Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
What is landscape clutter? Well, I’m a big gardener, but I’m not referring to anything you might see in the yard. No, landscape clutter is clutter that you are so accustom to seeing out-of-place that you no longer recognize that it’s out of place. It’s become a part of the landscape of your home.
Here are some examples of things that have been landscape clutter in my house:
- A cocktail dress that hung in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room for 3 or 4 months
- A piece of furniture that we moved out of Clara’s room with the intention of moving it into the attic. It got as far as the hallway, where we left it. It’s not where it belongs, but it’s not in anyone’s way, and there it sits. (At least it hasn’t become a black hole as well as being landscape clutter. Don’t know what a clutter black hole is? Check it out here.)
- The laundry basket and empty 5 gallon paint bucket that the girls used outside in their playhouse and then dumped on the ground. (Ok, this landscape clutter might actually qualify as being part of the landscape.)
- Countless number of things that I put by the front door with the intention of taking to a friend’s house, the thrift store, or work that seemed to grow roots once they were left there.
- A can in the back of my pantry that had only been there “a little while.” When I decided yesterday that it was time to eat those canned plums, I discovered that the “best if used by date” was 2007!
The trouble with landscape clutter is that you’re so used to overlooking it, that it’s hard to notice.
I’ve written about this topic before. (As I was writing, I knew some of it sounded familiar to me), but the solutions haven’t changed. If you can’t see it, you can’t recognize it, and you need some other way of noticing the clutter. You can become aware of misplaced items by touching each thing and saying the name aloud, asking a friend what they see that’s out of place, developing a need for the item, creating a new strategy for dealing with a category of clutter, or by taking a picture or video and examining the photograph. I’m always stunned by what I see on my counters and such when I look at a photo that I somehow can’t see when I am looking right at them.
Here’s how I got rid of the clutter I mentioned:
A friend said to me, “You know this dress has been here a while. I thought you might not be seeing it any more.” Well, of course I knew it was there, but that motivated me to actually do something with it.
I’m embarrassed to admit that the furniture is still sitting right there in the hallway. It’s made of solid wood and is remarkably heavy. I vow to get Dan to help me move it to the attic this weekend, so my strategy is that by admitting publicly that something’s out of place, I am motivated to deal with it.
The bucket and laundry basket were put away when I needed a laundry basket. While thinking, “What can I use to contain these items?” I noticed the basket sitting on the ground outside, and when I fetched it, I put away the bucket too.
Items by the front door that get stuck get “unstuck” in a variety of ways but in general, I think the best solution for me is to put things directly into the van, rather than letting them rest by the door. That way, they’re with me when I drive past the thrift store or when I stop by a friend’s house.
The old canned plums, which went into the compost pile, were spotted when I was a little desperate for lunch ideas on Sunday. I have a can riser, like stair steps to keep the cans organized and visible. The plums were on the top shelf, far corner. Since they’d worked their way from a lower position to the far back corner (just like clothes you never wear!), that’s a reliable indication that they’d been there a while.
These bits of clutter came to my attention for a variety of reasons, but the key is that because they’d become part of the landscape of my home, I had to have some other stimulus to bring them to my attention. I was so used to just scanning over them with my eyes that just a quick glance around was not going to being them to my attention.
What are you seeing today that you’d been overlooking?
Today’s Declutter Item
A sweater once worn by Liam but has reached the unused in the back of the closet stage. Off to the thrift store with you.
Things that made me happy, made me laugh, made me feel grateful, fascinated me or I thought were just plain awesome.
- Having a lovely morning-tea with my neighbours.
- I thought I was so behind time getting everything ready for the morning tea this morning but then I was finished with ten minutes to spare.
- Finding out by accident that I can actually buy milk at a reasonable price at my local paper shop (Newagency).~ Usually I would choose to go without rather than pay the price the local grocery store charges so this is good to know for future reference.
- Mini caramel tarts ~ I should share this recipe with you all, they are delicious.
- My mum and dad are coming to visit tomorrow.
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.