Day 96: There’s Been A Change Of Plans

9,600 things gone, only 400 to go!

“I thought we were gonna buy some fish. – There’s been a change of plans.”

– Mary Poppins

This scene in Mary Poppins affected me profoundly as a child. One minute Mary and the kids are on their way  to the market to buy fish and the next (on the advice of a dog) they’re off to rescue Uncle Albert from the ceiling.

Abandoning the shopping seemed almost mutinous to a child from a very structured upbringing. In fact, I don’t think I was aware there was a “change of plans” option until Mary brought it to my eight year old attention.

I realized last night that it was time for a change around here. You see, doing inventory has been like going to the market to buy fish when I’d much rather be serving tea on the ceiling – or, at least, doing some uncomplicated decluttering.

I’ll quote myself from my project page:

It had to be something I could do in 30 minutes and it had to be something simple enough to do with one eye open on days that I only got 4 hours of sleep because of a sick child in my bed or an evening with friends that – Oh my gosh, look how late it is! – carried on into the morning.

Squirrel and I spent a good part of the week at the pediatrician’s office with our oldest son whose learning style continues to refuse to be categorized. Bless his complexity. Then I expended the rest of my mental energy alternately worrying and brainstorming about his classroom needs.

It was a relief to blitz the bedroom last night with no other goal than to rid it of one hundred more things. With Squirrel’s dresser to raid, it was a piece of cake. I got rid of magazines, photos (doubles), garbage, buttons, socks, and tickets from various sporting events. On my side of the room, I decluttered picture frames, books, boxes, clothing tags, socks, and underwear.

I lay on my bed this afternoon staring at my uncluttered closet from a new angle and feeling nothing but relief. Thank goodness I no longer have to decide between fifteen pairs of pants and twenty two shirts. I need all the mental energy I can to keep up with my family. I’m sure I’ll revisit inventory eventually, but, for the time being, I’ll be keeping it simple, that is, when I’m not coaxing giddy relatives down from the ceiling.


20 thoughts on “Day 96: There’s Been A Change Of Plans

  1. To me, minimalism is all about finding room to breathe – everyone will find this space differently, either with 83616194 personal possessions or 2, or with 24 hours of free time or 24 seconds – no matter what you need, ensure you find room to breathe 🙂

  2. Great post, I like your plan. I get bogged down in the details, and it’s good to remember what the point of the project was.

    My declutter count is at 9 🙂

  3. “In fact, I don’t think I was aware there was a ‘change of plans’ option until Mary brought it to my eight year old attention.”

    She really WAS magical.

    If inventory doesn’t float your boat, skip it. LIBERATION AHOY! This is the beauty of self-imposed projects and deadlines; you can flex/alter/obliterate them without having go consult your boss, write a proposal, or confess to your spiritual leader. Sweet relief.

    • Mary changed my life. Inventory was sinking my ship. I’m not sure who I thought I was with my spreadsheets and calculator. I will do a clothing count and a bathroom cabinet count because those are actually interesting (if only to me) but as for counting the nails in the garage – I’m out!

  4. Good for you. Only you can know when you need to take a step back and breathe for a little while. I often think, “wouldn’t life be simple if I only owned a few things?” but the concept of counting what’s left in my home following decluttering is enough to send me running for the hills. I say, enjoy your newfound space and peaceful surroundings, the inventory is a chore for another day (or week or month!)

    • Thanks Erin, I am enjoying my newfound space so much. I don’t really want to ruin that with another chore. I already work up enough of a sweat running up and down my stairs with stuff to be decluttered. I suppose I’ll have to start working out when I’m finished.

  5. Hi Christine, this post really said a lot. I think not only have you decluttered your home but you have also been able to declutter yourself.
    As the days have passed, you have peeled back the layers of emotion and you’re now heading for the final post. You have a clutter free spirit as well as a clutter free home. You’re seeing the stuff that’s important to you instead of that big pile of clutter called life.
    I think the inventory was the final piece in the puzzle – why do stuff you don’t enjoy, why make life more complicated than it is when infact you just want tea on the celiing.
    Go Girl – you’ve now got wings – all together now “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down……………………………………..

  6. Oh Christine, I do relate to the need to change plans. It’s been a tough road to make peace with having only 24 hours in the day and so much we want to accomplish. Nary a weekend passes when I’ve planned to clean the entire house AND weed the garden and have had to be satisfied with getting the bathroom clean OR vacuuming OR working in the garden…

    Breaking things down into smaller goals (i.e., 100 things/day) seems to help as does embracing the fact that boy #1 may be a fabulous contractor rather than the lawyer/doctor/teacher I imagined he would be. The more time I spend with the children, the more I realise we, as parents, don’t have nearly the influence that biology does.

    • I’ve been burning the candle at both ends which can only mean one thing – burnout. I’m relieved to let the inventory drop for now at least. Smaller goals have definitely been the key for me. I’m very familiar with the “OR’s” you describe above. Although, (guilty secret) – I never set foot in the garden.
      I have shockingly different children who have completely changed my perspective on nature vs. nurture. My oldest may never have the same positive school experience as I did no matter how hard I wish for it to happen. However, I can honestly say his snowboard/skateboard experience surpassed my own by the time he was seven.
      Thanks for commenting. I just realized that not loving school isn’t the very worst thing that could happen to someone. : )

  7. Oh goodness, I’m glad there was a change of plans! I can’t even imagine how “fun” it has been to take inventory.

    However, you’ve given me inspiration to do so. And I have a feeling there will be quite a few “change of plans” on that journey 😉

    • Thanks Megyn. The inventory state of mind is really great for decluttering. My problem is I can’t hold two things in my head at the same time. I’ll settle for completing the 10,000 things and then deciding how to keep it from creeping back in. Inventory may well be a part of it. Your house looks great, by the way, I’d much rather do your inventory…

  8. Hi Christine. I love your Mary Poppins analogy. Sorry to hear that the week has not been the best of ones. Sometimes the best thing to do is to do what you are doing – keeping busy.

    I hope that things get better and that you have a nice weekend.

    Take Care,


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