Things I've learned. Jul 9, 2011 13:02:32 GMT -5 puppybox, grasshopper, and 14 more like this Quote Select PostDeselect PostLink to PostBack to Top Post by BetsyMarie on Jul 9, 2011 13:02:32 GMT -5 This is a list I've been keeping for about a half year or so. This is a living list and I often update and refine it as I learn more from everyone here, elsewhere, and my own realizations. I like to re-read it to remind myself, and thought I'd share it. (I've given attributions where possible.)Please feel free to share other tidbits that you have learned too.1. I realize and accept I am a hoarder. No big deal. It's just a word. That won't change all I have to do, and accepting being a hoarder has made for easier progress.2. It's the stuff. I have way too much of it. All the organizing in the world, all the new containers and shelving, nor a bigger house, will solve the problem. It's the sheer volume of stuff.... Getting rid of it -far more than half- is the only solution.3. Learn to like housekeeping. Or at least relax into it. Affirmations can help. "Put away 3 a day." (edit: 3 years later, I no longer hate it.)4. Items take up space. Do I really want to take up 'this much space' to a particular item in order to keep it? 6 nice bath towels take up a cubic foot of space. An old fake holiday tree, never used, takes up 4 cubic feet.5a. When trying to decide whether to keep an item or not, look at it as it is now. Not what it was, not what it will be, or could be, but what it is now.... Do you really need yet another half-done project or t-shirt with a rip or stain?5b. An item in which you have lost interest and that will never be finished is not worth keeping. That half-sewn dress - complete with pins and pattern and lost directions from 10 yrs ago - will never be finished or worn... That time and money is lost. Let it go.6. Reading, writing, chatting, learning, thinking and gaining insight all help. But 'doing' (action) is the only thing that actually will get it done. Reading a cookbook is not the same as cooking and eating a meal. (reminder from dayeanu)7. "Be Brave." Toss things and experience/stay with the uncomfortable feelings and sense of loss. People who do that are more likely to succeed in the long run. Go towards the discomfort rather than run from it. It will pass. Attempting to avoid these feelings or delaying dealing with them is the cornerstone of hoarding. (from Oprah site)"Terrible things don't happen when you throw things out." (YouTube video)8. Decluttering takes forever especially if you are doing it by yourself. Months and months, even years if you have a larger home and yard. Be patient. Be persistent. There is no alternative but to do it - unless living in clutter for the rest of your life is the goal.9. Even after the clutter is removed, there is the cleaning, and the organizing of what's left....10. Even after the clutter is removed, if you have used clutter as a protective barrier, it's still uncomfortable contemplating letting people in. But letting people in is your own free choice, and 'no' is always a legitimate option.11. It's like recovering from any other compulsion - it takes time and there will be backsliding... But each 'next round' is usually on a more solid footing until one day you can easily stand. It's not just getting rid of the stuff, it's what you learn along the way.12. Stop bringing things into the house unless they are truly loved or needed. Things that are free, or at yard sales and thrift stores are the clutter other people are getting rid of. Don't turn it into new clutter of your own.13. Accept the feeling of 'overwhelmed'. It will be there anyway, so say 'hi' to it, that you expected it to come along, and continue working. You can work and feel at the same time. 'Overwhelmed' comes and goes so be at peace with it. It can feel intense, but it's just a feeling state that will pass.'Overwhelmed' comes from seeing all there is to do all at once. Break it down into the smallest tasks possible, one tiny piece at a time, and start there. You can only work on one item at a time anyway.14. Work at a comfortable pace - but work. No need to rush - the clutter will wait. For me, 'emergency' rushed cleaning, never was a solution, just a band-aid and the house, behind the scenes, was actually worse than when I began. Never again. I want the real thing this time.15. It is necessary to get rid of things that are still good, still have life in them, still are functional, still 'cute', are 'worth money', and things that I like. Just because I like and want to keep something doesn't mean I should. Keep only things you use often, are essential, 'love' or are truly special.16. I can 'choose' to do something rather than 'ought', 'should' or 'have to'. Words have power. (From Lion.) If calling it 'housework' sets your teeth on edge, call it something else.17. 'Resistance' is just another unpleasant feeling state. Treat it like the others - accept it, experience it, then let it dissipate like the passing dark cloud it is. Do not give it more power than it deserves. After decades of struggling against 'resistence', who knew?18a. Do a little every day, no matter how small. MFA - motivation does follow action. If you have trouble getting started, use a timer at least once every day, preferably in the morning, to get into the habit of doing something daily to either declutter or maintain - or both. 5, 10 or 15 min. A swipe here and there adds up. 'Consistency' (from Script)18b. A little here and there done spontaneously, and not during an 'official' cleaning time can accomplish a lot. In other words, allow being orderly to blend in with ordinary living activities. Put the dirty utensils next to the sink while waiting for the egg to cook.19. "Get rid of anything that is weighing you down". (from gggal)The things I love and really want to keep, I KNOW I want to keep. The rest just causes distress. If you keep encountering the same thing, and deciding what to do with it causes stress - yet again-, that might mean it's time for it to go. 20. Accept that you have made mistakes, and that you will make more. Money has been wasted. Things bought twice or more. Nice things and money have been damaged and lost. Items that actually 'will come in handy some day' will be gotten rid of too soon. So be it. There is no such thing as 'perfection'.21. Unless it's something really special, don't 'save' things for other people. 'It' only takes up space, occupies your mind and time, and 'they' probably don't want it, won't appreciate it, and will probably toss it anyway. We hoarders have different standards about what is 'good'. 22. There will be a price to pay for maintaining - very much like maintaining a weight loss. I won't be able to just go back to casually living how I always have - that does not work. I'll have to deal with my resistance to doing certain jobs consistently. I will have to both try as well as learn things I don't yet know. But I can deal with what comes along, and make necessary adjustments.23. -It's easier to give something to a thrift store when I think of the enjoyment the next owner will experience, rather than the money the charity will get. For me the emotional value of the object usually over-rides it's monetary value. 24. -It's easier to get rid of things to recycling when I know it won't be wasted.-Sometimes things that still have a bit of life in them just have to be tossed because it's not worth my time to arrange their future. Feel the pain and do it anyway.25. Clutter is visual noise and is subconsciously upsetting. Open, clean spaces in the home reduce anxiety.26. In the same way it's overwhelming to look at cleaning the entire house at one time, the same holds true for smaller tasks such as doing dishes. Break it down. Don't think of the whole task as one massive thing to do. Think in terms of putting way those 2 dishes. Filling the sink. Washing the knives... When things get broken down in component parts instead of looking at the whole, it's easier to make progress step by step.27. KISS - Keep it simple sweetie. Do what works - don't attempt to do things because you think thats how things 'should' be. Put lots of trashcans in places where they are used, for example. Save steps. Change your way of doing things based on what actually works for you now in your current home, not what used to work, or what works for everyone else. Try new things. Experiment. Seek efficiency. There's more than one way to be successful.28. Don't create more work for yourself, even if it takes a bit more time right now. You'll end up having to do the task anyway, so no reason to add extra time to the end task just to make things easier now. 29. Don't get lost in minutia. Now is not the time to separate the pink beads from the red ones, but rather the time to deal with the 6 large boxes in the middle of the bedroom floor. 30. Remember your goals... There is a light at the end of the goat path.31. I tend to have strong emotional attachments to things. They remind me of times past and somehow keep me connected to memories. But the fact is the past is gone forever. And while sometimes it's pleasant or bittersweet to think about people, events, and things in the past, the fact is all we every really have are our present moments. The past is over - nothing actually can be re-lived, or fixed, or changed... And the future hasn't yet happened. Dwelling in the past (via too much 'stuff') is wasting the potential and possible richness of the present. If you want to remember something, journal it, or take a photo.Three+ years have passed since I initially wrote this list. In that time I have not missed one single thing I donated or tossed. Not one single thing. And I certainly don't miss the goat-paths all that junk made necessary. "Terrible things don't happen when you throw things out."Slow and steady wins the race.