Monday, 15 August 2011

Four weeks to more space: Day 1 -- Kickoff

It's been another month, and I'm getting geared up again.

I just spent a week visiting my father, which always makes me want to de-clutter! He's not a hoarder -- far from it -- but he's got more stuff than places to put it, and may be somewhat overwhelmed by it all. That's my story anyway, and I'll just project it onto him (sorry Dad!).

My father has been through so much in the last few years. After a brief happy retirement, my parents' focus suddenly became my mother's valiant battle with cancer. Sadly, it was not a fight she could win. I can only imagine what my father has been through. He wants to create more space in his home now, but how hard it must be to review things acquired during their life together, alone.

We came home from my father's on Saturday night and I actually managed to unpack and wash and fold (or rather my dear husband folded) all of our baggage the very next day. That's a first for me. I am usually more the throw-the-dirty-clothes-in-the-basement-and-trip-over-the-half-empty-suitcase-for-a-week kind of traveller. But now that I'm home, and our summer vacations are over, I am just itching to get at our clutter.

I've felt pretty bad about the incredibly slow pace of my de-cluttering project. My ability to procrastinate something I've wanted to do for years has been eye-opening. I tend to do a flurry of clutter-busting just before I won't be able to do any for a while -- working to the deadline.

Several times I've questioned clutter-busting as a priority. I've felt guilty de-cluttering as opposed to, say, parenting. There are so many valuable things I could be doing with my time. That thought alone is often overwhelming.

But I want to do this, and the rewards will be huge. I remind myself that a clutter-busted home will mean more space, more time, more productivity, more peace, and therefore more happiness for our whole family.

Already there have been rewards...  My three-year-old loves the way we organized his (edited) toys into bins. He was so happy to be home yesterday and played with almost all of his toys, one bin at a time. My husband's relieved to be able to store Tupperware and pans without the use of force or puzzle-solving. Our serene guest room continues to draw friends and family.

Personally, I want my very own workspace -- as opposed to piles of books, boxes of papers, and a filing cabinet hidden behind a maze of clutter in the basement.

So, I've decided to give myself four weeks to de-clutter our house.

I started this project months ago, and I've had some successes, but my work so far has been the tiniest tip of the iceberg. Now I'm going to tackle the rest of it in a fraction of the time. Can I do it? Yes, I can!

Unfortunately these will be the last four weeks of summer, so not the best time to hunker down in the basement, but there's no time like the present. And frankly, I love autumn, so there's incentive there too -- in four short(!) weeks I'll be able to do outside projects in beautiful late September. And when winter comes, our home will be that much more of a haven.

I got started today by adding a box of clutter to the trash at the curb, just before the garbage truck rolled up.

Wish me luck...

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