Don’t Make Things Too Convenient For Yourself!

Sure, I’m passionate about my decluttering, but what really fires me up is not decluttering.

A case in point. These are the socks I’m wearing today:

I think the left one belongs to my son. I fished them out of the separated sock box. Yep, the separated sock box is full again and I’m only now suspecting the real reason for it. No one actually likes the socks in there! Honestly, if they were favourites, wouldn’t we have fished them out already?

Now, I have a high tolerance for mismatched socks. Same brand, but different colour or, same colour, but different brand is perfectly acceptable in my world. Likewise, same brand and colour but different style is still within the realm of reason. But one black, one white, one striped, one colour blocked and both ugly is so not OK with me, that every time I look down I feel a little further removed from polite society.

So, I dumped the box, including the ones on my feet, and sent the keepers off to goodwill.

Then, as promised, I took a picture of a place in my home that I’m not proud of this week:

Not too bad, you may think. But consider that I have a “furnished mudroom” adjacent to this space with oodles of closet, shelf, and drawer space and you may question our need to dump bags, sweaters, boots, puzzles and coats at the front entrance as though we were just squatting here. As I held up the camera I wondered if the room, as it stood, had anything to say to me. (I told you the socks put me in a bad place). Here’s what I “heard”:

Come on in, just throw your stuff down anywhere. I don’t care. Although, I wouldn’t sit down if I were you. Have you seen the stains on this rug? I don’t think they’ve vacuumed it for at least a couple of weeks. Mind the salt stains on the tiles too, they go up the mountain a lot and leave their boots anywhere they feel like it. Hang up your coat?! Not on my watch, just toss it on the railing. Mudroom? Ah, they never use it!

So, I tossed the rug, washed the floor, and enlisted my kids to wipe the stains off the door handles and light switches. It took all of fifteen minutes, and now I’m hearing something completely different from the foyer:

Keep it moving folks!  Mudroom’s over there. Don’t you know that leaving your stuff all over the place is a fire hazard. Do I look like a place to get comfortable? Go on and use that Pottery Barn bench over there – they spent way too much on it anyway.

I learned something important from these two declutterings. Don’t make things too convenient for yourself! Since I took away the rug from the front door, the kids and their friends automatically go to the  mud room to dump their belongings.  And, since I took away the “lost sock box” from the laundry room, I’m no longer tempted to fish out any old sock on my way out the door, and that has done wonders for my self-esteem!

Is anything at your place bugging you enough to do something about it?

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14 thoughts on “Don’t Make Things Too Convenient For Yourself!

  1. I’m loving that sock combo, very errr different! I keep all the odd socks in my laundry basket in the desperate hope of finding the partner one day. The consequence? A LOT of odd socks. I too have been known to wear a pair of mismatched socks on more than one occasion, not a good look, especially when unexpected visitors drop by (and why is it when I’m looking particularly raggedy the MOST immaculately dressed friends pop by? How does that work?) Anyway, the question you posed about anything bugging me enough to do something about it? Well yes there is. Not enough space / space we do have is not fit for purpose. So. We are having a 2 storey extension built at the back of the house. The utility room will be big enough to house all coats / shoes / bags etc. It will be bliss! As an added bonus all the bedrooms will be extended so ALL the kids stuff will be in their bedrooms AND if that isn’t enough we’ll also have ANOTHER spare room downstairs that can become a music room to house the piano, drum kit, 9 guitars, trumpet, cornet, african drums, percussion instruments, not to mention several amplifiers and various pedals, microphones and bits of technical equipment that I can’t even identify but am assured by son number 1 is important for his band! It’s a totally frightening prospect of having all the mess and chaos for several months but will be worth it AND cheaper than moving house. I’ve decluttered everywhere to within an inch of it’s life (but still finding stuff although not at the rate of last year – however saying that Jan 2012 did offer up 400 items – those cheeky little bits that are tucked right at the back of the drawer) Seeing your super hallway makes me even more determined to get our building project off the ground. Keep the posts coming, it reminds me that I’m not alone im my way of thinking plus Ecocatlady does make me laugh. I enjoy her comments as much as your blog!

    • Where is your blog Gal Berry? I enjoy your comments as much as writing my blog! And Eco Cat Lady kills me too. Her blog makes always makes me feel a little more human, if that makes sense.
      Woo hoo, 400 items in January is very impressive. I think you’re on the right track fitting your space to suit you even though renovations are a colossal pain. I find our house way too big, buy my friends with teenagers assure me that it will feel smaller and smaller as my boys grow. I’m hoping one of my kids will strike up a band. I never got to do the groupie thing as a twenty something, maybe I’ll get a second chance as a forty or fifty something! Thanks for commenting. I love the company!

  2. Have I told you lately just how much I adore you?! I love how your rooms speak to you. Mine do too. I’m glad to feel a bit less crazy for that 😉

    And I just chucked some socks too. My green guilt was building up because I didn’t keep the non-holey ones to use as rags (as if we need hundreds of rags). But now my drawers are much happier along with the rag basket. It really is taking away those little conveniences that force you to truly utilize what you have.

    Oh, and your house is gorgeous as always!

    • Hi Megyn! I love that you wrote: “It really is taking away those little conveniences that force you to truly utilize what you have.” So true, and I keep forgetting how worthwhile it is to do that. Ironically, it makes life so much easier.
      Ugh, I’m so familiar with green guilt. I wish there was a place to send old socks, underwear, rags etc., but I’ve yet to find it. I’m trying to train myself to buy less but better quality to off set the green guilt. If I can find a recommendation for excellent quality socks, I’d like to train my family to live with only five pairs each. I love how downsizing the wardrobe makes less laundry and if we only had five pairs each, I’d sure as heck track down the lost ones!
      I’m so glad you relate to talkative rooms! I often wonder about the people who have quiet rooms (and quiet minds). Is it lonely in there? Peaceful?

  3. I never asked my rooms to talk to me. Maybe I should shut up long enough to ask them and then listen!
    I miss my old house where the mud room was the actual side entrance which is the door friends and family always used. I don’t even have a mud room in the new house, it’s driving me crazy!

    • The mud room is such a blessing, if you use it! Fortunately, the kids are getting the hang of that (after 5 years in this house!). Our old house had a tiny, dark, front entrance that put us in a gloomy mood every time we crossed the threshold so I feel your “no mud room” pain! Hope you find some creative ways to work around it because, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from moving, it’s that no house is perfect!

  4. Generally when my rooms speak to me they’re coughing, and sputtering, and gasping for air amid all of the cat fur!

    OK… so I reading this filled me with enough remorse to at least get me to take the photo. And as I do it, I realize what the problem is. It’s this corner of my office where I have an old entertainment center turned shelving unit… the original plan was that it was where I would put “projects in progress.” The problem is that it’s turned out to be the place where all good projects go to die.

    Let’s see… there’s a pile of fabric scraps intended for the rag rug in the kitchen… which is ALMOST done, but not quite. And then there are the space blankets, quilt batting and velcro that were part of the insulated window coverings project… I made one, and it took three days, six broken sewing machine needles and more cursing than I care to admit.

    Then there’s the pile of books from my dad that I intended to sell on Amazon… I just keep thinking that I don’t want to list them in the winter when it’s a pain to get to the post office. And a box full of still ripening squash waiting to be made into soup… and a bunch of picture frames that were supposed to be filled with photos of the kittens, who are now almost 3 years old… and a pile of random shit that I intended to photograph for my stock photography web site… and a bunch of computer cables leftover from the death of my latest video card, and the box that the new video card came in… and boots that were too wet to go back in the closet…

    UUUUGGGG!!!

    Wait… I know what this is! It’s the good intentions lining up to pave the road to hell!

    Perhaps I need a “come to Jesus” moment with my many unfinished projects…

    • I love your honesty. I too have a place where all good projects go to die. It’s my office! In fact, I have all the materials to make my son a weighted blanket (it’s supposed to be calming) well, the project wasn’t! I keep thinking Ill take the stuff to my local seamstress and ask her to make it, but then I wonder if it wouldn’t be cheaper just to buy one online. Let me know if you figure out what to do with your fabric. And if you have a come to Jesus moment, I could use one of those too!

      • Still working on it… I fear my “come to Jesus” moments tend to end up more like hanging myself on a cross. Where’s the project fairy when you need her?

  5. Yes. The spare room closet. It has housed boxes that moved with us, that hadn’t been opened since I packed them up when I got married (almost 4 years ago). My current excuse is that my mother-in-law is currently using it for storage (the room that is) so I don’t have the space to sort. It will get done, but it will have to wait – or so I tell myself 🙂

    • Ah, the spare room closet! I found unopened moving boxes when I did my initial decluttering. What surprised me the most was how little of it was relevant or useful. Once I got the boxes opened, it wasn’t hard to let most of it go. You’ll find it a breeze when you get to it! In the meantime, I think you have a good excuse. 🙂

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