The challenge

Friday, September 24, 2010

Small Steps Count Too

You know those papers you never know what to do with? Or other stuff of a similar nature? A lot of mine ends up here. In what is supposed to be my phone docking station. (I got it as a Christmas gift and drilled a hole in the back so I could feed my charger cord through.) Yeah this is what it looked like:

But I cleaned it out. I did put the phone in it, but I can't take a picture using the phone while the phone is in there soo...

Yay, for baby steps!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

De-Hoard Project #3: My Son the Hoarder.

There was an episode of Hoarders that I watched the other night, where they had an 8 year old boy who was a "hoarder". Now, I put that in quotes because I really think all kids can/are hoarders if you let them be. Most aren't naturally tidy. Most like to collect and keep the weirdest stuff. If you take a toy that they rarely play with and offer to toss it, it suddenly becomes more interesting to them. So, if I want to get rid of my kids stuff, I sometimes enlist their help, but often I just trash what they won't miss behind their backs.

So this kid on the show-- they start really trying to get him to part with stuff and he is... struggling. Screaming, crying, refusing to get rid of anything. Does that make him a hoarder? Well his mom was a hoarder and I just sort of think she didn't make him get rid of anything, hence his behavior came from conditioning. (If I cry, Mom empathizes and doesn't make me do it...) Anyway. I was watching thinking, seriously? Clean it out while he's gone and he will deal! Guess what they did? Guess how it worked? He left, they cleaned, he returned and was FINE.

This is really a long introduction for me to say that I don't typically clean my kids' rooms. I usually leave it up to my husband to help my kids, because I get frustrated with their lack of co-operation. My mom used to come in and clean my room a lot, which was nice, but didn't really help me learn to do it myself and I want my children to be able to independently take care of their own things.

However, I knew there was some de-hoarding to be done in my son's room and so I tackled the task on my own, while he was away at school.

The closet has a lot of baby stuff in it, and also other people's stuff, so it was kind of critical for me to deal with and not my seven year old. I will say that I planned to go through two bins in there full of baby stuff, but couldn't get through it. I was tired and since I don't know if our baby-to-be is a boy or girl, I just left it be.

This to me was just funny. He had tons of school work papers stacked up on his desk, and underneath I found an arsenal of plastic guns. Apparently they could not shoot through the clutter. I did not throw these away, but I put them in a jar.

Forgive the blur-- camera phone. But you can see the desk is cleared.

Not an amazing closet, but better than before...

Books on the bookshelf!

He came home after school while the bins of garbage and giveaway were still in his room and in spite of that says, "I really love what you did with my room mom." He doesn't have a clue about the stuff I tossed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

De-Hoard Project #2: Using my display case

When I did my Mary Kay de-cluttering, I cleared a bunch of MK product out of a lovely display case in my living room so the product could live with the rest of the product in the closet. So then I was left with an empty case needing to be filled...

My plan was to take my Barbie Doll Collection from my bedroom closet and put it in the top half of the case and to put the bottom half of the case also to good use.

This basket of stuff was sitting in my "fancy" room holding my Musikgarten teaching materials. I tended to toss stuff in there whenever and it, and it worked out... okay, but I have four more classes this year than I did last year and I have more teacher books, etc...

Of course, this was not the only problem in my "room-that-is-to-be-kept-clean-at-all-times."

It didn't look terrible, but there was some crap in it that didn't belong...

All in all I purged from the room: one bag of " doesn't belong in here", one box of garbage and one box of give away, which I forgot to upload the pictures of. Amongst the giveaways and trash? Sheet music, books and magazines. But in the bottom of my display case, I did this with my MG materials:

And my Barbies that have been in a box for months now had a place to shine:

And the room looked like this when it was done:


Thursday, September 16, 2010

My own confession

I think I should confess once a week.

After that last post where I made myself sound so much better than the Hoarders on TV.

So here is my disgusting clutter confession for the week:

I don't eat bread heels.

Often there are five or six bags of bread heels in my kitchen just waiting to be tossed. (They certainly aren't going to be eaten!) I don't know why I can't throw them out. There's one in my kitchen right now in fact, which is why I thought to confess it. I mean, I know I am not going to eat them-- maybe I hope someone else will? It feels wasteful somehow, and it probably is. But bread heels on store bought bread are gross tasting. And so is crust, which I also don't eat. (Nearly 30 and still eating around the crust-- I'm an ADULT!)

So that's it. You can all be grossed out now by my hoarding habit.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What separates us...

I feel for the hoarders. Being surrounded all day long by so much STUFF sucks. Having such a mess makes a person feel like they don't know where to start or if they even want to. I feel like that myself sometimes and I don't even have a tenth of what these people have. I've been in that place where I am too tired to care, and have such large messes that I don't know where to start. It can sometimes take hours to clean something that should take 15 minutes, because I think about it so much...

It's nice to leave sometimes to get out into the cleaner public and so something I enjoy. I think for the hoarding lot, getting out of the chaos of their homes and going out into the world and "getting a deal" feels really good. I have no doubt about this.

It just breaks my heart though, to see these hoarders cry out for help, have help come and then watch them turn it down. Crews are standing by and only get through portions of what needed to be done. They simply can't let go of the stuff-- even if it means damages to their relationships. This is the saddest thing to me. All of their things are so important to them that really nothing is. (When everyone's special, no one is...) Less would seriously be more.

So, aside from the fact that I have less stuff than the hoarders, I'd like to think I am not quite the same as them in some other ways.

Because if garbage trucks and teams came to help me get the crap out of my house, I would be tossing left and right and screaming hallelujah. Because I can't do it alone. And my stuff is a burden. Most stuff is-- even stuff you like and use you still need to store and care for and... look at. I think I would have to help go through stuff to a certain extent, because even in my disorganization, I know where a lot of my things are and I hate being disoriented. But really, I would so much rather start from a clean slate than have to go through this crap myself. If crews came tomorrow and took everything away, I would have some stress, but relief would be the greatest feeling of all.

Of course, this is all theoretical.

It really is overwhelming.

And I have relatively less stuff than the Television Hoarders. Though you should see my garage right now....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Temptation, the name is Garage Sale

So three or four days after I started this little "project" the biggest yard sale day of the year happens. It's not an official day, but suddenly little neon signs popped up EVERYWHERE.

While driving to a friend's house on Friday I was bombarded with Garage Sale Temptation. My heart started beating a little faster, and my breathing got a little heavier. I can do this, I thought to myself.

As I pulled onto my friends street my heart sunk. There was a garage sale on her very street of all places! And what was worse? Next door. To. Her. House.

I did park right in front of the sale. My eyes looked at the treasures of bargains. But I continued to my destination without approaching the sale.

Yay me. That was tough.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reconciling Reduce, Reuse, Recycle with Throwing Stuff Out to Get on with Life

Long post title, eh?

I am finding that as I get rid of stuff, the amount I am throwing in the trash is probably triple what I am recycling. This is giving me guilt, I must admit as I try to reconcile my need for less stuff with my desire to be good to the planet.

My grandparents generation became hoarders because of the scarcity they experienced in the depression. Their motto became, "don't throw something out that you could use later, because later you might not be able to get it."

My generation has to deal with a world in which the environment is very important to people and we want to be good with our earth. A lot of us heard: "don't throw something out because it's going straight to a landfill and landfills are BAD, BAD, BAD."

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

What does it mean?

Reduce-- obvious. Use less. Don't buy as much stuff. Not retroactive. It can only start as soon as today. No sense having guilt here, since what is done is done. At this point I have not had great success in this arena, though I am trying. (Kind of the point of this blog.)

Re-use. This one gets me in trouble. (I don't think I am the only one.) I don't have a problem loading up my stuff and giving it to charity. I don't have a problem giving baby clothes to friends. I don't have a problem recovering my couch or buying one off of craigslist. I DO have a problem picking up CRAP at garage sales and I do have a problem accepting other people's used items that REALLY should go in the trash, but THEIR guilt is preventing them from dumping it. I DO have a problem with holding on to things that I never intend to fix because I MUST REUSE AT ALL COSTS TO SAVE THE PLANET. But this fills my house with stuff that I don't want to deal with.

What do you do? When you are trying to be green? When you are trying to live a clutter free life?

Two thoughts on this:

First, right back to Reduce. Again, what is bought cannot be undone, but steps can be taken to make a change. And when making purchases, buy high quality items ( new or used) and then take good care of them. I threw away a picture frame tonight with no glass because the glass broke when I had the pictures stacked up on the floor while I procrastinated putting it on the wall. Stupid? Five minutes and a hammer and nail could have saved that waste.

Second. Let go of the flipping guilt. If you aren't going to fix it, freecycle it or trash it and move on. Is it best for the environment to dump it? Probably not. Is it best for the environment of your home and your heart? I think so.

Recycle. Whatever your city accepts, put it in the bin instead of the trash.

And I think simply making the best effort possible is sufficient. But I am still having a time of it. Thoughts?

Friday, September 10, 2010

First De-hoard Project: Mary Kay Closet

I am a big fan of visual cleaning. Visual cleaning basically means when people come over, you shove everything in a closet. It is the equivalent of looking good outwardly but being crappy on the inside.

A few months after my youngest was born, I started a Mary Kay business. I got way into it, and I totally love everything about the company. I recently re-evaluated my goals regarding my business and decided that I need to get rid of some stuff since I have an entire closet filled with Mary Kay product, pamphlets, bags and other paraphernalia. The closet was so bad you couldn't even walk in there. I am sad to say I didn't photograph it, but here is what came out of the closet, so to speak:
Now, before I show the pictures, I want to say that while I sometimes roll my eyes at the Hoarders on Television, I found myself sometimes agonizing over certain things. Samplers for example, I found hard to let go of. "But I paid for that! But I might use it!" I said to myself. Puh-leeze. If I ever decide to hold classes again, I will need new stuff by that time anyway.

The other thing I found myself saying was, "this is still good, someone else could use it." Again, eye roll people. That is part of what got my closet into such a mess! Other people giving me their old outdated stuff in the hopes that I could use it. How many Bronze 607 foundations does a white girl with no black customers need? (I would love to have black customers by the way, I just happen to live in a very white/Asian community.)

Some of the process was agonizing, but most was liberating! So on to more pictures.

A bunch of garbage and recycling:

I found this holiday gift from a couple of years ago. I sold the product but still had some cocoa in it. Do you know how many times I have wanted hot cocoa, but we didn't "have any"?

I took a break, and drank the cocoa.

Here is my finished closet. I did keep some stuff, since I do still have customers who need product. You many not be impressed, but I can walk in there!

Here is a detail of all my product:

And my lipsticks:

Now one of the best parts is that I moved a bunch of product back in here, gave my husband back his cooler and was able to use my display case in my front room for my childhood Barbie collection. Pictures of that to come...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Month 1: Evaluate Spending

Well the challenge I think is going to be a little retroactive. Since it's still early in the month I am going to put the start date as September 1st.

September's unique challenge of the month is simply this: Evaluate Spending. I will keep a detailed list of everything I buy. Food will just be considered food, but eating out will not. So here we go! Let's find out where my money goes!