Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom – Pockets of Clutter

Cindy

Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom

As if for the first time, last week I noticed that there is a large bulletin board partially tucked between the wall and my dresser. What’s it doing there? Well, I think it’s been for for two years, since we remodeled and it needed a new “temporary” home. That made me wonder what other pockets of cluttered I had squirrel away. For your edification and mine, I grabbed my camera and wandered the house. I found two more areas, and what makes these pockets special is that I had no idea they were there until I went looking for them.

The first pocket, as I said, was my bulletin board. It has greeting cards and photos on it, not things like memos from my daughters’ school or important reminders. I no longer have my own office area and the laundry room doesn’t have wall space, so I don’t know where to put it. Do I really need it? It does have favorite pictures and greeting cards, but really only two of them are truly, truly dear to me. One is a card from my husband of two cats and the inscription “I will love you my whole life, times nine” and the other is a homemade card from a friend who took my full name and wrote a compliment for each letter: C is for Confident, I is for Inquisitive, etc.  (Julia, I’ve had the card for 8 years now, and I still love it. Thank you.) I’m still coming up with a plan for this pocket of clutter.

The next is an area on the front porch. Two cans of stain, a unusable fire extinguisher, a sample of soapstone (remodel remnant again), a piece of wood, a couple of bricks, and a whole lot of leaves. What are they doing there? How did they get there? Again, I bet they’ve been there for at least a year. This morning the weather was fine, rather than the same temperature as the surface of the sun, as it has been for the past two months. I swept the porch and sidewalk and  put everything that was cluttering that corner in its proper place.

The last area was a small pile of photos, a little picture in a frame, and a newspaper clipping that had come to rest half tucked behind the music player on the counter. Except to recycle the newspaper clipping (free summer movies for the kids – didn’t see one and the summer is over), that pile is still there. It’s a random collection of photos, the sort that is the hardest to deal with because the photos are not one theme or event.

How did these pockets of clutter come to be, and why did they stick around for so long? The most recent pocket, the random photo pile, has been there for 3 or 4 months. The other two are probably several years old. In each case, the clutter was “out of sight, out of mind.” The porch clutter was in the far corner, the bulletin board is wedged by my dresser, and the photo pile was half hidden by the music player. If I hadn’t gone looking for them, when would I have noticed them? Next week? Next year? Never?

My challenge for you today is to look through your house in search of pockets of clutter. Like dust bunnies, they’re hiding in the corners or under the furniture. I’ll be curious to know what you find on your search.

Today’s Declutter Item

This is not a pocket of clutter I had overlooked, it is something that has been on my possible declutter list for some time. I store my hand towels under the kitchen sink where they are most handy to where they are used. There are too many to really store there but I have been cramming them all in anyway. I have decided to let this half of them go to the thrift shop because at their rate of wear it could be another ten years before any of them wear out. Someone can buy them secondhand now to save them from buying new and I will just replace mine later when they are too old and shabby to use.

Seven Hand Towels

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Leftover lemon meringue pie. I made it for my husband because it was Father’s Day in Australia on Sunday and it is one of his favourites. My son doesn’t eat it and my husband doesn’t eat sweets during the week. It is not something that can be frozen well so to save it from going to waste I am just going to have to finish it off myself. Life is good!

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ Don’t Over Buy (revisited) This post first appeared in September 2012. Since I am in the thick of plowing through the Lost and Found and checking the cleanliness of all the uniforms from the uniform exchange […]
  • Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ Count the Mintues Cindy's Weekly Wisdom Last week, I wrote a post praising the wonderful feeling of getting old to-dos done. As I suspected, I was not alone in 1) having pletny of old to-dos that needed […]

Comments

  1. I promise to check for hidden clutter, right after I dive into the Internet to get a piece of pie from Colleen…(reminder to me: do not read this when I’m hungry…). There’s nothing worse than decluttering on an empty stomach.

    🙂

  2. Ahhhha, Cindy, my mum has a saying (well she has many) Misery loves company. My take on it is’ Clutter loves company’ . My example of this is over my stair bannister, if i, or any member of my family place one thing over the bannister, as if by magic everyone has thrown their clothes over there too. You know the ones that have another wear left in them, ones that had been tried on an decided not to wear, no matter how hard i try this is always the case *sighs deeply* The other area that is problematic is my garage, outta sight outta mind…..If only!!

    Sharron x

    • You are so right Sharron. Give one thing permission to come to rest where it does not belong, and 14 other things will join it.

  3. Thanks for reminding me. I found several places I need to work on. Easy places to drop something in a hurry rather than put them away properly. They look okay because they are sort of out of the way, but they need to be taken care of.

    • You’re right Deb, they don’t really make themselves known because they are partially hidden. Sneaky clutter!

  4. I love 365 Less Things, but have never commented before. However, I couldn’t resist today! Cindy was full of wisdom when she said, ‘It is ironic that we have no qualms about wasting our money on all this stuff we probably didn’t need in the first place, but then when it comes to getting rid of it, we suddenly want to redeem ourselves.’ How TRUE this is, at least for me. I just recently suffered through 2 flea mkt sales to redeem myself for glasswares and such that I can’t seem to resist at the thrift store when I find a good buy. (I do so love old stuff) My home isn’t cluttered and I’m very organized, but I still have too much. After I rid myself of a LOT of small items at the flea mkt, it inspired me to do exactly what you were talking about today with the pockets of clutter.

    Thank you for the wonderful post and for you and Colleen who continue to inspire us natural born junkers to keep it under control!
    I love simplicity, but I also enjoy lots of different “things” and tend to accumulate too much even though I spend very little on it. All the same, I think I have to “redeem myself”.

    • Brenda, Welcome to 365 Less Things. Glad to have you join in the conversation. That comment you’re complimenting was a gem, but it was written by Colleen, not me. I actually do quite a bit of selling on Ebay and Craigslist and am very motivated because I take all the money I earn and put it directly onto our mortgage as an extra payment. For the first year of decluttering and selling, the money would just sort of disappear to … I don’t really know where. Now I keep close track of it and really like that my efforts are going toward something that is specific and very important to me.

  5. I think this is the biggest problem with clutter in my house–those little pockets I simply ‘don’t see’. Taking photos is a good way to really notice, or ‘see’, what’s really there.

    • They’re sneaky. I’m thinking of them as the clutter equivalent of dust bunnies – hiding in the corners, waiting to surprise you.

  6. I got sick of having pockets of clutter build up so I finally designated an area I call the “kitchen dump”. Letters from my brother at basic training, pictures, scraps of paper, and whatever else can be stashed there. Once a week or so I look through and declutter that. It’s a lot easier than decluttering everything!

  7. I have just found one of my clutter pockets, the fridge door.
    It amazing the things you attach with magnets to keep for later and then never make use of; phone numbers of people, but I am not sure what they were kept for and who the person is, or photos that are over two years old that are no longer needing to be in sight and cartoons cut out of newspapers thought to be funny enough to keep.
    Will have to clean up this area after work today.

    • Oh, the fridge. That’s like my bulletin board, only huge and in the kitchen. When I cleaned off my fridge a few months ago, I felt very odd. But then I got used to it, and I think it looks great and much cleaner. I kept three magnets that are really pretty, and I do keep the grocery list on it, but other than that, it’s bare and looks nice and tidy.

  8. Cindy, it does make me feel better to know you have “clutter hideaways” too – it doesn’t make mine less, but it does make me feel better….
    Colleen, it was Fathers’ Day last Sunday in New Zealand too -I’ll be so thankful when the Rugby World Cup is over …………….
    And Wendy, I have just removed a kumara casserole recipe from the fridge door – I see it is dated February last and I still haven’t tried it – back to the recipe file it goes!

    • Ann – so true! I felt better knowing that Colleen still has clutter that is keeping her at bay: her photos. I had assumed that her house would be nearly pristine. We’re all on a journey, moving toward a place of less STUFF and more FREEDOM.

      • Hi Cindy,
        I am only human just like the rest of you. 😉 I will get to those photos one of these days but for now I am enjoying the quicker decluttering. When the time come that I can just sit back and deal with the fiddly things and all the other decluttering is out of the way I will tackle the photos.

  9. the corner of our closet. My husband always buys new dress shoes but never tosses the worn shoes or the ones he no longer wears. today I pulled out all the shoes…gave the area a good vacume cleaning and put the ones he wears neatly back and the ones in question I put in a bag and asked him about them when he go home from work tonight. it turned out they could all go. I went into the hall closet and found some old sneakers of my sons. he is a police officer and worked an allnighter and just stumbled in at 5PM tonight and went right to bed but in the morning he must go through his. love it when I see blank spaces on the closet floor. I guess there are some questions that dont have answers but why do they save shoes they are no longer wearing?? especially if thet are worn…..

    • Why? Why? Why? Why do we keep things we no longer need, use or want? So many reasons, but that’s why we’re all here. I’m so impressed that you got your husband to go through his shoes, and I bet your son’s sorting will be just as quick. I think a clean floor is my favorite thing to have clean – no dog hair, no kids’ toys, and certainly no shoes no one even wants any more.

  10. I’ve identified one of mine at least – the top of the filing cabinet! Usually it’s just filing waiting to be done, but honestly how hard would it be simply to file as I go rather than just piling it up there for who knows when???? At least it’s done now – it’s amazing how things get done when you are having visitors to your new-ish house that haven’t seen it before and will want to look in every room! I think there are definitely other areas to be identified, and I’ll make that my mission for later today.

    • You’re so right Judy. If you’re not at all behind on your filing, it literally takes a second or two longer to put a paper into a file as it does to toss it on the top. As those papers pile up, the job seems more and more horrible and easier and easier to continue putting off.

      You’re right about people wanting to see everywhere when you have a new home. We had guests who had never been here before, and they were really checking over everything. It’s natural, I suppose. I know I like to see other people’s homes.

  11. Colleen, it almost sounds like you planned the lemon pie to work out that way. lol

  12. Rosalie Russell :

    Had not noticed the pile of things on the corner of the porch had disappear but so happy to know every thing is gone!! I’ve wondered for about 3 years if I removed the items if you would even know they were gone?