We dream of having a clean house — but who dreams of actually doing the cleaning? We don’t have to dream about doing the work, because doing the work is always within our grasp; the dream, in this sense, is to attain the goal without the work.
~ Marcus Buckingham
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Lower the bar. Actually spending ten minutes clearing off one shelf is better than fantasizing about spending the weekend cleaning out the basement.
~ Gretchen Rubin
I am once again inspired by Kathy. She posted Scrub, scour, dust, wash, wipe, brush, vacuum and declutter earlier this week and asked if anyone would like to join her in “some deep cleaning and decluttering for the Holy?” I said Yes. A big YES.
I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about how people have been cleaning and decluttering during the pandemic. So many folks are out there becoming minimalists, learning how to live simply, and Marie Kondo-ing their living spaces. (I have the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” but haven’t yet read it and now I’m wondering… should I declutter the book? Is it sparking joy? Ha.) I even read a news story about how Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other places that normally accept donations, were asking people to stop donating because they had too much. (That was a while ago. Things may have changed by now.) Everyone, it seemed, was cleaning house in a variety of ways. Some were even remodeling and redecorating and rearranging the furniture. Others abandoned ship, so to speak, and moved to a new home.
Cleaning and decluttering didn’t happen here on the ranch except for the clean-up I did prior to going to Ohio. Even then, I shoved stuff in closets figuring I’d get to it later. I did make some weak attempts at decluttering that included some storage boxes I’m going to tell you about. A year ago, maybe two, I bought two plastic storage boxes whose ultimate destination is the attic. The idea is to fill them with the things I can’t bring myself to give away or throw away. Generally, that means sentimental items. For example, my father gave me my mother’s EMT badges after she died. She was the captain of her squad and had some pretty fancy badges with her name on them. If any of us had been capable of coherent thought at the time, we might have considered and asked about donating them to the squad. Alas, we didn’t and nobody knew what to do with them. They have been sitting on a shelf in my home since my father handed them over to me, asking me to keep them or do something with them. Mom died over eleven years ago. I doubt there’s anyone left on the squad who knew her.
What do you do with items like that? My brilliant solution is to put them into a storage box and shove them up in the attic. Let my kids or grandkids figure it out. Or maybe I will figure it out in another decade or so. The storage boxes I obtained for this purpose are not too big. One, in fact, is quite small in the world of storage. Another objective in the storage box project came from the notion of Swedish death cleaning. You take those things you cannot bear to part with and put them in a storage box. The catch is that you get one storage box, maybe two (if they’re small), AND you can keep ONLY what will fit in your box or boxes. That means that if there is no room, you either have to take something out and get rid of it to make room or you do without the item you wanted to add.
I have not yet filled the bigger of the two boxes. It’s about half full at this point. Or half empty, if that’s how you see things. The smaller box has been allocated for jewelry, bits and bobs, small things of that nature. I’ve put nothing into it as of this writing.
When we began our lockdown status back in spring, it occurred to me that it would be a good time to take on a cleaning and decluttering project. I started, briefly, by clearing out a drawer in the bathroom, tossing away old make-up that I never wear (and rarely ever did because I never learned how to put on make-up properly and tend to feel like a clown when I do try to wear it). After cleaning one drawer, I moved on to a dresser and cleaned out some clothing. Fat clothes, as they are known, that I will never wear again. Even if I gained back the weight, I wouldn’t want to wear those clothes. I’m not a fashionista or anything but even I can see they are hopelessly out of date (and were never flattering to begin with).
And alas, there ended my attempt at The Big Pandemic Spring Clean. That is one reason why Kathy’s challenge/project is so appealing to me right now. I have procrastinated. As we all know, procrastinating is more stressful than actually doing the thing. I very much enjoy doing things with others, even virtually (hence, Walktober), so this provides the perfect opportunity and conditions to do what I’ve been putting off.
Naturally what that means is that having decided to start, I took myself off to the beach for the day yesterday. LOL! It is so funny to me how the mind goes after all kinds of shiny objects, things other than what I had intended. I am perfectly capable of directing my mind, but there were all kinds of reasons to go to Assateague Island yesterday. The chief and most important justification was that I needed to get a new pass for the OSV area before they close things up again. That happened to us in the spring, and we were unable to go out and hike around in the back-country areas after our pass expired. There was no way to get a new one while the park offices were closed during the initial lockdown because they weren’t doing it online. You have to show up and prove you have all the equipment you need to get yourself unstuck or hauled off the beach if your vehicle breaks down.
I did, however, make a few moves towards cleaning and decluttering before I left for my adventures on Assateague Island. I cleaned out a drawer in the office. I also organized the cork bulletin board that is hanging on the wall next to my desk, clearing away old notes that are no longer relevant, putting away old photos of my grandchildren, and replacing them with newer photos. I made a point of prominently hanging the schedule for Julie Gibbons’ 2021 Mandala Magic: Alignment course because, you see, I signed up for it this year. I’ve been wanting to enroll in her year-long mandala course for several years, but there was always an excuse not to. There are no excuses this year. It’s something I very much want to do and since we are not traveling anywhere anytime soon, the money to enroll was available. (Traveling has its expenses. Not traveling means we’re not incurring those expenses. Even with M’s cut in pay — due to the pandemic — we’re okay, and the cost of the course is really quite affordable.)
Today was meant to be a cleaning day. Honestly. But then M and I took our bicycles out for a nice ride (about 9 miles) and when we got home he asked if I would cut his hair. It was getting pretty shaggy. (I like it shaggy, but he doesn’t.) The only hair I’ve ever cut was my own. I’ve been trimming my bangs since my last professional hair cut way back in January. What that means is that after watching a video for a “business-style” haircut, several times, I got to experiment on M’s head. No one will ever mistake his haircut/style as being professionally cut/styled, but I didn’t do too badly for the first time. Poor guy has to live with a couple of spots where I trimmed too much (there are not-quite bald spots and you might or might not be able to see his scalp), but a hat will cover that nicely if he feels the need to cover it. The great thing about hair is that it will grow back. And then I’ll get to try again.
(For those wondering, hair salons are not as bad as going to a restaurant — where, according to the latest science, you are 20 times more likely to catch the virus — but the virus is really on the march here and it seems best to wait it out. I will let my hair keep growing. As for M, he’ll be taking his chances with me again. Hopefully I’ll get better at it.)
I think that’s about enough from me today. Thank you so much for stopping by. Clouds have been moving in this afternoon, but that might make the sunset all the prettier. Let’s meet out at the Point. It’s relatively warm (about 65°F). A light jacket ought to suffice. Sunset is scheduled for 4:47 PM. I’ll be there about twenty minutes early to wander around and pick up litter, if there is any.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,611) Hiking around in the back-country on Assateague Island. For the first time in seven years, I found the horses that live out that way. Quite a few of them. Pictures coming to the blog soon. 1,612) Hoppin’ John for dinner. I found a big bag of dried black-eyed peas in the pantry and decided it was time to cook them. 1,613) Cutting M’s hair without making a complete mess of it. It might take a few more tries before I really get the hang of it, but he’s game and I’m willing. 1,614) Getting a little of the cleaning and decluttering out of the way. A start is better than nothing at all. 1,615) A nice bicycle ride this morning. M and I explored a few of the dead end roads just to see what was there. It was fun and interesting.