Seems like it wasn't too many months ago that I decided I wasn't going to spend time every week on my declutter project and yet here I am, not too much later, feeling like I am drowning in clutter again. Which really isn't true - if you could see my spare bedroom right now, it is an oasis of clear surfaces and tidiness. I like to stand in there and look around from time to time to remind myself that it is possible, I find it very calming! :)
It's mostly just a feeling I usually get this time of year after spending most weekends at the cottage and evenings during the week doing anything but decluttering. No matter how clean my house is (and it is generally so, thanks mostly to my wonderful cleaning lady and the fact that I have to tidy up every two weeks before she comes!) After a few months of this, I start to get a little panicky when I can't find things easily, usually because things aren't put away where they belong but have been tossed quickly in a temporary spot to linger for much longer than they should. In my head, it starts to feel like I am living in the middle of this room:
It actually started to bother me back in June when we went for a birthday lunch at work and I took some photos on my camera, then couldn't find the little adaptor piece I need to download the photos onto my camera. I had a feeling that I had put it in a safe place, I just couldn't remember where that safe place was! Too much time was spent going through drawers and what I thought were the obvious places with no success. Eventually I gave up looking for it (and even thought about buying a new one, only I was too cheap to spend the $10 replacement cost, knowing it had to be somewhere in my apartment!!) but the knowledge that was missing was nagging at the back of my brain all this time. Then lo and behold, last week I opened a previously unnoticed shoe box full of little bits and pieces that I vaguely recall scooping off my dining table in a moment of "instant cleanup" and there it was. [Note to self: the instant cleanup system works like a charm as far as tidying up quickly when company is coming over but is totally useless unless you go back to that box as soon as possible afterwards and put things back where they belong!! The hours wasted looking for things that go missing in that process just don't make it worth the time you save cleaning up.]
The crisis point hit earlier this week, when I couldn't find the beaded paper doll I had made for the Toronto Bead Society Bag of Beads Challenge back in March. I was excited to learn a few weeks ago that for the second year in a row, my piece has been chosen to be featured in the annual TBS calendar on the Bags of Beads page. The bad news was that I couldn't find Esmeralda! Once again, I was thinking I had put her away in a logical and safe spot. But after looking several times in several places (even checking some of the same spots over and over again, thinking perhaps I just hadn't checked carefully enough) with no success, I knew I would have to make a concentrated effort this weekend to find her because the winning items are due to be photographed by a professional photographer this week and were supposed to have been delivered last week. I had visions of having to turn down the honour of being included in the 2012 calendar (over 120 entries this year, 12 of whom are chosen to represent the months of the year, 4 for the "Hall of Fame", 5 honourable mentions and me being one of 5 artists chosen for the BOB page) simply because I couldn't find the damn doll!
After spending most of this afternoon going through my dining room shelf by shelf, box by box, drawer by drawer, examining all of my beading and art supplies for places where the doll might be and decluttering along the way, I eventually found her. Of course, she was nowhere near where I had spent several hours looking, but instead tucked neatly in a pile way across the other side of the living room, in the very last place I looked in desperation when I had looked everywhere else! Ironically, in a pile that I'm sure I checked at least twice before. Eureka!!
However, this afternoon's sorting through turned up several items that will come in handy for the jewellery I am making for the sale in two weeks, so it was well worth the time spent. And all the cluttered corners and shelves are now dusted and tidied and I have a general idea what is being kept where again. Time to get back to making said jewellery pieces, which is much more fun! However, I hearby resolve to go back to spending time focusing on decluttering on a regular basis and hopefully the reminder of this painful lesson will be enough to keep me motivated going forward.