This and that, everything including the kitchen sink.

Posts tagged ‘service animals’

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Less is More

If you are in full hoarder mode, those words mean nothing to you. By definition that’s a pretty silly expression. I now have a new insight on that saying so stick with me.

I was pretty excited for my next installment with Five Star Organizing. Had a busy in-between time so I hadn’t done much extra, just put away the loosely organized bedroom stuff that was residing on my bathroom counters. Amazing how much faster that goes when you can actually get to the storage places!

I was ready for Julie and David when they came. This time we were tackling my studio, which is the messiest room in the house and also the one with the most triggers. We dove right in. I couldn’t rest on my laurels this time, I was needed to make judgement calls on what things were, what they were used for and if I wanted to keep them.  I hadn’t done much sorting in that room for about a year, after the cats overturned a shelving unit the floor was packed with stuff. I’d try every so often but it just overwhelmed and frustrated me. I couldn’t put anything away in spite of having plenty of shelf space. I’d manage to reach a bin, but putting it back was beyond my capabilities. Because it was so disorganized I didn’t know what I had, or if I knew I had it, where it was.

I knew however, with Julie and David’s help I was going to get through this. At this stage I knew I wasn’t going to break down or give up. Plus they are super supportive about the work I’ve been doing on my own. That helps immensely!

We put up the sorting table on my now clear bedroom floor, and they began hauling things in. David wanted to tackle the closet first. I had put extra shelves up in it but had never gotten around to putting much on them. It had several big totes of fabric, family records and miscellaneous craft stuff.  Whew!

studio closet 4-17

There is another shelf above that I couldn’t get a snap of. All my oversized canvases and art is safely in here now.

Soon piles of stuff mounted up on my table. Julie worked with me and ferried things back and forth. To my amazement at no time did I feel I had to defend my decision to keep something. The only thing that bothered me was being surrounded by so MANY things. A few times I had to cool down, as the weather had turned warm. Once when I knew my blood pressure was rising, Majyk, who had been staying out of the way while we worked, turned up to comfort me. We opened a few more windows and pressed on.

A few things were tough for me. Old photographs I didn’t want to keep but found too difficult to throw away. Crafts and unfinished projects that I would never finish. Two large totes of fabric. I was determined to get it down to one tote of fabric to keep and one tote of fabric to sell. I even managed to throw some of it out.

At one time I had enough fabric for a small store. I sewed professionally and had a small dressmaking shop. I inherited my mother’s huge fabric stash. I love fabric! It was charged with memories.  But I no longer sew that much and it’s time to move that vintage fabric out of my life and find it homes with someone who will love it and use it. I got it down to one tote of keeper fabric and one to be sold. With a few exceptions, I don’t plan to buy much fabric in the future. I’m saving only yardage I know I will use. And if I don’t use it within a year, that will go too.

I must have said “Oh wow! I needed that!” dozens of times as I unearthed treasures. Wide velcro that I needed to make Majyk a new service cat harness for instance. I filled boxes and boxes of donations. After a little time it got easier and easier to let go. I had a few twinges, but I knew it was time to move on and I now have the freedom to do that.

When the session was done, I walked into my new and improved studio. The floor was clear. I could reach every shelf. The closet shelves now held all sorts of goodies that were scattered before. I was shocked to see one shelving unit completely empty! I have no idea how they managed that!

Boxes were labeled. All the excess stuff that had somehow ended up in my studio was gone.  Best yet, the floor was cleared! I’d never had that much floor space before! Only my work table hadn’t been cleared, but that is a small matter. It was miraculous how much they had done in only four hours!

studio floor 4-17

Never seen this much floor in here EVER!

Now back to that saying, Less is More. I now have less STUFF than I have ever had in my life. For the first time I can reach everything in my apartment. I have a good idea of what I have, so I don’t need to keep buying duplicates. Because I have less junk, I can have more life. More time to be creative. Less guilt. I can use all the wonderful things I have collected. Finish projects that I begun years ago. There is MORE of the me that I am today. My past no longer has the controlling edge.

I feel positively euphoric today. Without a house full of junk I’m so light I could float away on one of those lovely spring breezes we had today.  I sleep better. Enjoy my cats even more. I eat better, cook more.

I still have a large storage unit to go through. I’m not intimidated by it any more. I have more faith in my ability to make good decisions to donate and discard. I can let go.

Today I know I am done being a hoarder.

studio before

This is a before picture. There aren’t any more because I couldn’t get much further in. Actually it had gotten worse than this!

 

studio downside 4-17

Same area minus the chaos.

studio back 4-17

Same area above the rolling taboret. Look! Empty shelves! This is the back wall of the studio

studio sideB 4-17

Left side of studio. I did have this organized but couldn’t get to it. Now it’s a clear path. Those boxes on the drawers to the right are all empty!!!

studio front right before

Right front. I had these nice bins set up but I couldn’t get to them.

Studio front right

Lovely bins waiting for goodies and labels.

studio desk 4-17

Front of studio. Haven’t done the desk yet

 

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Of Trash and Treasure

mess

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

Last night, my first night since I’ve stopped being a hoarder, I was going through my pictures looking for “before” photos. As I went, I deleted any that no longer pertained. I’ve been photo journaling my progress for years now. I used it to keep track of what’s in storage, projects, reminders.  Once I decided to quit being a hoarder I used it to keep track of my progress.

For a few years, back when I had a helper I pulled interesting bits of furniture from the dumpster area. I bought furniture at yard sales to repaint and donate to Friends Of Felines, our local no-kill shelter which has a very good second-hand store. I felt I was making a difference. A little spray paint, some ingenuity and it’s good to go, right?

Like most hoarders I pride myself in seeing treasures in other people’s trash. Since I had a clear destination planned for those treasures, I wasn’t buying into my hoarding right? I did paint and fix. Then I happily took some of my loot to the cat store.

They don’t accept furniture. They don’t have room for it. Back home it came, to sit in one of my many piles.

In looking through the photos I realized just how much stuff I had accumulated back then. I also realized that 98% of those scavenged project had made it back in the dumpster when I got serious about ending my hoarding. A new rule about not leaving furniture outside the dumpsters (I didn’t actually dumpster dive) stopped me from being tempted by seeing the potential. I had even forgotten I had kept that stuff in the first place, so I certainly didn’t miss it.

I no longer feel the urge to “rescue” abused furniture. I go to yard sales armed with a list of specific things I need, along with measurements and a tape. When I’m tempted by some odd or end, I think about where it is actually going to fit in my life NOW. Not in some vague hopeful future. After all, I like going to yard sales, if I find I need that something in that future, I’ll buy it then. Yard sales are now a completely different kind of treasure hunt. More of a challenge. It’s still fun to see other people’s stuff. I just don’t have to bring it home to enjoy it.

Sometimes trash is just, well… trash.

It’s so taxing….

Today I got my taxes done. I go to the same H&R Block office every year, when I dropped off my records my lady asked me if I was going to bring my service cat next time. I’m training Majyk to be my new go everywhere cat, so today I dug out his harness and leash an off we went. He was a gentleman during my tax session, so I decided a shopping trip would be a good idea. I have specific pet friendly business’ that I go to train my animals. We went to the pet store to buy some new treats. Majyk looooves treats. I needed lunch, so I went to a coffee kiosk for a blended drink for me and a puff of whipped cream for Mr. Majyk. (No, milk/cream isn’t particularly good for cats, but whipped cream is mostly air.) Then we went through the drive through for a sandwich, The nice man at the window was amazed to see Majyk sitting so calmly in the passenger’s seat. Actually, so was I, as this is only his fourth or fifth trip out. This time he seemed to know exactly what was expected.

A quick nosh at home and I was ready to head out again. As soon as I picked up the leash he was raring to go! Majyk, who frankly is a bit of a brat at home, seemed to know he was officially at work. We met lots of people and he got lots of attention which is the payoff for him. Since I am a sociophobe, the attention is on him and I have no trouble talking to people who stop to pet him. We compare cat stories and most people don’t realize cats can be trained. At the bank he schmoozed with the teller. At the Dollar Tree he settled down on the basket on my purse, looking for all the world like he was guarding it. He gets a little bored if I stay in the same place for too long, he prefers a more rapid ride. If he were human he would drive a bright red racy convertible. He is a Cool Cat.

I’m pretty stiff and sore today, so I’m pretty much keeping the status quo without worrying too much about making headway.  Lugging around a 13lb furry weight was enough for me. I’m back to being excited about cleaning and I’m looking forward to getting my bedroom in shape tomorrow. And a nice walk with Majyk if the weather permits.