Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Obsessive (too much) Crap Disorder

Here is what I really need to know.
Is it actually possible (and by possible, I mean, to do this without actually having my house taken away by a tornado, or burning down) to go from having too much stuff, to a clutter-free, well organized, no risk of "stuff re-accumulation", home?
I'm telling you...I have been trying to do this for years.
I would not put myself in the "hoarder" category, by any means.

I would go, rather, into a "sees pretty things, and really thinks she just has to have them" category.
And, perhaps the "has a bit of a furniture addiction" category.
And we are all aware of the "is drawn to lovely office supplies" category.
Not to mention the "can't keep her hands off of books and magazines" issue.
Oh...and then there is the "don't even mention the word 'shoes' when she is around" thing.

Oh yeah...kind of have a bit of a "each chair must have a minimum of two feather filled, pretty pillows, and at least one very soft and fluffy throw."
Okay.  Maybe I do have a problem.
I occasionally have selective OCD...which typically occurs after I have spent a good amount of time cleaning.  I get completely manic about things staying perfect.  And I'm not kidding about the manic.  If I decide to finally sit down and relax, it is not uncommon for me to jump up a good 8-10 times because the magazines aren't perfectly piled, or the fringe on the rug looks bunched in one spot, or the angle of a picture isn't quite right.
It's ridiculous.

After a few days, however, I revert back to the typical Miss Mess personality, mostly because I was sick of trying to keep up with the three tornados that I live with.  Yes, I have failed as a parent.  If only I had convinced my kids at an early age that cleaning was fun.  Or necessary.

But...back to my original question.
Will I ever live in a clutter-free zone?
If you recall...I have been reading "the life-changing magic of tidying-up."
The author has been obsessed with organization since she was a little kid.
She literally would come home from school, and work on "tidying" each room of their house.  (Including her siblings rooms.) Why didn't she live with me??
Anyway, she couldn't figure out why, when she would spend hours organizing and cleaning, things would soon be a mess again.
(Hey...welcome to my world!)
She came to the conclusion that "tidying a little each day will result in tidying forever."
Well....I can't say that I work at it each day, but yes, I do agree with the fact that even though I spend hours on always goes back to an overflowing mess eventually.
Her theory is: "If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind set."

I can see how that might work...but how on earth do you do that?!
A few chapters in, she finally mentioned that this "one shot" typically takes about 6 months to complete.
Thank God....because I was trying to figure out how the heck I was supposed to tackle this whole house in one day!
I could spend an entire day just on my desk, trying to decide what to throw and what to keep!

She also says that you need to sort by category, not by room.
For instance: Clothes.  
Find a spot in your house (a big one) and take every piece of clothing you have (search every room, to make sure you haven't missed any) and pile it in that spot.
Then, you go piece by piece, and decide "does this spark joy in me?"
Yes?  Keep pile.
No? Discard/Donate.
If you have too many clothes, work in subcategories, (tops, bottoms, socks, etc.)
She says gathering all of your stuff into one place is eye opening, as far as the sheer volume of things you own. (I can't even imagine what my pile would look like.)
She also says things stored out of sight lie dormant, and it's much harder to determine if they "inspire joy" or not.
Once you "bring them out into the light" the process is much easier.
And the kicker...anything you come across after the purging takes place is automatically discarded/donated.
Good motivation to find everything the first time around.
The whole process sounds rather daunting...but I can see where it would be almost a "cleansing ritual" and a good way to really clear things out.

My biggest issue tends to be two things:
I always have a hard time determining what documents I need to hold on to, and what I should throw.  Many are financial/insurance/etc. so I tend to hold on to those.  Then, there are the sentimental items. (I have gotten better at purging things from the past.) Then, I have binders and folders with ideas and articles I have ripped out of magazines....that may or may not every be looked at again.
And of course, my ridiculous pile of music.
But I think my biggest frustration is food storage.
I see pictures of people's kitchens where the counters are clear.
There is maybe a coffee maker, and a couple of other items, but otherwise, they boast tons of workspace, and no clutter.
Mine, on the other hand, look like a grocery store just threw up on them.
We have a pantry....but it's back in the mudroom...which is not even near the kitchen.  We store the non-parishables in there, which is handy..but if we stored items like bread or bananas, etc...they would rot before we even remembered they were back there.
We have pretty ample cupboard space...but most are filled with dishes and pots/pans.  We keep our baking supplies, spices, everyday fare like peanut butter, oils, syrup, etc. in there also...but it never fails that we have a counter filled with bread, english muffins, granola bars, fruit and veggies (onions/potatoes, etc)
Am I the only one who has this problem?
I have tried re-organizing...but have yet to come up with a workable system.
I suppose we could quit buying food that doesn't fit in the cupboards?
(My waistline would probably benefit from this!)
All I want is a nice, fresh, clean this:

And then, there is my reality.

( really doesn't have to look this bad.  But...this is what it looks like right now!)

I think the only answer is to steal another one of Lexie's chocolate covered strawberries, and start planning the big purge.
I know it won't be hard to determine if a strawberry "sparks joy."
5 of those would "spark even more joy."

Considering I only have 90 minutes before that darn counter may be the only thing I actually accomplish today. :-/
Ugh...these damn baby steps.

Happy Hump Day!

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