Just Thinking About It Does Not Make It Happen

I am a Thinker rather than a Doer.

I realize how much I think about all the things I want to do, to accomplish.  I carefully execute them in my mind, watching myself go through the actions.  How I will do it, what tools I will use to make it easier, and how wonderful it will look afterwards.  Only thing is, all that occurs in my mind. I rarely ever get around to actually DOING them.  It is so much easier to carry it out in my head then in real life. 

The biggest place I do this is when it comes to housecleaning and decluttering. 

In my mind I am great!  I am busy taking care of what needs to be done all the time. When I go into the kitchen I see the floor needs scrubbing, the  baseboards need painting and scrubbing, the sliding glass door tracks need to be cleaned thoroughly, like down on the ground with a Q-tip in the corners clean not just a vacuum and a swipe.  Papers need to be gone through, books need to be sorted and sifted, and the Tupperware cabinet desperately needs to be reorganized.  Of course this is only the tip of the iceberg in this house. 

But here is where it just gets crazy.  I SEE these things, and in my mind’s eye when I am doing other things I PLAN how I am going to do it.  I do this over and over, time and time again.  But the follow through never happens.  Sometimes the action does happen, lately more and more often as I am struggling against myself to get this house in order, but only after I have replayed the action scenes in my head over and over, dozens of times, hundreds of times and finally somewhere along the way pulled myself together to do it.  

Case in point, the pile of stuff I posted the other day, waiting for donation.  They have been waiting to move on to their new homes for at least a month now.  And believe me, in terms of past donations that is a short time! 

This is every single time.  I get the stuff together but something in me is afraid to get rid of it.  The “What Ifs” show up to pester me.  What if I need or want something after it is gone?   What if they just throw it away and it doesn’t get used?  What if I am sorry I gave it away and miss it down the road?  What if I made a bad decision?????

All of these questions and more rattle around in my brain when I am trying to get rid of stuff, and they go around louder and louder as I get to making the call and the pickup day comes. A lot of anxiety comes with getting rid of stuff.   Almost as much as actually sorting through it. 

But I am tired of the big pile sitting in my living room and I try to picture how nice and open it will look in that space once the stuff is gone.  And so I finally made the call today.  They were closed.  Go figure.  So I have to pull myself together again and call again tomorrow. 

And it is with so many things.  I see  a box on the floor and will spend months telling myself I need to go through it, or pick it up, before I finally get around to doing it.  Thinking not Doing.  I am so frustrated with myself in that way. 

Part of it is the physical aspect.  I can’t get up from the floor on my own due to my legs, and I can’t lift and squat, so a lot of this is challenging to do on my own, still it needs to be done.

But a huge part of it is the emotional aspect.  The  second-guessing of my decisions on what is the right stuff to give away.   It is so agonizing!!!  I know what I want, the end result, but the getting there is so hard to get through.

I tend to hoard stories of people who are able to just give things away without attachment to them.  I eat them up like potato chips…I can’t get enough of them.  They are learning tools for me.  They inspire me.  I want to be that way.  I think I will get there but for me it is a destination and I am growing in this difficult journey. 

Today I gave away another bag.  It was a large Hefty-type bag of uniforms that I brought to the kids’ middle school.  I had gathered them all together after D graduated from the school last June and true to form it has sat in my living room since then waiting to leave.   It had about 30+ tops, shorts,, and pants in it.  I didn’t have any emotional attachment to it and it was actually pretty easy!

 

DSCN1567

I feel some relief at the donation, another thing gone, some more space opened up.  I look forward to keeping on keeping on!  And I so look forward to my new Zen space.

Posted in Decluttering, Fears, Organization, Thoughts | 3 Comments

My Stuff

My workload has been light these days and I have a little time to work on the house.   But I haven’t.  The problem is when you get to this level of stuff surrounding you it is so incredibly overwhelming trying to figure out where to begin.  I look at it, I plan what I am going to do, but somehow it doesn’t seem to get done and I am stretching this project on and on far longer then it should be stretched.  It is hard to do so it is easy to avoid.

Over the past year to two years I have donated at least 7 or 8, possibly even more, loads like the one below to various organizations like Goodwill, Miami Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, and the Veterans.  All the donations pretty much look like this..that is a mountain of stuff!  And with as much stuff that has left the house, I am still buried in every room.

The hardest part of the decluttering for me is the decision-making process.  I suck at making decisions, always agonizing over choosing the most perfect scenario and mourning the loss of whatever I didn’t choose.  Up until recently my  home has been filled with every single momento of mine and my children’s past.  I had given away almost nothing and if it existed in our life at some period of time I still had it.  Intact too!  No missing pieces.  I may be messy but I am good at keeping everything together within the chaos.

But the sifting and sorting is not just some mechanical process that is easy.  When I do it I have two big obstacles, one physical with the challenge of lifting and carrying, and the other, much harder, is the slam me in the gut emotion wrench.   My indecision reveals it ugly head here, tearing me  apart as I face every single item.  Nothing seems to be an easy snap decision for me.  I am faced with a history lesson of my life as I open box after box of long-forgotten but still existing items.  Each item torments me with a barrage memories.  Unfinished projects I was going to do with my kids, incomplete plans, games and other activities we bought but never played.  Toys once thoroughly loved but now forgotten and outgrown except by me.   A marriage failed, kids growing up and gone.  Time lost.  Decluttering brings me face to face with my best intentions that turned into failures.  It is so hard.

And the giving away is so final.  Somehow when the items go, my memories go with it.  I know all  of the decluttering gurus say the memories remain long after the item is gone, but I have not found that to be true for me.  Holding an item in my hand brings up memories in a touching, nearly physical way.  Some good, some sad.  Some downright painful.   But having the item brings them back and when they are buried, or donated, they fade.  Out of sight, out of mind.

But as painful as the process is I have to do it.  I cannot keep a lifetime of stuff, a lifetime of memories in my home.  It is crowding us out and the house has become an unpleasant place to live.  I know for my sanity and for the sake  of my kids and whatever time I have left with them, I need to turn this chaos into peace and joy.  And so I trod on, and keep moving the mountains out of the house, blessing them for others to enjoy and get use out of.

It is so hard.

Stuff going out in this load, the three large bags, the large box, and the two boxes of videos:

DSCN1552

 

  • One bag of my old shoes and a few of the kids shoes, about 15-20 pairs, lost in a box in the closet, unworn since 2003.  No kids in the house fit in the kid’s shoes anymore.
  • One large bag is kids clothes, mostly T’s, in the same box also unworn since 2003, and outgrown.  At least 50 pants, shirts, shorts, and more.  Again, no kids in the house fit those clothes.
  • A huge bag of clothes from M’s closet that he decluttered last weekend.
  • A bunch of games, including Guess Who, States, and several others.
  • All of H’s old Barbies, the Barbie car, and a huge bag of old Barbie clothes and shoes.
    Another large bag of Barbie accessories.
  • A big bag of at least five or six or more throw pillows that have not been used in years.
    All of the Disney videos, two boxes of them, going to my mom who wants them.   At least 100 videos.

Lots of memories.

I agonized over the Disney videos, even going as far as looking on Ebay to see if they were worth anything, but in the end I decided to give them up.  And yes as I sorted them and held them in my hand many memories came flooding back of how much my kids had various favorites when they were little, of the special ones they watched hundreds of times.

I decided though I can always buy DVDs as they come out if I really want them in the future, and the kids don’t watch them anymore, we don’t have a working VHS player, although I know if we did H would still enjoy them even at 15, heck even I would enjoy some of them.

The deciding factor was the space.  I want freedom, I want peace, I want Zen in this house and by keeping all of the old memories I cannot achieve that.  There will be other things I will keep as I go through the house.  Things more personal, with more attachments.  But not these.

Oh my goodness this is just so hard and I have such a long way to go.

I’m participating in the Reverse 100 Thing challenge #rev100TC on Be More with Less 

Courtney’s challenge helped motivate me to call the donation center for pickup and get the stuff out of the house.  I have probably close to 300 items in the pile going out so I have met the challenge already!  But I am going to step it up and get at least another 100 items out of the house by December 15.  Hopefully more.

 

Posted in Decluttering, Fears, Organization, Thoughts | 5 Comments

Back To The Grind

This past week we spent out of town visiting my son in college.  We stayed in a small beachy resort and had a wonderfully relaxing time.   With TVs and cable in every room (and no cable and only one TV at) home I thought I was going to battle the kids over the idiot box.  But I was happily surprised that I was able to keep us all busy enough that we only turned on one TV, one night, for less than one hour…the night before we were leaving….and it was me who turned it on!!!

The rest of time was spent playing pool (we had a pool table in the family room), doing jigsaw puzzles, playing board games, biking, walking, reading, and (UGH) doing homework for the kids and, for me, working some.

Overall I had a wonderful time with my family.  I just plain enjoyed being with my kids and being together as a family.  With everybody growing up it is too real that all of us lounging around like this will soon be a thing of the past. 

I woke up our last morning, Saturday morning, with the all-too-familiar big ball of stress planted back firmly in my stomach as I thought about our last day of vacation and everything that lay waiting for me back at home, and suddenly realized that my every-present stress ball of overwhelm that I carry around with me all the time had been gone the entire week.  How wonderful that was!  And how sad that it was back.

And today is Monday, and school has started, and work has started, and all of the activities have started….and here we go again.

But I do have a plan to get myself back together.   We have slowly been letting go of some of our activities in order to have less “hurry up and do” things.  And getting back to blogging is a step for me.  The writing is very cathartic for me.   I also know I need to make time for daily cycling.  It makes me feel good and I can feel the strength building up in my legs.  

And finally, while on vacation, in a used bookstore I found an old copy of the The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  I had wanted that book for a while but even used on Amazon it was a little more than I wanted to pay and honestly I hadn’t even thought about it for a while.  But I think it was time….I had been browsing with my daughter all over the store, me mostly at the romance novels, she at the young adult fiction….but there really was nothing there so we turned to leave.  And as we started to walk out of the store, the book caught my eye, right there waiting for me on top of a shelf.  At a lovely low price too…so I snatched it up, it definitely was meant for me. 

I devoured the introduction and first chapter….and I started the Morning Pages this morning.   Like everything else in my hectic life, I hope I can keep it up.  If I do I think it will be very good for me, and everybody else around me.

And so here we go……..

Posted in Chaos, The Artist's Way, Thoughts, Vacation | Leave a comment

Some Victories Along The Way

Some Positives

Just so it doesn’t seem like my life is all doom and gloom I want to post a few accomplishments over the last few years.  They are not end-alls but merely pit stops (some in which I have lingered way to long) along my journey.

The first is the loss of 40 lbs and regaining some of my health and energy back.  While a great accomplishment this is one of the areas where I have been resting bit too long.  I have 40 more pounds to lose and it is time to get  moving.

Biking.  Yes, over the past year I have released the car, some…okay not enough, but I am back in my saddle for the first time in (big gulp) 30 years.  Yes, since I got my driver’s license.  And I am loving it.  My legs and arms have both gained some strength.  I don’t fall nearly as much as I used to and that is a great feeling.  As a matter of fact, I can’t even remember if I have fallen in the last six months (since the hard tumble down the stairs sometime last year).  A huge victory.  I want to take a bike trip (with M) and I want to lose my fear of biking through the city without the security blanket of M by my side to help me with anything that might go wrong.

Huge donation piles out the door.  Yes I can see the floor in the family room.  One thing I have done is to take pictures of all of the outgoing piles and the room at some points along the way.  I will post these.

Eating healthy.  Becoming Vegan, unprocessed, and organic.  I feel great.  No more naps in the afternoon.  Unless I want to.

Posted in Biking, Exercise, Health, Organization, Vegan | Leave a comment

If At First You Don’t Succeed

Nothing.  A bunch of nothing.  That is what I accomplish.   I have all of these grand ideas running around my head.  Years and years I have made lists and lists and I am always in the same place.  Treading water.  Working hard to go nowhere.

How can I change this pattern.  How can I go from a thousand intentions, wants, desires, hopes, and dreams to at least a few channeled into actual accomplishments.

I am not sure yet.

Will daily writing help?  Some swear by it. Get the words out…empty that tornado swirling in your brain out into paper (or computer) to leave an empty space in which to create, to act, to do.

Fine thing…except how many years have I spent starting a journal that ends up with ONE journal entry.  The beginning.  Always the beginning.  Sometimes it is so hard to take any steps to get away from that beginning.  Truly, I have years and years of journals (at least ten books) with the one requisite beginning.  And true to form it (and I) never go anywhere.

At nearly 48 years old I feel my world has figuratively (maybe even literally sometimes) imploded on me.  I am tired of treading to nowhere.

I have accumulated, hoarded, gathered, and housed a lot, both tangible and intangible.  I have stuff.  So much stuff.  And it is so hard to get rid of my stuff.  The Veteran’s and Salvation Army have become regular visitors to my house, hauling off porch-loads of bags and boxes.  The memories I can bear to let go as long as they go somewhere with the hope that somebody will use them.  Still 6 or more hauls and I still live in stuff.  And that is just the physical stuff.

The mental stuff is so much harder to deal with.  I am so bogged down in mental stuff that my universe has become cramped and painful.   I am tired of the pain.  I am tired of the worry, stress, fear, and anxiety.

I am tired of waking up fearful of what bomb my day will drop and planning how to get through it rather than waking up brilliantly aglow, eager to see what my day presents and looking forward to love and accomplishment.

I have had enough.  It is time to change.

My year 2012 is my year of letting go.  I started Cluttered…Chaos…Calm so many years ago and how many posts does it have?  I don’t know 2 maybe 3.  ( actually just checked and it is 2!!) 

This year I do let go of the chaos.  I am too old for it and it is bringing me down. I am so tired of thinking and not doing.  I need to be and do something so much better that what I am now.  I am so exhausted and down from the stagnation.  My own stagnation.

2012 is my year of acceptance of my life…of learning to be happy and appreciative of what I have.  Of doing my own thing and being me and stopping squeezing everybody around me so tight into how I want them to be  that I look up and nobody wants to be around me anymore.  

This post speaks to me and will be my mantra for 2012:  http://crazysexylife.com/2012/vairagya-the-practice-of-letting-go/

My inner spirit is calling, my nomad, my hippy.  I look to break free of the norms and start to live more simply.  Starting with getting rid of the clutter and chaos. 

I want to be alive again.

Posted in Chaos, Fears, Thoughts | 1 Comment

How Did I Get Into This Mess!

Clutter.  Chaos.  That sums it all up for me for the moment.  I have reached my lowest point (I hope), the bottom of the heap so to speak.  Everywhere I turn it is messy, broken, dirty, in in disarray….once I could hold it all together in spite of my surroundings.  But the pile, both a physical and mental pile of stuff to manage, has grown beyond my limits of containment and the fallout of chaos, lost objects, and missed deadlines has started to spill over into our lives.  My life.  More importantly the lives of my children…who I have spent a lifetime shaping, molding, and protecting.  I didn’t protect them from this.

The past few months I have been sucked into blogs of people who clean, declutter, and make things happen in their homes.  What an educational and enlightening experience!!!

I am a master of making things happen, of keeping more balls in the air than most people can, but it has always been at the expense of my  house.

No more.  I am learning and liberating myself.  And make no mistake, it is a learning process.  I am seeing things about running a household that most people take for granted, but I just never knew.  Seriously!  At 46 years old I am amazed at what never occurred to me about keeping a beautiful home (Some people wash their windows, inside and out, on a regular basis!  And mop their floors more than once every other month….WHO KNEW!!!)

I hope to chronicle my journey from where I am now, at times hopeful and excited, at times in total despair and overwhelm.

I hope to go from the clutter and chaos to a life of calm.

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Day One…Motivation is High!

Yesterday I sat far too long at the computer and my behind was sore! Today I was determined to cut loose the computer…my best friend and best time sucker…and actually work in the house.

Truly I was dreading the decluttering. In the past, going through boxes is a walk down memory lane and at times is staggeringly painful.

All my failures seem to show up in these boxes…failed marriage…failed projects started but not finished…failed things I bought for the kids they didn’t get to really enjoy enough.

In the past decluttering has literally brought me to my knees, down in the pit of despair…which is probably a strong reason why it is not on the top of my To-Do list and easily gets pushed it aside.

Today I bit the bullet and went to work. Thanks to our failed roofing catastrophe the other day, the living room is filled with boxes I need to go through…boxes which formerly took up a good third of the family room and one of the many reasons we don’t have people over.

In a big rush, while dodging water pouring through the light fixture during a major downpour on Friday, we managed to grab all of the boxes and move them out of the corner of the family room and into the living room.

We were amazed at how great the family room looked in comparison to the before…but oh boy…the living room, the best kept room in the house and the only one presentable, was turned into a major eyesore. And since it is the first thing people see when they walk into the house…and I have people coming over weekly to pick up produce, this just was not acceptable.

So somehow today I managed to get myself motivated to start going through the boxes..and it wasn’t as difficult as it had been in the past.

I don’t know why. Was it because so much time has passed that I don’t feel any pain about the past anymore? I don’t…and I am glad about that…but I think a big reason was that for the first time I wasn’t doing it alone. The kids are older now, (13 and 18) and they were helping me. I think having them to enjoy the memories with and to help release the old stuff they had outgrown…and help decide what should stay…made a big difference.

We weighed everything we got rid of, put it right on the front porch, and I immediately went online and scheduled a donation pickup for tomorrow.

Overall we donated 89 pounds of stuff to the Vietnam Vets. Art supplies, clothes, small appliances, and toys.

We also have some stuff to hold for the Girl Scouts, to be donated during the summer (books and games) and some stuff to give to Ms. Granddaughter on her birthday later this month.

I was so motivated that I even managed an 11 pound bag of clothing from my room..included in the count.

Not included in the count is all of the garbage that went out…I would like to include it but all of the weighing eats away at some of the time we spend toward the decluttering mission.

The house is showing a promised of a neat and organized future…and I am trying to focus on how wonderful that feeling is when I am indecisive about putting something in the giveaway.

So many things could be going to Ebay…and it is so tempting. But I have taken that off the table for now as it is too time consuming and I want to focus on the task of decluttering rather than fooling around with just one more thing online. Besides, I know the act of releasing all this clutter to someone who will be able to use it, will bring a circulation of energy in my life and the Universe will provide what I need.

Staying for now are the boxes of old kid homework, art projects, and journals, saved as they grew up. I can’t bring myself to part with those yet and am putting them aside to go through once the major declutter is done.

Also done today was a sweep of the kitchen and eating area, and I mopped the kitchen. What an improvement!

So an exciting Day One is done!! Lots was given away and I am so excited!

Now I am off to find a countdown widget to track my 1,000 pounds of declutter!

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