Posted in Clutter, Simpler Living, Small-House Living

When Decluttering Isn’t

I always thought decluttering meant ending up with less stuff. At least that’s how I do it. But buying organizers for 30 different tea bags or repackaging food that already comes in perfectly good containers seems wasteful to me. If you have less stuff, you’ll have less to organize (and to buy organizational systems for!)

It’s all about freedom; the less stuff you have, the less time you spend organizing it, so you’re free to do what you really want to do (unless you really want to organize tea bags, in which case, knock yourself out!)

Posted in Writing

The Lure of a Notebook

When I began writing, in my teens, I used a small turquoise portable typewriter, a hand-me-down from a relative. My parents gave me a nicer typewriter for my high school graduation. In journalism school, I learned to compose on the keyboard. By the 1980s, I had one of those new-fangled Amstrad word processors. Then the computer took over my life; every book I’ve written was created on a computer keyboard.

Nevertheless, I find notebooks incredibly appealing. It warms my heart to learn that I am not alone.

Posted in Simpler Living

Leaving the Rat Race

This writer suggests that the way forward for young families may be to imitate their forefathers and move to a cheap small town where they can work from home and escape the rat race while avoiding expensive child care and commuting costs.

I agree, although I find his tone rather depressing, as though this lifestyle is a lesser one that you’re forced into. I have lived this lifestyle for many years.

While he’s right that “smaller cities and towns lack many of the cultural and professional amenities of larger urban areas,” it’s no great loss when you compare it to the affordability and freedom of living off the beaten path. Being able to raise your kids yourself, pay less for a home with enough space for a family….these are huge advantages during the child-raising years.

Now that there are so many more work-from-home jobs thanks to technology, this is an ideal solution. I suspect it’s why I’ve been seeing so many out-of-state license plates around my small town lately. I think a lot of people are moving here to experience less stress and fewer expenses. Even though houses sell with multiple offers in mere days lately, they’re still affordable compared to the city.

Posted in Clutter

She Just Keeps Stacking

I have a relative who easily qualifies as a hoarder. She has stuff everywhere: stacked up against furniture, stacked on the counters, stacked in closets. She keeps all four bedroom doors closed when we come over; I can guess why. Behind her shower curtain (yes, I peeked) is a stack of wet towels piled as high as my hip.

That word stacked is significant here. She has run out of places to put things so she just stacks them wherever she can. I find it very alarming. I think it sets off my claustrophobia to see so much stuff at one time, all those stacks.

Once when we were visiting, a bunch of stuff suddenly fell off the top of a bookcase, startling everyone. She was embarrassed, and I felt bad for her. That was a few years ago, and there is still a stack on that bookcase.

Back when I had a big house and lots of kids, and lots of their clutter in addition to my own, I was not a stacker. My counters were fairly clear, my end tables uncluttered, and my bookcases topped by one or two decorative items. You would never know that I had a lot of stuff because it was all in my basement. I regularly cleared out the living areas, but having no time to go through everything, just put it all in the basement and the crawl space.

This worked fine until we suddenly sold our house and had less than a month to get out. There was no time to go through anything, much less everything. We lugged it all out of the basement, into trucks, and off to storage, then spent the next couple of years going through it, and eventually selling or donating the lions’ share of it.

It’s not as though I forgot all that stuff was down there. In fact, I used to dream about burning everything in the basement so I wouldn’t have to deal with it. The problem was that I knew about 10% of the stuff was either important papers or treasured keepsakes. I just never had time to find those things until I was forced to.

This is the problem with my relative. She is not a particularly busy person; she doesn’t work and her kids are grown. She just hasn’t been forced to deal with her clutter. And so she continues to stack it to the ceiling. *Shudder*