Excess can cause a mess.

I thought this was a good comment from Sanna last week regarding how being decluttered makes life simpler.

Sanna wrote ~ “I’d add that it’s simpler to have a “cleaning day” as well. My home still gets messy, especially when bf and I are both very busy at work. Dishes and laundry still tend to pile, I have to admit. However, a few years back it would take hours – or even days – to get everything back into shape after some busy weeks and even then there would be piles left, stuffed in cupboards, under sofas or in the bedroom, just because we would be too exhausted to manage getting through all at once. Now, the mess is just superficial, which means that even if we feel we drown in chaos, we usually can achieve a tidy and clean home in just about two hours (including laundry and dishes), without hidden clutter left.”

Part of my response was this… “By the way I am curious. I often wonder how, when people are busy at work, they still manage to get their homes in a mess. It always seems to me that they aren’t there most of the time so why does the mess happen. You prove that having too much of everything could be a big part of the problem because when the excess is eliminated suddenly the biggest part of the mess is eliminated as well.”

I have found that, when you have a limited amount of things that you use regularly, you have to stay on top of the cleaning in order to have what you need when you need it. Therefore the laundry needs to stay up to date as does cleaning the dishes…

Many people resort to buying more items when keeping up isn’t working, but they are generally only digging themselves into a deeper hole. Avoiding work doesn’t make it go away it just makes it pile up so it gets even harder to deal with later. Not only that, things get lost in the mess which wastes even more time. And then there is the constant misery of knowing the mess is there waiting for you to deal with.

There is also the panic in the early morning because you can’t find that shirt you need for work, you then discover it crushed on the floor, unwearable. Hanging clothes when they can be worn again makes them easy to find and keeps them wearable. And arranging what you are going to wear the next day prior to going to bed makes for a less stressful start to the day. Have you ever noticed how when the day starts out bad it usually follows along in the same vein. So any wonder when you get home you are completely drained and just want to flop down and do nothing. Then dinner needs to be cooked you can barely move in the kitchen for dirty dishes piled up all over the place.

Just thinking about it makes me frustrated.

Like Sanna, have you noticed it has become easier to keep your home in order because you now have less stuff? Tell us about it.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something that you aren’t using that could be helpful to someone else. Old eye glasses to be used for charity, children’s and baby clothes, a pair of runners, craft supplies to your local school or perhaps a tool or two to a Men’s Shed in your community.

Eco Tip for the Day

This eco tip was sent in my Cheryl. I’ve been trying to have less in my freezer so to fill up the space and save energy I’ve been filling milk jugs with water (not to full) and putting on the bottom and putting some boards on top. Fills up the air space and also makes it easier to get things out of the freezer.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

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


Continue reading with these posts:

  • The problem is acquiring Clutter is very much about being keener to acquire than to let go. We acquire things we need or want but once their usefulness to us has expired we hang on to them. I feel that there are […]
  • Ringing Out the Old and Welcoming the New ~ By Deb J How many of you come to the end of the year with a bundle of paper you need to keep to prepare your taxes or because you have to be reimbursed for medical expenses or for who knows what […]
  • Mini Mission Monday ~ Perishables Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. I haven’t gotten far enough in my journey yet to decide if this is true, but I think it is after reading all of this blog and all of the comments from readers agreeing. Very inspirational and I hope to one day be able to say I know for a first-hand fact that excess is what makes a mess. Thanks Colleen!

    • Hi Shoeaholicnomore, I am glad we have given you inspiration to reach that stage with your decluttering. I am sure you will find it to be true. Keep at it, you are doing well.

  2. Oh yeah! If my day starts off crummy, it seems to take a lot of work to get back into a good mood or back on track. Ugh! I did my weekly ironing this morning before work because I ran out of time yesterday. It is an ordeal if I don’t get it done for the week and them I’m pawing through the closet looking for something to wear.

    I also top off my gas tank every Sunday so that I don’t have to think about it during the work week. Our new(er) truck has a slightly larger tank and it can go a long time between complete fill-ups. Love that!

    Then I’m all rarin’ to go for the week – got clean clothes and gasoline. LOL

  3. I think there are several factors working here. First of all, people get paid to work and they don’t get paid to clean their own home. Your home is also you place to be comfortable and it is easy to just be lazy and not do things right away when you are tired from a long day of work. Home is a place to relax and so I think people aren’t as concerned as they are when others are around to see things. That being said, I agree completely that the fewer things you have, the easier it is to clean up. When there isn’t much to clean, it doesn’t take as much motivation to do it and is easier to keep up. Piles and mess are another way of procrastinating what we need to do.

    • Marianne, I like your point about being paid to work and relaxing at home. Now that I stay home with my 3 children during the day, I am MUCH more organized and tidy at home than when I worked before we had children. For me though it was awful to come home to a mess at the end of the day. I felt so ashamed! I’d been neater before, and it took years for me to realize that it was all the STUFF I didn’t know how to handle. There wasn’t anywhere to put it all. We were newlyweds so blessed to be given all the hand-me-down furniture from our families to cram each tiny room, and I didn’t think to turn down half of it. There were all the wedding gifts etc…and twice as many gifts at Christmas. I remember seeing the bag filled with our stocking stuffers that I didn’t know what to do with…sitting in my closet months later. Now that I am home with my children, I am much busier; so I had to get ruthless with the stuff. We have less toys, less clothing, less stuff now with our 3rd child than with the first 2. I wish I could go back and tell my newly married, newly working self, that it was ok to turn down the hand-me-downs and live with just what we needed and could fit with room to spare. I was so happy to not be sitting on the floor, but we didn’t need all of it in our tiny space-or any sized space.

      • Hi Marrianne, I think Angela summed up what I was thinking, that it is hard to relax in your own home when you know the mess is staring you in the face. Having worked in retail as a young person where there was a place for everything and everything was in its place I soon learned to be organised. So as a double income no children family, when we were first married, I, by habit, had become a tidy person. Looking back I don’t recall it being had to remain tidy while working full time and commuting 45 minutes to and from work. But then again I have always been and Energizer Bunny so maybe I had that on my side. We also didn’t have much to begin with. This left us free to reenergise over the weekends because there wasn’t a mess to clean up.

        • I gre up in a home with an older parent who had gone through hard times. He didn’t throw anything away. I also have extended family who leave piles all over their home. I wonder if clutter habits are learned. You are lucky to have developed good habits. I have tried to help several people who care more about their clutter than a clean home. They want it clean, but won’t do what it takes to get it that way. We have helped lots of people who just pay to move their junk, many times paying more than it is worth. I think that some people really don’t care about the peace of mind you can have with a home that is clean and free of clutter. For us, if something has no use, we get rid of it. For others, if it doesn’t bother anyone than why take the time to move it. They say they don’t have time to deal with it, when they don’t realize that by dealing with it now, it will make things easier in the future.

          • I think that clutter habits are learned, too. We had excessive toys as children (or at least far too many from my today’s point of view) and from as far back as I can remember I know the feeling of being exhausted by cleaning/tidying because it is just too much to handle and there is just no place to put it. So, I do think it’s really important to teach children tidying and decluttering strategies early on. Once your eye adjusts to clutter, it becomes easier and easier to just “not see” a pile of clutter in a corner.

          • Hi Marianne, sometimes I think it is easier to deal with the mess than to deal with the idea of doing something about it. Especially when a person doesn’t know where to begin. I can understand why people get like this. Sometimes they are also very anxious that they will let things go that they might need some day. Therefore they are making a choice of living with the clutter or not being about to live without it and they opt of the security of keeping it. It is a vicious cycle. I am grateful that my clutter situation was never like that. You may be right also that people behave as they are used to as a child. Sometimes people rebel against it but for others they are quite comfortable with it. I suppose it is only a problem if you think it is.

      • Ditto Angela!

    • Marianne – I like your comment about paid and unpaid work. I know a lady who is a professional house cleaner/maid service and she often laments her own house is always a mess.

      • I think the payment in the “unpaid work” is peace of mind. It is a shame many people are pressured to work so hard to get by or to climb the ladder that their personal care is the thing that has to give. The irony of this situation is that those who aren’t “working hard just to get by” often have a home full of clutter that all that hard employment paid for. Clutter that is diminishing their private lives. One has to ask themselves what is more important.

  4. Colleen, I too have found that the less mess the easier it is to clean. I have also found that if I have a place for everything and put it back after each use cleaning is much easier. I don’t understand getting messy either. Even while I was in college full-time, working full-time and having to study I kept things up. It was easy because everything had it’s place even the dirty laundry. Dishes were washed after each meal. It didn’t take long and it was better that way rather than letting them pile up. I have found washing up doesn’t really take that long.

    • lol. Deb J, its always very surprising how different people are. just like you dont get how someone is getting messy, I dont get it the other way round. I am a person who just doesnt wash up after every meal, and I can easily let things get ugly again. I apparently have no discipline whatsoever. its the same with people who can stop eating chocolate after just one bite. I can just shake my head, admire from far and hope for my next life. until then I have to figure out a way to get myself to do things.
      so I agree in every aspect of this post. the more you have the messier it gets. the less you have, the quicker the clean up gets, the easier its done, the more time you have.
      I have a couple of cool tricks nowadays that help me with this.
      l clean the fridge, when its empty (eternal thanks to moni). seriously. that was one of the eye-opener. since then, I have a clean fridge, because its just so much easier and its done in no time.
      I do usually simple 5 minutes tasks during ad-breaks while watching tv. this can lead to a perfectly clean kitchen before going to bed. usually also to a tidy bedroom, sorted washing, no papers flying around.

      basic rule to all of it: every thing has its home. this is crucial. you can have a home with a lot of items, but its not cluttered, if they have a home. and you can have few things but if they dont have a place, its cluttered all over.

      • Lena, I know what you mean. Every person is different. I was blessed to have pretty neat nic parents. Even though they had way too much stuff, it was stored away so that the house always looked tidy. Plus Mom was a stickler about not having dirty dishes. When I got out on my own I was even worse because I hated anything to do with house work. Plus I moved many times so found having few things made moving easier. I think anything we do needs some set ways to get us to our goals. Your little tricks are just the thing.

        • funny you mention that. I didnt like to do housework either, so I just didnt do it. I am not afraid of dirt and I can develop a very big blind spot for messy corners. when I was studying, I did the absolute basic things and that was it. nowadays I do dusting on a regular basis, I keep my washing under control. I learned that less things mean less chaos.

          thinking about it, I could reduce massively the amount of kitchen items. the problem is now, that I decluttered most of the things I dont use and dont love. great idea. but whats left is a great collection of items that I love. I have more cups than I need but I love every single one. they remind me or I love the shape. and yes. I am reusing them already as vases, pen holders or for pure decorational purpose. I need to stop letting new cups come in (even if they are nice and great) and let natural progression take place…

          thinking even further about it, its mostly sentimental value. like I have several cups that I inherited of my family and I love the fact that I get reminded of them every single day when drinking tea or coffee. thinking more about it, I could pair it down to one cup per family member. because I do love one cup that belonged to my father more than the other one. so. I get up and put them into the cardboard box.

          • Lena, I understand the cup thing. I don’t have any like that but my mother does. She bought a coffee mug for my dad one year that has a yellow smiley face on it. When a hot liquid is poured into the mug the smiley face turns into a Christmas ornament with a smiley face. My dad has been gone 20 years in July. She still has it even though it sits on a shelf and she never uses it or even notices it. She has a few other mugs she hangs onto like that. Someday she will decide to declutter them and keep just one.

          • I just took 3 cups (two of them I really love but dont use, the third I use but dont love) and 2 glasses out of my cupboard… maintaining will be easier now again.
            I was thinking hard about the two espresso cups that belonged to my dad. its been 7,5 years since he died. I dont use them at all, because I dont drink espresso. but I keep them, because I just adore the design of the little cute cups. and because I can still see my dad drinking espresso from them. well. there is a limit to my decluttering and I will keep the espresso cups as long as I want to. maybe I will change my mind, maybe not.

          • I had a friend who would invite people over frequently to motivate her to clean her house. It worked for her!

      • Lena, I am like you, it doesn’t come naturally-the only way I am naturally neat is when I have ONLY what I need and no more. When I was in college, I only had to wash my dish. I did it right away because I had to share the kitchen and I would not have time to do a whole stack later. So I just made myself get into the habit-same with keeping my few things neat. I decided I would do better in school that way, and I don’t like to see clutter. (I hide it). In college there was no place to hide it. Later on, I used to let dishes pile up, but I have learned a lot from others. I watched my MIL keep a clean rag and towel by the sink and wipe EVERYTHING down in the kitchen after each meal. It make prepping and clean up go so quickly the rest of the day. She wipes up a drip of water as soon as it hits the floor, does a load of laundry a day, and so on. I am not as great at it all as she is, but I do many of the things I witnessed her doing and other wise women before me. Like all of Flylady’s great ideas, I just chose to do the ones that I could fit in. Now I do laundry every day, and I wipe down the bathroom at the end of the day. I’m getting there!

        • yeah. installing some habits seems to do the trick. I still have to remind myself often on certain things but I am getting much much better at this. I am starting now to clean the shower every time after I had one. It is still annoying, but I am sure it wont take long and its going to be just normal to wipe everything dry. and its going to save me a lot of scrubbing in the future.
          my brothers girlfriend is really really neat and has some cool tricks as well. she is a great cook and a even better dish washer. and she gets both done at the same time. I am still experimenting with this, and it does get better. Its practise. always practise.

      • Lena, thank you for stepping out! I easily feel inferior among all those tidy ladies who stick to their routines! I just don’t, so I need coping strategies.

        Btw: I am learning to do dishes and cook at the same time, too! Very practical!

        • oh thank you sanna, I was already thinking I was the only “lazy” person around here…

      • Hi Lena, that sounds a whole lot like smart thinking to me. You know your limitations and have worked a way around it. Five minutes here and there sure makes a big difference.

        Trust me Lena, being tidy didn’t come naturally to me either. Even now that it only takes me about three hours tops to clean my house from top to bottom on a Monday I still dread having to do it. It doesn’t make sense to me and I am starting to think I am just being terribly lazy. I suck it up and get on with it though because more than the tedious work I hate the mess. I suppose I just pick my battles and with this one I would rather battle the mess than live with it.

        • colleen, I hope for the future. I am getting much better the older I get. or maybe its the fewer things at home. or both.

          I have had a couple of months to adjust to my new lifestyle, and I have to say, during some changes it was chaos here and I did not like it. But now I am feeling I am back in the game. steady almost daily decluttering, with it constant reshuffling and rearranging. and installing new habits that make life easier at home.

    • Yes! Deb, When I was in college, I had only what I needed! I bought new pens and pencils as needed and only had a few at a time. I had makeshift furniture and everything had a place. It was easy to keep it clean because I put things back-I had to or I wouldn’t be able to do my homework. I’m so excited to be getting back to that simplicity!

    • Deb J. Wow, you were a busy young person. But I must say I do agree that the key is having a place for everything and everything in its place. Once the spaces are overflowing, putting away becomes even a bigger chore.

      • Colleen, I was too busy. I got by on 4 hours of sleep and hardly saw my apartment. Not a good thing. I’m paying for it now.

  5. Yes! I find it easier to keep the home in order as we have less stuff! I’ve often thought of all the huge messes we (the 3 children and I and, all out books, projects, art, cooking and especially their toys) we make over and over throughout the day, and I am amazed that the house stays tidier than when I was working and only my husband and I were here in the evenings. Because we’re home, we make big messes, but we also have regular times for cleaning up. Because of this I also know clearly where the excess is, and it makes it easier to let that go, which in turn makes it MUCH easier to clean up the things we truly do enjoy having around. One thing I’m learning more of is that even having too much of the things we love and find lovely and beautiful is not ok for us. We just need “enough” of those things, not ALL of them. When I am discouraged by how far I still have to go to get to our kind of minimalism, I remember how cluttered we used to be, and how far we have come in just a few short years. And I know we will get there! 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration again and always!

  6. Colleen, I wanted to give you an update on my daily area of decluttering goal. I have a long list of areas that need decluttering (mainly closet shelves and drawers-things hidden away) and I’m focusing on one shelf or area a day. I have missed some days; so when I get motivated, I catch up a bit for those missed days. It is really working well for me so far to just do one spot at a time-it almost seems too little. I want the big impact, but I’m seeing how slowly but surely it’s adding up, and it’s SO MUCH easier than what I’d like to do-get it all done at once.

  7. (my blog isn’t ready yet, so don’t bother looking yet!!!) My husband and I are both in our sixties now. We have 7 dogs to care for. Most of them are pretty high-maintenance, and that is where a lot of my time goes. (dealing with diabetes, thyroid condition, deafness, blindness, badly broken leg on one). My husband had a major stroke in 2006, forcing him into early retirement. I was diagnosed in 2008 with Parkinson’s. So, both of us are extremely limited physically. Additionally, my husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2012; he has finished radiation therapy, and is now completing his chemo – he will be done in Sept. The chemo makes him weak and nauseous and very very tired. So with that as background, I will start. (sorry) Our house is in deep trouble. We have done all the wrong things. I have bought stuff to replace stuff I can’t find. We have tended to just box up junk or bag it up. We had 6 large black garbage bags full of clothes to put away. But, instead of doing that, I left them. Just this year, I managed to get all of them downstairs and got everything washed again. But, I must use my cane to get back upstairs, dragging a bag of clean laundry back up. It is very hard. I had a heart attack on New Year’s Eve and that is certainly a wake-up call. For both of us, I have changed our diets to help us. But now, it is time to get busy. My husband cannot help because his oncologist discovered he has a huge tear in his muscle wall from his sternum down about 8 inches or so. So, if he lifts anything more than 5 pounds, his guts spill out. He cannot have surgery to repair it because he has a very low clotting factor, and would bleed to death during surgery. He cannot wear a band to hold it, because his chemo is injected into his lower abdomen and it cannot have anything on top of it – not even his belt.
    So now I pay the price – I have so much to do. Got to gather up stuff we don’t use, don’t need, don’t want. Bag it up, haul it outside. I cannot drive, due to the Parkinson’s, so I’ve called the Thrift Shop and they will come out and pick up stuff. I tried FlyLady but re-cleaning the bathroom sink and counter every day seems silly to me. A waste of time. Even Jeff Campbell of CleanTeam says Rule #1 is don’t clean something that isn’t dirty. FlyLady wants us to wear lace-up shoes. I cannot bend over to tie shoes, so I use a slip-on shoe. I don’t think need to “swish” the toilet every day. And because of being caretaker of my husband and the dogs, I cannot guarantee that I can complete a morning ritual daily. Maybe a nighttime one would be okay. The main thing is DECLUTTERING. So, all you young women who read this – please don’t make my mistake! When my husband had to retire, I wanted to be with him, near him physically. I stopped working on the house. Floors got dirty, laundry piled up. Dust accumulated. All of that is easily remedied. But, what I failed to do was KEEP UP. Just do not let it all go, thinking you’ll get to it. I did that in 2006, and again in 2008. And now, I’m older, cannot walk without a cane, and the house is a mess. I’ve been reading this list for a long time. But, the other day, the post that talked about people, like me, who think because they can’t do it all, do nothing. Boy, did that hit home. So, I began – I started with the foyer – hauled out dead plants, garbage, furniture for the Thrift Shop. Now all it needs is to be mopped. Why hadn’t I hung up our coats? I don’t know – seemed easier at the time to just leave them draped over something and dealt with “later” – oh that infamous “later” – well, when does “later” come? Always! It is yesterday’s later right now! So, just within the past 7 days, I have cleared out one room, emptied a ton of trash. Gotten more laundry done. And, surprisingly, it did not take that long. The foyer took me about 30 minutes. Yes, it still needs mopping. But, I’ll do that either in a few hours, or tomorrow. Right now, my heart is beating hard, I’m out of breath, and tired. My husband is napping. The dogs for now are quiet. But, feeding time is in about 30 minutes and it starts again.
    My reason for this post is not to involve you all in any kind of pity party for me or us. Prayers are ALWAYS welcome, but mostly I wanted to say to anyone younger and not sick with old-age type of diseases: please don’t let it happen to you. Take the time to empty the garbage; don’t buy new stuff because you can’t find the original thing – believe me, by the time it takes you to find a replacement, deal with the box or bag it came in, the errand running necessary or even the online time it took to order it, you could have FOUND the old thing. You would be less tired, have less clutter, and be a whole lot more stress-free. Please trust me on this! Do it now! Don’t put it off! Because I swear, I was 40 years old just last year, or so it seems. I don’t know where the time went. And now, it takes me twice as long, and I have less than half the energy available.
    Thank you for this column. I don’t always follow up by doing what you suggest, but it plants a seed. And now, I want my house clutter-free. So, many trips to the garbage bin, many loads for the Thrift Shop.
    Again, thank you! And, ps – Sanna – if that is you – this is me! (the original owner of fabric atcs). I do get the messages from LinkedIn, but I don’t want to do that – although I would love to chat with you via email. Let me know!

    • annie, thanks for sharing. I am one of those “young women”. I am glad I learned this rather early in life. I have everything I own in a two bedroom apartment. I have a great life. I am spreading the word that less is more, because I understood that space and time is so much more important than things and money.
      I say: better late than never. forgive yourself for the mistakes you made, learn from them and promise yourself not to make them again. even when you are sixty and seem to have a limited life compared to when you were younger, you can make it suitable. I think you are lucky that you are aware of your situation and make the best of it.
      you did get quite a package there. I am glad you sound so optimistic in your situation. If you would be my neighbour I would now offer to help you. I would come three times a week and help you rummaging, rearranging, lifting and decluttering. for me this would be a good execise and a very good feeling that I can help someone. if you and your husband cant do it, you can maybe ask someone who can to help.

      I wish you all the best and a good recovery to your husband. I hope he gets well soon!

      • I really like your words – “space and time is so much more important than things and money”.
        Sums it all up nicely,

        Vanna

    • I wish I could come over and help you! Many hands make light work. Good luck with it and good for you to tackle it now instead of just ignoring it.

    • Annie – I wish I lived closer and I’d come over and do all this grunt work for you. I am concerned with your situation and I was wondering if there is a community based organisation in your area which could come and do the physical work for you. There are several in my city (its a small city) that pitch in when circumstances are difficult and practical help is needed. Possibly your doctor might know of one, or is there a Citizen’s Advice help line? Do you belong to a church? Your pastor will probably be in touch with such organisations. Often each church covers a particular type of assitance, so even if your church may not be able to assist with something, they’ll know who does.

    • Annie, I’m sorry, I’m not the Sanna you are talking about!

      Also, I am really sorry to hear about your health problems and wish you all the best and that things go better again soon.
      If I understood correctly, doing laundry seems to be a physically hard task for you due to dragging the stuff throughout the house. Maybe it would be possible to make the layout work better for you, in that you store your laundry and clean clothes near your washing mashine. We have our clean clothes in a wardrobe in the living room at the moment, because I work shifts and don’t want to disturb my spouse by rummaging in the bedroom in the middle of the night. Friends of us have them in a dresser in the hallway and others have a larger laundry room which they use like a closet (with shelves and hangers) with in-built washing mashine and ironing board. Things like this make staying on top of it all easier and there is no use in making it hard on ourselves. Especially with laundry: if you do it very rarely you need just the more clothes to get by for multiple weeks without washing. If you are able to do laundry on a regular basis, you maybe can pare down enourmously on clothes – and therefore clutter. If you want to start storing things differently, you might just start with the things you take out of the washing machine and put them in the new spot, re-using them again instead of moving the lot at once (maybe you realize after some time that you don’t need the lot after all). On another note it is also possible to hire someone to do the laundry. – Maybe even your health insurance would cover the costs (they do over here in some cases, so it’s just a thought).
      Anyway, I think you are doing great in doing SOMETHING! So, keep up the good work and be easy on yourself! 🙂

      Last, but not least, as another “young woman”: thanks a lot. I’ll try to not forget and hold onto this advice throughout my life. 🙂 At the moment, living in a one bedroom-, one livingroom-apartment, our messes aren’t the kind that might take weeks to clean up.

      • Hi again!
        Thank you all for your support! And wishes you lived close enough to help – but we created this mess, and will get it cleared it. It will just take time.
        As for the laundry situation, our washer and dryer are downstairs – down a long, narrow stairway. The problem for both of us, is that neither of us is stable on our feet – both of us need a cane to walk. Mine is a quad-cane – meaning it has 4 feet so that it is stable. Going up and down the stairs is what is dangerous – both of us fall easily – and hauling laundry up and down the stairs is very difficult. We have thought about trying to get the washer and dryer moved upstairs, but where would they go? We have no space for them. Then, we looked at the smaller stacked washer/dryer units, such as used in apartments. Those are a possibility for us, though unaffordable right now. Because not only would we have to purchase them, but then pay a plumber to come over and rig them up for us. I truly am not trying to say “yes, but….”. Just the truth here. So, for now, I gather our laundry in a black trash bag because it is easier to maneuver than a laundry basket. I drag it down the stairs and into the basement. Then put it through the washer and dryer, and drag it back up. I try to do the laundry every other day, to avoid the bag being too heavy. And also so that I don’t have a whole lot to fold and put away. So, right now, I just do my best. But, I truly appreciate all ideas and advice – you never know just what tidbit might be the one thing that works!!!! LOL
        I AM an optimistic person. No doubt about that.
        Today, I had scheduled to groom one of our dogs – the oldest one, who is becoming incontinent. But, I awoke sick to my stomach, a temperature, and to top it off, a headache! Oh geesh! So, I sat and felt sorry for myself for awhile, and then began to feel a little better as the morning wore on. I feel okay now (it is 5:38pm) and no, we didn’t get to the grooming. We will do it tomorrow instead. Sometimes, it is more important to take care of those kind of things than just racing to get stuff set out for our town’s spring pick-up, scheduled for Monday morning. I think our dog would appreciate us doing that. After all, there is a fall pick-up too, scheduled in early September.
        Everything will work out just fine. A little bit at a time. I can go into the bathroom and take an extra minute or two to wipe out the sinks and countertop. I do our dishes by hand. Including washing the dogs’ dishes.
        Little guy, Sparky, who has the severely broken leg, is getting better. My husband’s chemo will end in September, and hopefully he will feel better. We are planning on celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary in 13 years. So, with such love, all things are possible.
        I’m glad that telling my story might inspire some of you “young’uns” (yeah, we’re in the south – the Blue Ridge Mountains) to not put things off. Don’t accumulate “things”. Yesterday, with only 15 minutes of time, I was able to declutter our closet in the foyer where we have our coats and such. Just 15 minutes and a large garbage bag. The Thrift Shop will come by next week to pick it all up.
        I really appreciate this list! And you all are so kind, and so positive, and so earnest. Thank you ALL!
        Annie

        • I forgot to add something. On Christmas Eve, I took a bad fall on the sidewalk leading to our house. I just fell – didn’t trip over anything – part of Parkinson’s. Unfortunately, I was going out to get the newspaper for my husband. I did a face-plant – meaning I fell face down on the pavement. My left arm got caught under me, and I sprained my wrist. We thought it was broken, but turned out to be only sprained. I had to wear a wrist brace for 8 weeks. I couldn’t get myself up, and had to holler for my husband, who was still in bed. He couldn’t find me! About 5 minutes later, he was able to find me because the dogs were barking. He was able to help me get up. Also, from the fall, I hit my face on the sidewalk, scuffing up both cheekbones – so I had bruising there. What a sight I must have been. Back about 10 years ago, I fell and broke my ankle. It took two surgeries to repair it. Falls are so dangerous. I’m in the category of being able to break my hip. So, anyway, I am careful now – more careful the older I get.

    • Annie, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I wish your situation was different but it is good of you to use your story to encourage those who are young and impressionable to think about what clutter can come too if you allow it. Oh how trivial any problems I have now seem to be in comparison. I also wish that I lived near you as I would be more than happy to lend you a hand. As requested my prayers are with you.

      • Shoot! I forgot to thank you all for the most important thing – your PRAYERS! We are both big believers in the power of prayer, so thank you all so much!

  8. Hi, Annie…What you said to the younger women here is so true–get a grip on your homes now, because faster than you even think possible, you’ll find yourselves older, with so much less energy than you need, and maybe with an illness or two to contend with too.

    As for today’s topic, I can’t tell you how much time my husband wastes looking for things he can’t find because they get lost in his clutter, or because he sets things down any old place instead of putting them where they go.

    I remind him often that the more “stuff” you have, the harder it is to clean and keep track of everything. This leads to some interesting discussions in our house sometimes because I’m the one who does most of the housecleaning and home-related chores, but HE is the one who is constantly bringing in items that we don’t need.

    I stay very busy trying to keep a step ahead of him, thinning out as much as possible so that it doesn’t get as out of hand in the house as it is in his shop.

  9. Interesting topic. Yes, the less clutter you have the easier to put things away. However, I find I have to vacuum more regularly because the floor is more visible, and likewise flat surfaces like cupboards or furniture suraces, need to be dusted/cleaned more regularly because there isn’t a heap of other stuff busy-ing up things visually. We all have small wardrobes these days, but that does mean I need to launder regularly so we don’t run out of clothes (drying laundry is also a consideration in a high rain fall country) – not a big deal really and certainly worth the trade off.

    I have a friend whose son is asthmatic and she has to vacuum and dust daily, so I shouldn’t complain. And I wasn’t complaining.
    I agree with Marianne about paid and unpaid work. Also at the end of the day your energy levels are at an ebb and everything takes longer than it would earlier in the day. I also find that if I get behind in evening chores, they hang over until the morning, which isn’t the ideal time to be doing housework when I need to be getting to work and kids to school. So it rolls over to the end of the day. I feel some of that is down to my routine – busy family coming and going, everyone on a different routine – but its not for forever, but I find that I am often not finishing my day until 11pm. Probably if I had some more down time in the evenings and some earlier nights I would function more effeciently.

    LOL everytime I vacuum I think to myself that I can’t wait until we downsize into a smaller house. We don’t have a particularly huge house but the thought is there.

  10. Here is some great advice form Linda B that I received via email.

    “One of the best tips I’ve read is to think about whether a job takes less than a minute, if so, you do it right away, such as hanging up your shirt or putting away your cereal bowl. Makes keeping order so much easier.” ~ Linda B

    • Great tip – thank you.
      I find myself doing this more often and noticing the difference. Now I need to convince my 2 teenagers to do the same!

      Vanna

  11. Colleen, how funny that you chose this comment for today! In fact, our apartment is already messy again! 😉 Last week I did volunteered at an event in addition to my regular work for four days in a row which meant I was home to sleep and sometimes not even to sleep properly, my boyfriend was more than 12 hours occupied with that event per day, too, and got a cold which he is still fighting with now. This is a situation predestined for mess in our home. 😉 Also, we are of course not that energized at the moment to make a big clean up. I am just happy we are more or less decluttered these days: We did catch up on washing laundry yesterday, today will be dishes and putting laundry away and tomorrow we’ll vacuum and mop, so things will be presentable in no time again. It really is the undefined clutter that remains after you did all these regular tasks that make a house look messy and that are also so discouraging when you try to clean (because you know even before you start doing the dishes that you won’t achieve a really tidy look probably due to all the excess).

    • Hi Sanna, good for you guys doing your bit for the community. I applaud those who participate in volunteer work. It sounds like your place isn’t such a mess. Laundry and dishes and the usual cleaning is not the same as clothes lying all over bedroom floors etc.
      I hope you are getting better sleep now that the pressure is off a little.

      • Thank you, Colleen! Well, actually those clothes were on the bedroom floor for about three days! 😀 They aren’t any more, though. Everything is washed and on the drying rack again. 😉
        It’s not that bad, we let things slip a little, but it doesn’t take that much time to get back on track. However, as I see that I still tend to let things slip, I am pretty convinced that I’d live in a mess had I still as much clutter as four years back!