I can hardly believe it, but the preliminary sorting of the house is done. And it didn’t take nearly as long as I’d expected. Last week I got so fed-up with the constant nagging voice in my head, worrying away about what still had to be done – the mess in the attic, all the cleaning that I’ve been avoiding/ignoring for weeks and months, and I decided that enough was enough – I had a free weekend and I was going to get the house done, however hard I had to work. So I went up to the attic on Saturday morning and got started, doing 15 or 30 minutes at a time and then having a 15 minute break – and to my amazement, by lunchtime my aim was achieved: all my possessions now have a definite home. I did a bit of decluttering, but focused mostly on simply finding somewhere for everything to go. I know that’s not the textbook method for decluttering, but it works for me – now I can go through each shelf, drawer, cupboard at my leisure and make decisions about what stays and what goes. (of course I’m fortunate in that things aren’t TOO out of hand, and I was able to allocate a space for everything – though it was a near thing).
So on Saturday afternoon I tackled the cleaning, doing a “good enough” job in each room. And on Sunday I spent the day quilting for the first time in months, able to think straight about it in an attic that is crowded but tidy, with space to move around.
It’s hard to explain just how different I feel. I’m thinking more clearly, I’m more focused, I feel liberated to make better decisions about how to spend my time.
Now I have to work out how to maintain the order and (relative) cleanliness without getting trapped into grinding routine or letting things slide again, which is what has always happened in the past. I’ve realised this week just how important my surroundings are to my well-being – I thought I already knew that, but it’s been underlined for me.
So I’m experimenting with how to divide my time on days when I’m at home most of the day between “work” and play. My first attempt, assuming about 16 waking hours, is to put 5 hours aside for getting up, meals, my regular online time, time that just gets lost, etc etc , and split the rest between what needs doing and what I want to do -with the proviso that I go with my energy – if there’s a day when I’m desperate to quilt all day or suddenly decide that this is the day to deep-clean the kitchen (the latter doesn’t happen very often, but isn’t unknown!), then I do that.
I’ve got my list of daily jobs, listed in an earlier post, backed up by the pages and pages of my to-do list, to focus me in the “work” part of the day. I also have an A5 diary in the kitchen with notes to remind me when regular or occasional jobs, eg cleaning, posting birthday cards, changing the bed, need doing. Now I have to spend some time playing with these tools and sort out what works for me and how, above all, to maintain some consistency.
I feel quite hopeful – I’ve come a long way, though with ups and downs, in the past few weeks, and to be beginning to give time to creative work again is another big boost.
There are plenty of other topics I need to think about too – further explorations to follow. These first posts have been tediously practical in their focus, but there are wider and deeper issues that I want to look at too.