Decluttering and saying no

Senior Contributor
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house.jpgAs I mentioned in my last blog post, I am embarking on a happiness project this year, and the first step in finding this greater enlightenment is decluttering. 


I had planned to spend one month getting my house decluttered and completely organized. As it turns out, I seriously understimated the amount of clutter in my house, as well as the amount of time and energy I would have to dedicate to this project. Still, I am forging ahead. 


My first task was tackling the "dressing room" upstairs. I live in an old farmhouse that was built in 1890, before anyone had a need for frivolous perks like closets. When you have bedrooms with no closets, clutter happens. There are three bedrooms: mine and my husband's, one shared by our three sons, and a long, narrow room that was once the nursery, but is now the dressing room. Racks on one wall hold all of our hanging clothes, and there are shelves and dressers along the rest of the walls to hold everything else. I also have a huge stack of bins in there, since my basement isn't exactly dry all the time, and I can't bear the thought of losing my holiday decorations and family keepsakes. (Yes, I kept three bins of baby clothes. Don't judge me!)


I have gone through that room and made it usable again. Yay, me! I have hauled countless bags of clothes to Goodwill, and bagged up some hand-me-downs for our friends. I went through all the bins of clothing, and found I had saved some hand-me-downs from my older boys for my youngest son, but of course by the time I rediscovered them, they were too small for him. Fail.


There is still a little work to be done in that room, but the fact that it's once again manageable and usable means our bedrooms aren't getting cluttered up with clothes, and that has helped keep everything neater. What was once the most frightening room in my house is now arguably the most organized. Everything has a place.


The next rooms that need major tackling are the back porch/mudroom, and the playroom/Lego explosion. I am tired of walking in the back door and tripping over boots, hoses, tools, and backpacks. Baseball practice starts tonight for my youngest (pitchers and catchers report!), so now we'll have catcher's gear in the mix as well. 


Willcatcher.jpgSo yes, even though my progress is slower than I would like, it is still progress, and I am already feeling more relaxed. But you know what else happened? In the process of decluttering my house, I started to declutter the rest of my life, too. I'm involved in everything with my boys, leading the Cub Scout pack, volunteering at youth group, and helping out with countless other activities. But I have found myself saying "no" to some things that are draining me emotionally and eating up too much of my time. This is a new thing for me. I am putting my family first, and if a request to volunteer for something comes at the expense of precious family time, the answer is simply no. It's hard to say at first, but after a while, it's empowering. No. NO. NO!!!


Try it ... you'll see!


Stay tuned to see how the rest of my decluttering and my happiness project go. And if you don't hear from me, check underneath the pile of catcher's gear on the back porch.


1 Comment
Honored Advisor

Lisa, smart moves and good for your on learning to let others take on some of the duties they wanted to stick on you.  Some stuff -catcher's gear perhaps among it - can stay in a sack in the car, instead of being toted indoors.  I am trying to turn a lot more things around before they creep inside these days.  

About the Author
Personal: Married to Mike since 1973; Three adult children Job: Own/operate swine nursery contract operation Education: Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education Certificate program in Historic Preservation Technology Hobbies: Reading, stained glass, gardening