Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Email Inbox Maintenance - Success!

On June 12, I decluttered my email inbox and after it was cleaned up I downloaded an app called Unroll.me to help keep it under control.  It has been about 6 weeks now using the Unroll.me app and it has made a tremendous difference in the management of my email inbox.  I'm pleased to say that I have maintained a relatively up to date inbox with only 6 emails currently in my inbox which require action on my part.  For me that is amazing.  The Unroll.me app gathers together multiple subscriptions and provides those daily/weekly/monthly emails in one massive email each day.  It is easy to review what is in the Unroll.me email and decide if any of it is of interest to me or requires saving (like special coupons and stuff).   I also can see the individual emails if I want to in the Unroll.me file folder.

I still have work to do in some of my individual file folders and I will be decluttering them (deleting old and obsolete emails) but for the time being, my inbox is functioning the way an inbox should function and I feel like a weight has been lifted.  The maintenance process is working well and that feels wonderful!

The more I use the app, the easier it gets..  I have updated my email subscriptions several times since I installed the app and have added more to the rolled up emails as well as the unsubscribe category.  I no longer dread opening up my email inbox.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Almost but Not Quite ...

I took a break on Saturday and returned to the Lillie House for a couple of hours today.  I ended up gathering 3 groupings of 27 Things so that my total to date is now 999.  What?!  I actually thought I was over 1,000 until I was updating the blog and did the math and realized I'm one shy of 1,000.  It is kind of funny really.  Anyway, today I made a lot of progress and am very close to clearing the entire interior of the house of stuff.  To be realistic I think I still have few days more work but I am very close and it is motivating.  Today I not only bagged up 3 big bags for Goodwill, I filled up a laundry basket with stuff to bring to my current home - things I need and things I will use.

The stuff pictured is a mix of what I had moved to the dining room from upstairs, as well as stuff that has been boxed or bagged in the garage.  I was surprised to find an entire big plastic bin of clothes, my clothes in the garage.  I recall storing them but had totally forgotten they were there.  All are clothes I will no longer wear but someone may.  I found an old doll that I had been given as a gag gift, some old empty binders, picture mats, more sheets, utensils, etc. that will all find a new home at Goodwill.

Tomorrow I will commemorate the 1,000th item in some fun way.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Big Impact

Over the past two days - Thursday and Friday - I met my 27 hours committment to the Lillie House project.  I also added another 54 items to the "moved out" category to bring my total to 972 items. On one hand I feel somewhat deflated that I have so much stuff to get rid of but on the other hand I remind myself that I have passed on some very nice things for others to have.  Most of my stuff has gone to Goodwill, but other stuff has gone to family and friends, and other organizations that can benefit.  Also, I have found many items at the Lillie House that are being incorporated into my current living space, bringing back good memories of our time at the Lillie House.  After all, we lived there close to 20 years and a lot of living was done in that house!

I'm committing to another 27 hours and would like to complete that before August 4 when we leave for our Oregon coast trip.  I'm confident I can make that happen.  This weekend I would very much like to get all stray items bagged up for Goodwill or moved into the garage as a transition point but won't commit because I'm not sure if it is doable or not.  I will definitely strive to make that happen.

The large basket trays above brought back memories of when I really used those trays for holidays.  I haven't used them in at least 15 years and they were stored way up in the garage and just full of dust. They are in good condition and I'm sure someone can use them.  The shoe holders were used off and on for years but again, haven't been used in at least 10 years since my daughter went off to college.  I almost kept the soap making kit and realized I won't make the soap.  It is hard to admit to yourself sometimes that you won't do something you'd like to do.  I have had the kit for at least 20 years - crazy but it was still hard to move it along.

I found a Christmas Tree stand in the garage that was used many years ago - still good and still usable so off to Goodwill with that item.   The sheets will go to my brother for his motor home along with the blanket.  Some pretty empty boxes which I saved for years and didn't use are also in this stash of things.  

On my way home on Friday I stopped by the Goodwill truck and dropped off two bags.  I think since I started the Lillie project  I have dropped off 15 bags of stuff.  Yeah - moving along and what a BIG IMPACT these 27 hours have made.  I feel as though I can see the finish line.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Are We There Yet?

Remember that familiar expression "are we there yet"?  Well I feel like that kid on a long trip asking "are we there yet"?  In reality I just want to be done with this project.  Yesterday I worked at the house for close to 3 hours and left tired and overwhelmed.  At home I felt totally demotivated about the project similar to how I felt a few days ago.  I know that this is par for the course, and the old saying it gets worse before it gets better rings true.  It just seems as though there is more stuff to deal with than when I began the project.  I know that is not true but it feels and looks that way.  Thank goodness I have kept such close track of my progress and I can count the number of things that have been removed from the house.  And I did identify another 54 things to be moved on so progress was made.

In keeping with small chunks of time on this project, I headed to house today after lunch.  I had errands to run on the way and when I got there, my husband Morris was there.  I hadn't wanted him to see the house until I had made a lot more progress but too late.  However, it turned out to be a good thing really.  First he was amazed at how much had been accomplished.  That was good to hear.   I was also able to ask him about a lot of the electronics stuff we have and so we made progress on identifying stuff we may sell at a garage sale in the future and he took a couple of items to sell on Ebay.  So it worked out very well.

After he left, I sorted through a few more things and gathered 3 big bags for Goodwill and also 1 bag for Friends of the Library.   Dropping items off at those two places every few days is helpful and keeps the house cleared of bags.  There is no going back once the items are delivered to those organizations!

A grand total of 918 items decluttered so far and I know I will hit the 1,000 mark.  Also with the additional hours from yesterday and today I have a total of 22.5 hours put into the project and another 4.5 to meet my committment of 27 hours.  I should accomplish that by Friday.   I will probably commit to another 27 hours once I meet this first goal!

As I finished today I did feel better and my motivation was returning.  I saw progress today that I hadn't seen yesterday and Morris' comments helped me feel like my hard work was recognized and acknowledged. This will get done, one step at a time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Taking Stock

Yesterday I worked over 3 hours at the Lillie House, 3.5 hours to be precise.   My primary goal was to see if I could clean the den carpet with the dry cleaner I have.  I took my Dyson vacuum cleaner and vacuumed the room multiple times, emptying the canister periodically until there was really nothing left to vacuum up.  Just the vacuuming helped make the carpet look somewhat better.  I did use the dry cleaner on a small area (about 2 feet by 4 feet) to see if it helped and it did okay.  I think my expectations may be unrealistic and the carpet looks really good where the furniture covered it.  However there are several areas that are heavily soiled.  I think I will use the dry cleaner on those areas before I bring in a professional cleaner.

I also continued to sort some of the stuff in the dining room and was able to pull together 2 piles of 27 Things.  I'm really letting go of stuff.  In some cases I'm not considering if I know someone who will want the stuff as I'm just trying to moving it on as quickly as possible.  As I've mentioned before, I find it somewhat disheartening to know I have accumulated all of this stuff that really no longer has value to me.  It is crazy!  My buying habits going forward are changed forever and that is a good thing.

The additional 54 items gives me a total of 864 items transitioned out of my life!  Some of the Lillie House items are finding  place in my current home and those are not being counted as part of the 27 Things.

I did pull a lot of items out of the little closet below the stairs.  That is where so many pillows came from.  The two stuffed bears were part of a basket I won at an auction and were never really displayed - someone else will enjoy them.  I can't believe the Christmas lights I had below the stairs and that goes to show how we have things stashed and go out an buy replacements because we don't even know what we have!  Again, it is crazy.

After my work at the house I made a trip to Goodwill and left them 5 bags and drove immediately over to Friends of the Library and left them 4 bags.  I'm trying to make trips periodically to really move the items on.

More work ahead.  I've completed 18 hours of work to date with another 9 hours to go to meet my 27 hours goal.  I'm ready.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Committment to Small Steps

This weekend, I continued to work at the Lillie House and made substantial progress.  On Friday, my goal was to continue to work on moving items from the other upstairs rooms to the downstairs dining room.  Although the front bedroom had been completely emptied out, the upstairs hallway still had a lot of stuff stacked on the floor and against the wall.  I also vacuumed the downstairs den and hallway which are completely empty.  I was hoping to see some of the dirt come up by vacuuming but it wasn't really successful.  I will have to make a trip with my Dyson this coming week and vacuum the entire house. I will then have a carpet cleaning company come in to clean the carpets.

Friday's Haul

Saturday's Haul

Sunday's Haul #1

Sunday's Haul #2

I worked about 7.5 hours total this weekend (I'm including Friday).  On Thursday I put in about 2 hours as well.  To date I've spend 14.5 hours working on clearing, moving, and cleaning up the Lillie House.  All I need now is another 12.5 hours to bring my total to 27.  I may put in more hours than 27 if I keep at it like I have this past week which is okay.  I used the 27 hours primarily as a motivation tool.  

What I have found interesting is that the small chunks of time - an average of 2 hours each visit, has been extremely effective in getting things done.  I don't think I would have accomplished as much if I spent a full 8 hour period each day as the work is extremely tiring physically, and emotionally it is taxing too.  So these small steps have reaped big rewards in my opinion without totally wiping me out.  

As I finished up today, I have removed everything from all of the upstairs rooms.  The living room has several big bags that need to be taken to Goodwill, and there are also several stacks of books to be taken to Friends of the Library.  The dining room is full of stuff and the kitchen has some items in it as well.   While I worked this weekend, I also took the opportunity to check items in the garage and some of those items have been included in the 27 Things.  For example, most of the items in Sunday's Haul #2 were from the garage.  Clearing the garage is part of the project as well and I made progress there.  

For the upcoming week I plan to go through the dining room items and either give them to Goodwill or move them to the garage.  I will completely empty the kitchen as well (except for the dining table). Also the space under the stairs needs to be cleaned out.  Once this is done the house will be emptied of contents with just a few pieces of furniture - an armoire, a coffee table, a light bamboo chair, and the kitchen table.  The armoire and coffee table can be moved with help so I can't guarantee I'll have that done next week.  I will be able to have a carpet cleaning company come in though because the house will be empty.

So to date, with the 104 items from this weekend, my total items cleared from my space is 810.  That is a lot of items and I'm happy most of them are going to serve another family.  In this process at the Lillie house, and for expediency, I have thrown things away that I have not counted.  

I'm tired but very satisfied with the progress made.  I feel encouraged that this will get done and the process has been therapuetic too.  I really have needed to go through things to decide what to do with each item and some things have found a place in our new home too.  For me that is a win-win.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Goal Achieved!

So my goal for yesterday was to clear out the front bedroom entirely and I did just that!  Here is a picture of that monumental accomplishment (unfortunately I don't have a before picture to back up that claim)!   The room was loaded with boxes, books, and misc. stuff and much of that has been moved on while other stuff was just moved to the dining room until decisions can be made about where it goes!

While at the house, I was able to come up with another two groupings of 27 Things.  Since I'm finding a large number of books I will try to donate most of them to the Friend's of the Library rather than to Goodwill.

With another 54 items moved on it brings my grand total to 702 items decluttered and given a new life.  I am pretty sure I a going to make the 1,000 mark!  

This whole process is tiring and at times depressing too.  How can one family have so much stuff they don't use and in some cases don't even know they have.  Why do we feel we need to hang on to stuff?  I listened to Gretchin Rubin's Happiness podcast yesterday where she and her sister Elizabeth Craft talked about discarding useless items.  In the discussion it was evident that people do have a hard time discarding things that no longer serve a purpose in their lives.  I definitely know I am not alone in this.  One of the key learnings I got from listening to the podcast was that people in general have an easier time letting go of something that is no longer useful if that item has been fully used up and or worn out.  I definitely can relate to that.   I think that is what I find so discouraging as I go through my stuff as it has not been used up, etc.  I have found things that still have the tags on them! So for those things that still have life in them, the key is to move it on to a person or organization that can use it or will value the item.

The entire decluttering project has definitely changed my purchasing habits and I'm buying much less that I have in the past and I'm also making sure I use what I have before I buy a replacement.  That is probably one of the most positive outcomes of this project for me personally.  And it really is a worthwhile outcome as I move forward.