Tag Archives: decluttering

July is here already!

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It’s the Fourth of July! Celebrations are going on in the U.S. but
where I live (in a tropical paradise), nothing seems to be going
on in quite the same scale as the celebrations of years past.

I feel a bit odd that one entire month (June) went by and I didn’t
post a single entry. It is not that I don’t write every single day,
because I do, it just hasn’t been the kind of writing that I feel
comfortable sharing. Not sure what that’s about.

My husband was away for almost the entire month of June. He
returned quite exhausted and seems to have caught a bug, maybe
on the airplane? I feel bad for him but in a way, perhaps it is best
to let him rest while I catch up on some of the writing that I have
put on the side so I could devote myself to doing the chores that
keep our household running and that he is usually responsible for.
A few more days won’t make any difference, the poor guy has a lot
of things on his mind.

So July! I have continued to have slow progress with my Weight
Watchers plan and I am confident that by the end of this year, I
will have lost most of the weight I have set myself a goal for. It
would be wonderful to begin 2019 (which feels like it is just around
the corner!) in some new clothes…

I have done some serious decluttering in June. I actually got rid of
a good amount of clothing and knickknacks that were not bringing
me any joy. It is amazing how light one feels after disposing of items
that no longer fit one’s life. I finally accepted that I was keeping things
for the wrong reasons. For example, a friend of mine gave my daughter
and me earrings that were crafted by her then-boyfriend, a man I know
and whose behavior has impressed me, but not in a good way. I never
wore the earrings because they were too long for my short neck and my
daughter never wore hers because they were not in a style she liked. But
I felt I needed to keep them because my friend might be hurt if I found
another home for them.

A few months after the earrings were given to us, my friend’s relationship
ended. The artist boyfriend began a new relationship and a year later, that
one also ended. Every morning, I saw the earrings. I moved them from one
side of the dresser to another.  I began to question why I still had them.
One serendipitous night as I was watching Youtube, I ended up catching a
video on Marie Kondo, the decluttering consultant…she has a very unique
way of approaching decluttering. You have to gather all the items you own
wherever you are working. You hold each item in your hand until they either
spark “joy” or not. If they still give you joy, that is your permission to keep
them; otherwise, it is best to find a new home for them.

I held each pair in my hands. Waited for the “joy” that never came. I made
two beautiful packages for these lovely items and then placed them with
other “treasures” I was giving away to the local Animal Shelter for their
fundraising campaign. It felt so good to send the earrings to a place that
I know will find someone they can bring joy to.

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A fuzzy brain

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A few years ago, suffering from constant clutter, I came across
the Fly Lady, the woman who would change my life from CHAOS
to serene! Well, it was good while it lasted until I started to receive
so many emails per day from her that I had to release her. Email
clutter is just as bad as physical clutter. I found eventually that I
had subscribed to a lot of sites just because I didn’t want to have
nothing to read on a daily basis. Then I figured out that the
amount of time I was wasting on the computer was taking its toll
on my home and family (even though they didn’t realize it).

I can say that I made very good use of lots of the Fly Lady’s advice
and to this day (although it was a habit of mine already), my kitchen
sink (where it all begins) is shining (well, as much as possible since
the material it’s made from doesn’t really shine, but you get the point).

These days, I feel like I am having a constant battle with brain fog. You
know, you start doing an activity, or looking something up, or gathering
materials for a project and suddenly, you freeze because you can’t recall
exactly what you were going to do. I feel that maybe it is because I have
way too many things on my mind…not able to prioritize so that at the
end of each day I feel like I got nothing done.

Take today for an example: my cleaning lady is here. I find that her (very
much needed) presence is an intrusion. I love the fact that the house is
dusted and the floors are mopped and things look lovely but I dislike the
fact that I have to prepare for her arrival which cuts into the time that I
would ordinarily use to draft an essay or at least devote some time to it.
In the end, though, I know that it is really just an excuse, that in fact, I have
nothing thought out or outlined and perhaps for the very first time in my
life, I feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants. I have never been this way
but then again, I have never had the life I have today.

I find myself a little lost. Every day since my mother’s passing on January 1st
has reminded me of the temporary nature of things. Granted my mother lived
almost 89 years, an almost permanent presence in my life but I wonder now if
my brain fog is my way of grieving. Since I was expecting my mother to die, I
didn’t get hysterical in the moment. So many things needed to be done. I had
joined Weight Watchers just a month before and I was so determined to lose
the weight this time, that except for one night where I had an excessive
amount of Johnny Walker Black label Whiskey (and no hangover!), I did not
grieve by eating myself through it. I know she would be proud of me for not
overeating.

I think of my mother every single day,  I guess I always did; she was an6
incredibly strong influence in my life; of both what to do and what NOT
to do when faced with life’s adversities. I was always very proud of her
and I hope she knew it because I don’t remember every saying it to her in
quite that way.

So Weight Watchers has been pretty good to me. I find that I can “connect”
with others who, like me, struggle to get back to a good weight and know
that it will be a lifetime commitment. My husband and I celebrated our
anniversary yesterday. Our daughter posted a picture of us taken one year
ago, and although we both look very happy, it is obvious we are both in the
category of “American overweight couples”! It isn’t funny and while I have
lost about 20 lbs. since the picture was taken, I feel a bit embarrassed that I
allowed the weight to creep up like that. But onward…getting menus for the
week done is a good way to clear up some of that brain fog today. I think I
will get to it.

 

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Community

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One of the reasons I think I will be successful with this weight-loss attempt is that
I have signed up and in to the online community and perused the many successful
and not so successful stories there. I uploaded my picture which is something I have
not wanted to do in the past. A few minutes ago, my daughter showed me a family
picture that goes back almost 4 years and I can see the difference between then and
now. Like I told her, I was fat there already but now I long to go back and fit into the
blouse I was wearing.

Earlier this year, when I was going through one of those periods of de-cluttering, I saw
that pretty fitted blouse and decided it was just taking up room in my closet and it was
pointless to keep it so I packed it up and (along with many other cute things) gave it
to one of my cousins who has lots of relatives and friends who could use it. I am a little
sad now, it was a lovely peach color that flattered my complexion and the style was very
unique. I am sure that my reasoning went something like this: Well, it’s never going to fit
me again, it’s taking up room, if I ever get down to that weight again, I can always go out
and buy a new one…I know you can identify with this if you are trying to keep from being
one of those people who has 3 different sizes in their closet. For the longest time, I was
always sure that from one year to the next, my size would be the same so I had a lot of
clothes. I still have way too many clothes (I love clothes at all sizes) but now it takes me
a long time before I’m ready each morning because I have to try and discard.

I feel good today. I went to bed a little bit hungry and I think it’s because I have not been
eating enough protein. I will be more diligent in the future because the worst thing that could
happen is for me to get sick when I’m trying to stay healthy. I will confess that one of the issues
that concern me is that I have never had to lose this much weight before and I don’t know what
I can do to go slowly and steadily and not have extra sagging skin everywhere. I will invest time
reading about firming up and toning up my body. I know this seems superficial (well, it is super-
ficial) but after seeing before and after pictures of some of the brave souls on WW who post them,
it is not a small thing to me.

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Being present

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Being in the moment is something that is a bit difficult for me to accomplish since my tendency towards being scattered is ever present. Yesterday and today have been good changes from the normal in terms of my being able to focus on the activity or task at hand. I am not sure why it is happening but rather than question it, I will strive to make it a new, good habit.

Yesterday was laundry day, most Mondays are. In between laundry though, I thought I would begin the overwhelming task of looking in our garage to determine what bag or box I should tackle first. I should back up and explain that we have been ’empty-nesters’ for almost three full years and yet many of our rooms still house the toys, the clothes, the posters, etc. that our three children have left behind…they are all over the age of 20 now and so is much of their stuff. I suppose if I were meaner, I would call myself a hoarder…but I won’t, what’s the point? Gentle is my code word these days.

So, back to the laundry. I decided I would just pick one bag, it was a really large and heavy bag which I asked our gardener to bring to the laundry room for me. In the laundry room, I carefully opened it since years of being on the garage shelf might render anything possible! Instead I was presented with dozens of jeans (circa my sons at age 10!), socks, pajamas, t-shirts, etc. I inspected everything and made two piles: one for the garbage, another to be laundered and packed up for charity.

I asked my gardener to take the discarded stuff to the garbage and he peered inside the bag and asked if he could take it to his home and see if there was anything that could be used by them…of course, I agreed and decided that as long as it was no longer cluttering my home, all was well. Today, as I finish the folding of the last load of usable clothing, I feel tremendously light and happy that I was able to concentrate on this one task (which took more than 4 hours) without giving up, getting upset, beating myself up, or eating from the stress. Two good days!

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