has alluded me no matter what I do or try.  I sound like a broken record.

So now I ask myself:
Am I expecting something unrealistic?
Or is there really a problem here that I am not dealing with?

The answer to both questions is yes.

I suppose the first part of the issue is that not everyone's idea of peace and harmony is the same.  Or they have different ways of getting there.  Or maybe it really doesn't matter to them.  And it really doesn't matter, since I have come to realize that the only place to find peace and harmony is within yourself, regardless of what other people think, do, say, or feel. Expecting someone else to fit into your own parameters isn't realistic.  What it does is guarantee disappointment.  And boy have I been disappointed.  I have been looking outside of myself for reinforcement, support, and yes, I admit it - peace.  The thing is, is that I set myself up for the disappointment.  I didn't live in the present moment.  I was looking to the next moment and finding fault with what was NOW, and how it would affect the future, my future... MY tranquility.  And naturally I blamed it on the perceived intrusion and/or impediment rather than accepting reality and my part in the disruption.

But then there is the nagging feeling that what I am hoping for ISN'T unrealistic.  I KNOW it is possible.

So what then is the problem?  Naturally we need to deal with the people and situations around us, and having expectations of others is completely normal, but what you do with them is where the difference lies.  I am concluding that the real key to dealing with our expectations is COMMUNICATION.  Without REAL communication, the entire structure of reliance and trust between two people breaks down.  If everyone openly and honestly communicates effectively, and LISTENS to the other person's concerns/needs, there should be no reason why a happy medium can't be found.  However, if one or neither party is able to effectively communicate and/or listen, it is virtually impossible for the needs/desires of either party to be met.  Unfortunately I am finding myself in just this situation.

So how do you resolve a stalemate?  You change yourself.  You change the circumstance.  You change the environment.  You change your expectations.  You change SOMETHING.  The only thing you can't change is someone else, and expecting them to change IS unrealistic.  You may find that the only way to find resolution is by leaving the relationship.  No matter what change you make, it really becomes our responsibility to ourselves, to take necessary measures to find our own personal peace and satisfaction in our relationships and lives.

The well known definition of INSANITY seems a very fitting way to end this post;

Insanity;  Doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results.

Is it time to end the insanity in your life?  Make a change for the better.  Today I accept responsibility for my own peace and harmony.