Life and Pets

Always looks worse before it looks better …

That’s what Myrtle always used to say about zealous house cleaning or revamping. While Gary is away for a short time, I am back into fall cleaning and de-cluttering.

Let me be clear, Gary is the tidiest person and not inclined to collect anything meaningless or not regularly used. But while he’s away, I feel less inhibited while I empty out cabinets and corners, leaving every last surface covered with my stuff to sort and clean and sell, or at least organize. It’s a sort of voyage of discovery, sometimes exhilarating or liberating.

I use my own version of “criteria”. Some people get rid of things they haven’t used for six months or a year. That is just too brutal for me. If I haven’t used something or even thought of an item for ten years or so, it might be possible to sell it, give it away, or even *gasp* discard it. At times, I can’t remember where I got something from, not often.

I’ve probably made mistakes and I’m afraid of making them. What if I need something next week or in ten years? There lies another criterium: how easy is it to replace the thing?

As I work, I play dance or workout music, or have the new Amazon Echo read to me. Actually, the book I’m listening to is narrated by the author. Anyone who doesn’t like the idea of an audio book should just try to accomplish all I’ve done today while reading! Nothing wrong with sitting and reading either, of course, but I hadn’t been doing enough reading. The next audio book I’ll listen to is, ‘the life-changing magic of tidying up’. How liberating that might be!

For now, Cinder is asleep on my lap, so I must be still. I’m listening to Chapter 46 of the Ann Rule book, “Green River, Running Red”. Considering that I just drove through the area near which many of the murders occurred is interesting, though the Green River Killer killed during the early eighties. I am also vaguely familiar with some of that part of Washington because I used to have relatives around there. It adds a keener visualization as I listen.


Okay, once again I didn’t get the post finished before I was asleep at the switch here.

After chores and then breakfast “on the town” this morning, I tackled this business of cleaning up/decluttering/downsizing again.

Although I have put a lot of effort into this, progress is relatively slow. I have enough stuff that I could have had a yard sale, but instead, I’m peddling small items for nickels and dimes. It is difficult to get even a few dollars in Facebook Buy and Sell Pages for crystal glasses and silver plate service ware. Clothing and books are even more tedious to “market”.

The other exhausting aspect is that I either need to deliver items or people need to come here to pick up. I also have boxes for the thrift store, the second hand book store, and the swap shed. I’m tired. And within the same five minutes, I think, “I can’t wait to get this crap out of the house!” or, “Oh how am I able to part with these things?”

The methodology in the book mentioned above is different from the usual, at least what is my usual. Whereas I usually “…start in any corner”, as the lovely late mother of dear friends would suggest, the author of that book promotes “categorizing”. This means that instead of starting with one cupboard or drawer of miscellaneous contents, you go around the home pulling out all of the dishes, for example, from every corner of every room. These items are set out on floors or tables and you pick up and hold each thing and decide if it sparks joy in you.

I’m still working on this, with some success, but it is difficult to work in manageable bites. I tackled the largest bookshelf in the house today, but if I had pulled all of the books from all shelves in every room, I would indeed be overwhelmed. So I guess I am devising my own methods. And even if I put three quarters of the books back onto the shelves, at least everything is clean and organized (behind the bookshelf was shocking!).

Thanks for reading my blog; I rarely feel lonely when I know that you are there, checking on me. I hope that you also are doing alright.

Love, Ann


4 thoughts on “Always looks worse before it looks better …

  1. As I walked along with you on your journey of decluttering and cleaning out, I wondered in which category did I belong as a declutterer. Do I try to categorize, or do I toss everything of a certain age, or is there another method to follow? Here’s what I deduced. My method of getting rid of stuff is to do it on an ongoing basis. If I get in the mood to clean out a closet, I take time at once to do it and in an hour or two I’m finished. I’ve tossed a thing or two, but mostly I’ve straightened and organized the closet’s contents. As long as it looks neat and tidy I’m happy! That may be simplifying the process, but it works for me. I never feel like the house has become so full of unneeded and unwanted stuff that I have no open space to enjoy living there.

    You must let your readers know your thoughts on reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It sounds quite interesting . . .

  2. Shay, I believe that adopting an on-going process of decluttering is the best. Prevention of a situation that feels overwhelming is far better than trying to find the time, inspiration and strength to solve a big problem.
    I have derived inspiration from the audio book and Gary is encouraging me from afar.

  3. I’m with Myrtle on starting in one corner, and then expanding out. I understand the concept of pulling by categories – but that would require shifting so much from points around the house to a central cluster bomb (thinking of clothing here) that I’d sit on the floor and cry.

    Getting rid of anything is difficult for me – but making trips to the thrift store to deposit said clothing makes me feel lighter. Crystal and silver… You know, I don’t think anyone uses them any more. Remember having “good” china?

    I’m glad the audio books are helping!

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