Tiny changes make a difference

Are you clearing your clutter along with me? If you are, you may feel that little sense of accomplishment and exhilaration I feel as I see some of these messes whittling away, bit by bit.

Now, it’s true, I could choose to feel like I’ll never get there, given how long it takes me to do a single, not-too-messy pile of junk. Take the corner of the kitchen side board that I started yesterday.

Here’s how it looked when I started, remember?

The mess on my kitchen side board January 5, 2015

The mess on my kitchen side board January 5, 2015

Here’s how it looked this morning, just before I set the timer for my next 15 minute stint.

My partially cleared kitchen side board before setting the timer January 6, 2015

My partially cleared kitchen side board before setting the timer January 6, 2015

Easy pickings first

The basket intimidates me, so I started with the books and papers stacked to the side. There I found a children’s book with a CD, along with a Tai Chi instruction book and its CD.

They’re in the kitchen because that’s where our only CD player lives. It’s a tuner/player combo. I listen to NPR and classical music when I cook. Sometimes I listen to rock and roll from the 60s and 70s, or to country. Elvis, Santana and Bonnie Raitt all get my cleaning jive moving pretty good.

Tai Chi stays. I put it in the basket where I can get to it every day when I’m ready for another lesson.

The CD with the children’s book was disappointing. We don’t play it much, so I put the book and its CD in the kiddie library we keep for the grandkids.

My goodness, I found medical documents in this pile! And appliance guarantees and my long-missing Kitchen Aid mixer manual. Hooray!

Most of the stuff went right into the recycle bin. Some I carried to the file cabinet and filed immediately.

With time left, I tackled the basket.

Right off the bat, I pulled out various kitchen papers I want to keep on hand so I can refer to them when I need. There’s the gas safety brochure I grab when I think I smell gas in the kitchen–once or twice a year. Always turns out to be the fumes from an idling truck below the kitchen windows, thank goodness, but the brochure reminds us what to watch out for.

Then there’s the instructions for sprouting different types of seeds in a canning jar. I refer to it when I try new seeds.

I made a file folder for the small kitchen papers I want to keep handy

I made a file folder for the small kitchen papers I want to keep handy

A pocket file folder would be perfect for keeping these bits handy. I’ve stashed this hanging folder on the far edge of the cookbooks, but I’ll replace it soon with a pocket folder from the office supply store.

Digging deeper into the basket, I found several wine corks, and other items we likely tossed into the container when we were doing a quick pick-up. What’s this broken handle doing here? It came off an old camping sauce pan ages ago. Did I think I might get someone to weld it back on? The rest of the pan is long gone.

Most of this junk can be recycled, but boy am I glad to see the super glue!

Most of this junk can be recycled, but boy am I glad to see the super glue!

The timer goes off and I take a picture of what I haven’t put away, recycled or discarded yet, so you can see it, then I dispose of those pieces properly and set the still unfinished basket back on the side board. Yippee! I can finish this job tomorrow with time left over.

With the junk to the right of the basket gone, I now have room to set my smallest canister next to the others.

With the junk to the right of the basket gone, I now have room to set my smallest canister next to the others.

Don’t let the clutter bug get you down!

Here’s where I could feel a little discouraged, right? Three days to clean up one little corner, and the last one still to come, but hey! Now, when I want to get to my oatmeal in the back of the cupboard above, it’s so easy to take out the container blocking the oatmeal and set it on the side board without risking an accident.

It's so easy  now to pull the bulgar wheat jar down to the side board so I can get to the oatmeal without juggling two unwieldy containers

It’s so easy now to pull the Bulgar wheat jar down to the side board so I can get to the oatmeal without juggling two unwieldy containers

Several times a day, I use items from these shelves. Clearing this space means I save time–and no longer need feel irritation at the mess and inconvenience–every time I shop, cook and bake. What a relief!

Take joy in small victories

Okay. I know. It doesn’t take much to make this old granny happy. But boy, does that make me happy. The side board looks so nice now, doesn’t it? And functional.

Tidy side board, with canisters all in a row and space to set things temporarily when I'm working in the kitchen

Tidy side board, with canisters all in a row and space to set things temporarily when I’m working in the kitchen

How are you doing with your clutter clearing project? Feeling energized? Discouraged? It’s easy to give in to feelings of overwhelm. Ignore everything that isn’t a safety issue and keep tackling the mess, one fifteen minute session at a time.

You’ll get there. So will I. We can do this.

Whatever you’re experiencing, won’t you share it here? We can support one another and gain strength in numbers, yes?

 

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3 thoughts on “Tiny changes make a difference

  1. I did so well the first couple days of the year…but then again I actually got to stay home 2 full days in a row. Seems I am just out too much, then I can ‘t get motivated. We need a HUGE snowstorm that will close down businesses and cancel functions so I can stay home—and not feel guilty since the things were cancelled.

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    • Too funny! But I know what you mean. One way to deal with cabin fever when you’re housebound is to stay busy with long-neglected projects, and clearing clutter feels so good!

      Until that snow storm comes, and I understand in many parts of the country, it’s already here, can you set a timer for just fifteen minutes and put away, recycle, or trash a few pieces? Remember how good you felt after you de-cluttered those two kitchen cabinets? You can feel like that every day, as you see a pile whittling away.

      Thanks for checking in again. Much appreciated!

      Like

  2. Pingback: Hit the adapt button and bump that obstacle out of your way | Clutterzapper

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