November 12, 2017:

Hola!

It's hard to believe, but winter has arrived early in my hometown. One week it was in the 70s and gorgeous outside, the next week it dropped down into the 40s and then boom, less than a week later, into the 30s. We've already had several hard freezes, the earliest that's happened since I moved here in 2014. Anyway, the trees had not even begun to turn color yet in the neighborhood - and now most of them are bare due to the many hard freezes and strong winds that blew most of the days last week. Wowsers! Today, however, the sun stayed out all day, there was no wind to speak of, and the temperatures felt positively balmy outside. I was very glad because I had to be out and about today.

So, the poor trees did not have a "fall" this year but we did get enough rain to ease my mind that my pines and shrubs will have enough moisture in the ground to survive the winter. The squirrels are SO fat and SO furry, I can't help but think they know we're in for a bad winter. Sigh. I'm way behind in everything including lots of garden clean-up that now I won't get to unless we get a few days of "Indian Summer," which doesn't seem likely this year. I did, however, get everything outdoors pretty much put away, except for the area rug (it needs to be "washed" with some soap and rinsed off) and the mosquito net curtains on my Shezebo. Now I'm already thinking about Christmas, and soon it will be here, before we know it! So, I figured it's about time I put up my "autumn" photographs from prior years as the seasonal header here at Maison Newton. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, that will be here soon and then it's into full-tilt Christmas decorating. Take care, everyone!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What's Your Clutter?

Hola darlings!

Today I saw this article at Yahoo News, and found it very apropos my current situation, as I've been "woken up" to the fact of clutter in my own home.  Not so much decorative objects -- but my books!  Oh my!  And my stacks and stacks of paper research all over the house, stashed here and there to hide it when company comes and then I forget about it...  Under beds.  Inside drawers, on shelves (overflowing sometimes).  Not to mention the cyber-clutter on my two laptops and yes, I have an ancient desk top upstairs that is no longer hooked up to the internet but holds vitally important images, irreplaceable photographs, and research.

So, what's your clutter?  Personally, I like me some clutter, but not too much.  Like Pappa Bear's chair, Mama Bear's chair, and Baby Bear's chair, I like me something that's just right.  For each of us that will be different, and that is what is so wonderful about decorating.  We can follow our own personal drummers and as long as we passionately believe in our vision and what we're doing in our homes, it will work -- for us! 

Excerpted article:

Why clutter matters and decluttering is difficult

"I feel like if I could just get rid of all this clutter, I could go on to do great things," I say as I am pouring out my heart to Jennifer Hunter, a perfect stranger who happens to be a professional organizer.

"Maybe that's why you keep the clutter," she says, without any hesitation. ...

Hunter tells me about the time she was organizing a client's house and a contractor who was there to paint the ceiling asked her what it was she did exactly.

As she explained, the painter began nodding. "I see," he said. "So you're sort of a therapist." ...

Clutter matters, Hunter says. It matters because it takes up space — not just in your surroundings, but in your head.  Of the two, the psychological effect of clutter is the most important.

"When we clear the clutter out of a space, people breathe a sigh of relief." The mood changes instantly. People feel lighter, more serene, more focus. "The effect is profound," she adds, "even when people say they don't notice it."

...

The other effects of stuff-gone-wild are equally compelling, even for those whose clutter status does not rise to hoarder levels.

Clutter is expensive: It costs an average of $10 per square foot to store items in your house and almost 10% of American households rent storage units, spending more than $1,000 annually in rent. One quarter of people with two-car garages can't even get their cars in there because they are storing their junk instead. Twenty-three percent of us pay bills late and incur fees because we have lost the statements.

How's this for a reality check? The average American spends one year of his or her life looking for lost or misplaced items, according to the National Association of Professional Organizers. Get rid of the clutter and you will eliminate as much as 40% of the housework in an average home.

...

But clearing the clutter and becoming organized is no easy feat. That's because a lot of what we hold on to is weighed down by emotional baggage.

People have intimate relationships with their stuff. It carries memories and obligations, reminds them of things they can't do anymore, things that upset them at one time, things they are feeling guilty about. Some of Hunter's clients refuse to part with gifts they don't like, simply because it was a gift. "Even if they hate it!"

Others may have problems with inertia. Depression and attention deficit disorder can become big barriers to becoming and remaining organized. Hunter advises clients with those types of inclinations to become really strict about keeping down the number of their possessions. If possible, don't bring stuff into the house. "Since your ability to wrangle it will be diminished, do your best not to take it on to begin with," she cautions.

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Clearing the clutter is doable. Becoming organized is doable. Like any other discipline, it depends on how motivated you are. Think of how a sudden ailment can drive you to change your diet and exercise habits, suggests Hunter. It may help to consider the morass, the fast-rising piles of junk, the quicksand of things that have no utility in your life in the same way.

...

If you want to be good at organizing, you have to know yourself.

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