More Time

One incredible side effect of having less stuff is the time that I seem to be regaining.

It was very subtle at first, but now I am really recognizing the results of these decluttering efforts. It takes less time to put laundry away with less laundry to be washed and stored, there are less piles and trinkets to shift and clean when company is coming.

There is a small hazard though... I recognized this change when I realized I seemed to be spending more and more time watching the TV and searching interesting items on the internet, but the house is not any messier. More time spent, but not less time cleaning?

My newly reclaimed seconds/minutes were being stealthily absorbed by recreation!

Not entirely bad, but not in-line with my fundamental goals for simplifying. My goals are to have a cleaner home and more time for the family... not more time with electronic screens!

I won't share how much time I've been spending wasting in gawking at glowing boxes, but it's a lot longer than is probably healthy.

(Disclaimer: I'm not talking about work time at the computer, I'm talking pure self-indulgence)

Now that I am AWARE of this bonus time, I will be making a conscience effort to keep it for things that I value: home harmony and nurturing relationships.


Open Season

Spring is coming!

A time for rebirth, renewal and new life. A thaw that inspires action after the long, cold months.

I may be jumping the gun a little here, but I feel ready to declare open season - on winter clutter.

All those bits and bobs that accumulated over halloween, thanksgiving, Christmas, new year's, Valentine's day and many birthdays hosted over the dark months. I am officially giving them their notice!

It won't be hard... when coming across an outdated/themed item that doesn't belong, a quick pick-up and decision can be made. Since there is now an ever-present "DONATE" box in the hall closet and easy access to a the trash can for worthless stuff, there is no excuse to politely ignore any item's existence.

How many winter items have been outgrown or worn out (I can think of a ruined sled and ripped mittens off the top of my head)? How many handy gifted gadgets (given with the best of intentions) aren't living up to their promises of convenience? Likewise, how many pretty presents are just not your cuppa tea?  If you still have them hanging around out of obligation, maybe a full turn of the season is enough to show the thought was appreciated? What winter clothes did you not choose to wear this season? Don't fit or simply not favourites. LET GO.

I will try to remember to take photos as I go...


One Step More

With every step I get closer to my goals

I loaded 2 more boxes into the trunk for the charity shop yesterday: an ugly sweater and some bulky kitchen items that I no longer use.

Also, a small bag of non-perishable foods for the food bank of gift "gourmet" foods that aren't to our family's taste.... too many man-made unpronounceable ingredients for us. I feel slightly guilty about donating those items because I don't think they ever should have been made in the first place. But hopefully, someone will actually want them and be thankful for something different in the food hamper?

There is a bag of semi-valuable items set aside for my dear, charitable re-seller friend (she takes items and sells them online to raise funds for the education of a poor family she knows in Tibet - a wonderful cause that I love being able to contribute to in some small part).

And there is the pile of games/puzzles I have set aside for a neighbour friend with young kids.

One more area of success.... cleaning supplies. I went into all the areas where they hide and figured out which ones were in the wrong spot for the job they are supposed to do. This is a category where the "use it up challenge" is ongoing. Once I have used up most of these chemical supplies, I will not be replacing them. Vinegar, Baking Soda, Lemon and other simple ingredients do a good job when you know how to use them... there are loads of tips online to help me transition!

Always more work to be done... but with every item I release, I find that much more room to breathe, that is my motivation to keep at it.


A fresh year

I had a birthday yesterday. And I feel good about it.

Sure I have been sick for half of 2014 so far (2nd round of antibiotics now) but the end of the cough is within sight. The weather is crazy around here (surprise snowfall time and time again in a place that rarely gets snow) it's certainly not BORING.

But now I am 42 and "42 is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything" (according to Douglas Adams)! What an awesome excuse to have a terrific year!

What is the plan?

Be accountable.

I truly believe a lot of society's problems these days stem from people not taking accountability for their own outcomes. I have fallen into complacency, letting things happen TO me instead of making things happen FOR me. A big no-no in my books.

Two easy questions to ask:

Are my actions in line with my values?
Are the steps I take leading towards my goals?

If the answer is "no" at any point, do a course correction before it gets too late. The trick is to ask the key questions at the right points! BEFORE the chocolate bar,  BEFORE the hours are wasted at TV, BEFORE thrift shopping, BEFORE tempers are lost.... you get the idea.

I know the right things to do. I just have been lazy, really lazy.
NO MORE! 42 is the magic number for me!