Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Of Smoothies and Mischief. . .

Hello there, World! It's just me. Yes, I am certain that I'm going to regret getting up this early...  I actually realized the house was hot, I was thirsty, and I just wasn't as sleepy as I thought about 3:30 this morning. So a few videos on YouTube later, I'm here to report a few major stepping stones of progress in my ever-advancing war on clutter. I know most of you have never seen as much sheer volume of stuff, ah treasures, as my mother, father, and I have collected. I have struggled for years with the aching desire to have order vs. the hoarding love of all that was ever "oooh shiny" to any one of the three of us.

This house is a split level only in the sense that the room I used to sleep in was down four steps. I loved the idea of a little flat of my own down there, but with my joints and creaks I was not loving all the trips up and down the four steps to EVERYTHING else.  The restroom was even upstairs. So after Christmas when my mother seemed to need me more than before I bought myself a little daybed and fixed it up in the western window up here in the dining room. Yeah, the window to the world where I take ALL those pictures. I love the starlight and moonlight streaming in the window, and I have spent literally hours just gazing out at the natural world through the nights when there was lightning, snow, full moons, wind, squirrels, ... you get the picture.

Well, the inspiration hit me to move my clothes up to a JUNK closet in the laundry room/pantry which is a great little catch-all room adjacent to the dining room and my bed. I thought it would be perfect since I do a great deal of my work from a rolling chair due to bad knees, back spasms, and all the joys rheumatoid arthritis has brought to my life. I could do my laundry, fold and put away all on one level! No more toting big laundry baskets up to the washer and drier, down to the closet, up to the bathroom to take showers... down---  you got it.

In a home full of clutter, there is NEVER an easy solution. It's kind of like buying and selling property. Something has to be cleaned out. That stuff has to go somewhere. The place it's going has to be cleaned out. That stuff has to go somewhere. It's a maddening, crazy-making game of shuffling and just frustration beyond all hopes.

It takes a plan. Yes, something I used to have plenty of but had forgotten how to do! I bought the best little book, downloaded it on my Kindle, and read far into the nights about the life-changing magic of tidying up. I've read tons of organizing books. It's what I do: read, not actually accomplish...  This book is worth the money. It's radical. It's a little off the comfort level. I cannot in all honesty do exactly as she suggests with the limits of my abilities and ummm "Not even being in my own home." But I definitely gleaned some beyond awesome nuggets. She cleans for a living. Organizes as a passion and career. And, joy of joys, she recommends doing it the way I always have had good luck--- basically dumping your whole house and starting over. Many times my dear mother would send me as a child to my room to clean, and later she would tiptoe in to check my progress. The screams and moans would then explode from her mouth...  I'd taken the liberty of dumping everything from every drawer, every shelf, every hanger of clothing from my closet. Then I was cleaning, reorganizing, shuffling, grouping...  basically taking four days to do what to her was a thirty minute job.

So, rambling aside, I've been digging my way through a panty, a deep hole of a pantry on the back porch. In it I'm going to store all kinds of magical kitchen tools--- whirring blenders, deep fryers, panini maker, Bread machine.  Ugh...  Too many. So some will bite the dust and be donated or trashed, depending on their condition. If I normally cook a different way, I will not be latching onto something sinister and space consuming. However, that being said, I know the fun of having the right tools. Now they will be in the right place, a cabinet just off the kitchen. Side note: I'm in love with the trash man. I don't know his name, but if he takes this pile of garbage bags today, I'm officially smitten.

So... I will put my clothes in the closet the files and gadgets came from. Mom and I did a marathon cleaning/tossing of four huge, packed beyond belief file cabinet drawers. I kept all kinds of marvelous things, which I'll be sharing in a few future posts. I tossed SEVEN kitchen trash bags of old insurance policies, Medicare updates, manuals to repair long departed toasters, Income Tax files back to Ben Franklin (or whoever created that crazy practice.) Voila!  I now have four drawers of a very old file cabinet in my new clothes closet. I decided to commandeer said cabinet for my t-shirts and sweaters. Marie Kondo, the author of that amazing book, advised to fold clothing as each piece asked to be folded????... in neat little packages.  I have done so. Then she suggested storing them on end front to back in a drawer. And I did. Wow. I had to line the bottom of the cabinet with something, so I chose lovely shiny gift bags so the sweaters would slide and still be protected. I'm loving it. I resisted the urge to color code, etc. I'm kind of obsessive about things, and there's a limit to the amount of time one project can take! Here the drawers are...  Yes, that's a wool dryer ball on the floor. The room's a wreck!

Next on my list will be to clean that closet downstairs and stash candles, decorator items and seasonal things that don't really belong in Rubbermaid totes. Mom is an ordered person, and she has no idea the extent of the balancing/cramming act I've been doing to keep the ships afloat. Here is a shameful picture of a little spot of "heaven" I'm cleaning out and taking downstairs/ to the pantry in back porch/ to the dump... whatever it calls me to do.

Eventually, I hope to chat Mom up into a total redo of this end of the house with the dining room becoming my total bedroom and the living room becoming a Great Room with dining in one end. However, Baby Steps are required on that sort of thing. I'm all about rearranging and changing it up. She's a dyed in the wool "Keep Everything as it Always Has Been" person. How and why is that funny?

I've also embarked on a health journey to lose some of this weight. I hesitate to reveal that because I've failed before. But it's something that needs to be done. I've started a protein enhancement, vitamin addition to my daily round. I can truly tell the difference already in the amount of pain and inflammation reduction I feel from no sugar and no Diet Coke, weep and wail. It's a long journey, but the Xyngular vanilla protein smoothies and delicious antioxidant juices I'm drinking are liquid Tylenol and Advil to my spirit and body. It's been YEARS since I gave a damn about myself and my health, to be honest. This is a big wonderful step.

I hear the birds chirping outside my window, and I realize it is four minutes until I give my son a little wake-up call. Soon Mama will be up for a little breakfast, a little laundry, and the day will begin. If you popped in here, you'd see quite a huge mess, but one happy little messy camper. But I'd offer you a lovely cup of tea... and a vanilla protein smoothie?

Have a lovely week.

Whimsy and Hugs!


Miss Merry said...

What an inspirational post! I am my family treasure keeper - the curator as I call it - of generations of boxes cleared every time a house is closed. You try to sort, but the process is overwhelming. I have a shelf of clutter and estate books trying to inspire me. I am a "pile it in the middle and start over" person myself. I am going to the library for this book today! I am so jealous of the thought of those garbage bags. We took a truckload to Goodwill about 2 weeks ago and I don't see a difference.

Glad to hear you are working on you, too! Good luck, I know what a struggle it is.

I really feel like we are so similar! I want you to know this post really has meaning for me :) - have a great day and solider on!

Tessa~ Here there be musing said...

I finally got this book (from library), which everyone was raving about!!!

She is Japanese. Therefore she was born with a "Neatness Gene"! Do you know in what cramped quarters, they live, in Japan??? I know, because my granddaughter is living there, and has done so, before.

So I kind of smiled at sweet little Marie's lovely ideas. How could she have ever come across, the huge amount of "stuff", which our big American homes, can store????

How in the world could you dump everything, in your mother's house, in one day..... And separate it????

OK! Now I will return to your post, and read the rest of it. ,-) Yeah, I am so full of chatter, that I have to do comments, by bits and pieces. -grinnnnnnnnn-

Tessa~ Here there be musing said...

Smitten with the trash man! Purrrrrfect way to begin!!!! Yesssss!!!!

Working on your Healthy! This is just as important as getting rid of "stuff". More so, even!!!!!!!

Desert Rose dishes. Used to have them, and got rid of them... Before I knew they are valuable. -grin-

You keep at it! You keep up all the good work! And even if the getting-rid-of-stuff part, flags a bit, and needs a tiny rest.... Please don't flag on the Health part!!!

Please! Let's both be strong, about trying to help our own health!!!!!!! Yesssssss!!!!

Hugs, hugs, hugs, hugs, hugs,

Heaven's Walk said...

You are so inspiring, Gayla! You have started a job I desperately need to do in my basement. Everytime I walk down there to do laundry, I find myself cringing at all the "stuff" lining the shelves. I need to declutter, throw away, donate, sell sooo much! Thanks for giving me the incentive to do baby step at a time! lol And then I'll treat myself to a nice, long bath with some YL lavender oil..... :)

xoxo laurie

Anonymous said...

I love this, too, and all your posts, Gayla. I'm so happy for you - being very productive and working on your health - both things I should do, too. I've heard of the same "tidying up" book from a friend, and while I'm a little afraid of it, I want to read it as well. Hugs, Ellen F.