Decluttering 2.0

I’ve made some headway on my decluttering. I now have my desk set up with my bills, correspondence, laptop, journal, and the current writing books that I’m reading. Though there are some knick-knacks there, for ME the empty space is amazing and I stared at it in wonder because it looks “empty” even though it’s not.

The empty space is making me rethink how I organize my room. I’m not used to empty space, I’ve always had every corner filled, every flat space covered, and even the floor isn’t immune when I wanted to store things. When something is “empty”, I just have the urge to put something there and cover it up.

Before I had to completely reorganize everything because of the remodel, I had a bout where I was slowly trying to reclaim the empty space in my room. I couldn’t stand the emptiness, so I took large sheets of paper, wrote “empty space” on them, and placed them in the parts of my room where I managed to clear the clutter. The signs kept the spaces from being “empty” and driving me up the wall and reminded me not to reclutter them with other things.

I’m wondering if I’m going to have to do something similar. If this emptiness on the desk bothers me, what about the large spaces between my bed and the walls? What about the flat spaces on my furniture?

So, I’m continuing to take this decluttering slow. I couldn’t handle it if it was done too fast, before I could get used to the empty space.



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The organizing book I’m using suggests to organize books by size. So, my books are neatly stacked in piles, waiting for me to find space to put them all away. I would like to to weed some of them out, but I don’t have the space to sort them by type and see the redundancies. I decided to read them by size, so I could go through them one pile at a time and not declutter something that I wanted to read first.

I’m reading the mass market paperbacks first. They’re the shortest, and there’s so many of them that it will save a considerable amount of space if a lot of them could go.

The first book in this endeavor is the Last of the Mohicans. It’s challenging, partially because of the vocabulary and partially because I find the characters stupid and inane. :-/  I’m trying to accept that strong character development wasn’t a big issue then like it is now, that action and adventure were enough to carry a novel along and make it popular (similar with action movies now…..), but it’s still something that bothers me because after a while the action cliches wear themselves out and there isn’t anything of substance left.

It also bothers me that against my piles of books, my analysis of this one book doesn’t really make a difference. Even if I’ve got over my annoyance and read it (and maybe found something redeemable in it), I’ll still have a large pile of books to sort through, and maybe one of them will probably will annoy me just as much Mohicans does.

I think any other person would chuck Mohicans in the donate/trash pile easily, but in the cult I grew up in all classics (especially ones with no vulgarity and sex) were good books and if you didn’t like them then there was something wrong with you and you needed to read more into the text to get at least something out of it. I still have that mentality, even though I’ve left the cult.

So, I’ll probably try to finish Mohicans. It will definitely not be put in my re-read pile, so I can get rid of it then.

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We got 14 inches of snow today. I was humming “I’m dreaming of a white Halloween” to myself all day as the snow fell.

I went outside and rescued some potted plants, putting them in the basement where they could dry out without dripping water on anything important.

But it was hard choosing which plants to save. I love them all, but as I stood staring at them I kept imagining how much work they would need to care for them all when I already have so many houseplants. So I grabbed my hens & chicks, another succulent, my lily, and my geranium. It hurt leaving the rest outside to die.

But I read somewhere that Autumn and Winter are seasons of rest in nature. Perhaps it’s obvious to most people, but as I was staring at my plants it made me think that leaving them there was a period of rest for me. I can relax and focus on other projects and rebuy many of those plants again next spring.

And it reminded me that I have a hard time letting things go. I put hours of work into my plants and leaving them outside makes me feel like a quitter. (Even though most of them were annuals and would have died anyway.) I have this problem with many projects; I refuse to give up on things, investing more and more time while it gets harder and harder for me to quit.

Resting isn’t something I do well. I’ve read only one book in the last three months. I’m normally a great reader, and I’ve been mentally abusing myself for my lack of reading effort and “laziness”. I was inside and outside, working with my plants and reading up about them. But now that the weather is cold, I want to curl up in the bathtub with my favorite doesn’t-matter-if-gets-wet-paperback and lounge there for hours while the world freezes away.

And it took a freak snowstorm to remind me that I need a break. That things have their seasons for a reason and that it’s okay for me to change. I don’t have to like or do things all the time for me to enjoy them and I’m not a quitter for choosing to do something else with my time.

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The whole house (except my Father’s man-cave) has been getting repainted. It’s been hard to move everything away from the walls, try to eat while there’s a strong smell of paint in the air, and generally live life amidst piles of stuff that can’t be put away.

I have a LOT of stuff and it took me 6+ hours to move everything away from the walls of my bedroom. Right now it’s still there because I can’t move furniture until I vacuum the floor.

Seeing how much stuff I have though has been making me feel overwhelmed about sorting through things, putting things away, and figuring out where I want my furniture to go back to. I’m an ISTJ, so it’s really hard for me to live without planning things to the most minute detail. My room is too much, I just stare and can’t focus on getting it back together. So, I bought a book. I like this particular book because it makes a few references to the psychology of clutter, but it’s just at the beginning. The rest of the book is mainly lists on decluttering/organizing specific areas of your life. I thought if I can’t think of a plan on my own then I’ll buy a pre-made one.

I’ve started to get all my papers in some sort of order, but I need to buy a new file-box, so that’s been put on hold. I am a bit worried because some of my personal documents went missing during the reorganization and I have no idea where they went. I hope they turn up within the next couple weeks.

Now I’m trying to get all of my craft stuff together. It was scattered in various places around the house and putting it all in one piles is making me see how much there is of it. :-/  I don’t want to throw things away (craft supplies are expensive!), but hopefully I can consolidate some things and have a smaller space-footprint.

Decluttering is hard for me. It’s hard for me to focus on one area at a time when my room is in such disaray, even though I know that I will get to everything eventually and that I don’t have to do it all at once. I just try not to look at it when I’m in my room and pretend it’s not there.

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I don’t know if it’s related to the cult, health problems, sugar withdrawal from being on SCD, but I keep alternating between having intense insomnia and extreme need for sleep. Sometimes I sleep for 10 hours, but won’t be able to get to sleep until 2 am.

The strange result of all this is that I get woken up at various places in my sleep cycle and have been remembering a lot more of my dreams. I rarely have nice dreams, so it’s usually not IF it’s a nightmare, but how much of a nightmare it is.

The one this morning was interesting. There was a lot to it, but the most vivid part was where I was sitting in a kitchen sink and my dream Dad (who bore no actual resemblance to my real Dad) was pouring oil on me so he could burn me alive. My brother had died multiple times and used up all his lives and killing me would bring him back. My dream Dad loved him more than me.

The odd thing about my nightmares is that I’ve become used to this level of violence. I can’t control my dreams (like some people I know), but I was able to stay calm and told myself to stay asleep so I could see where the dream went. As this scene progressed I could see more and more how sad my father was about my dead brother and I felt sorry for him even as he kept pouring oil over me.

(This scene has some parallels in real life because my mother favored my sister when I was growing up.)

I used to think this was normal. TV is pretty violent, so I chalked it up to movie/TV overexposure. But even when I went on a media-fast and cut those things out, they still continued. And when a group of friends and I were talking about dreams, I was the only one who remembered them from a young age and who had so many nightmares.

I am hoping that as I progress on SCD/sort through cult trauma/whatever it is that’s causing these, that they’ll eventually go away.

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SCD: Day 5

I have cheated a little bit. A couple cookies here and there, a gumdrop of my favorite Halloween Candy (Bat Dots), some bacon and  other small things I can’t remember. But considering how much I can eat and how much of a sweet tooth I have, I think I’ve done well.

The biggest hurdle thus far is that I’m the only person doing SCD and people keep leaving their cookies and sweets on the counter and putting their illegal left-overs in the fridge. I constantly have to look at food I can’t eat.

Another difficulty is actually eating ENOUGH food. Now that starches are gone, I’m eating a lot more less-calorie-dense foods like apples, salads (with no dressing), and lean meats. My housemate jokes that I’m always eating, even though I’ve dropped a few pounds. When I’m full from dinner, I leave any leftovers on the counter and eat them a few hours later because I’m hungry again.

I am feeling better.

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SCD: Day 1

Today I’m starting the full Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). I’ve been rotating food families since July (that’s what some food allergy books suggested) and slowly been weeding out the junk, so this won’t be a cold turkey change for me.

I also have a LOT going on the next upcoming weeks, so I’ll be skipping the intro and just eating legal foods. This goes against what BTVC suggests, but the reality is that I don’t have a few days to eat chicken and carrot soup and go through intense die-off.

These are some fried apples that I made with peeled apples, chopped walnuts, grape juice, cinnamon and honey. They definitely could have been better (I’m not a great cook), but I am also reminding myself that I’m unfairly comparing my humble (if legal) attempt to Cracker Barrel’s sublime (and illegal) apples. My taste-buds have certainly changed since July, but I’m sure it will take a while for the change to catch up to my childhood favorite comfort foods.

That fact that apples are one of my favorite foods is why I picked this recipe as one of the first ones I’d master. One of my favorite pick-me-ups when I’m having a bad day is getting a favorite snack, but SCD forbids all of my other comfort foods. I’ve never met an apple I didn’t like, so fried apples it was. 😛

Another change in my eating habits is that I no longer eat large meals. It happened gradually, but I went from eating large meals to eating many small portions throughout the day. My stomach feels a LOT better, even if I have to put up with foraging jokes from non-SCD family members who think I’m always eating. I plan on keeping this up with SCD.

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