I am feeling joy today. I had my Hemoglobin A1C test done last week to determine my average blood sugar level over the previous 3 months. I am so happy to report that my average blood sugar was 6.6 % and less than 7 % which is the target. Normal level is 4.5-6.0 so I still have a little ways to go in getting it back to normal. I've been working very hard since October and taking not only my pharmaceuticals and newly prescribed pharmaceuticals, but alternative medicines as well. I've also cut my food intake in about half. I eat half at one meal and the other half at the next meal or the next day. Exercise is key also. But due to the pain levels in the knee(s), I simply haven't been up to it. It is hard exercise just getting around the house and going out of the house for the odd errand or appointment. I do intend to get back to exercise of the official kind as soon as I am able. Another thing I am doing is making sure I consistently take my medication and at more or less the same time every day. I admit I had become quite lax in that regard. I pray I can sustain my renewed efforts and get back to normal sugar levels soon. I'm also feeling some joy over completing a simple household chore. I cleaned and re-organized a cupboard and a drawer Saturday and managed to get my bags of flour off of the floor and into the cupboard. I decided that for now I do not need an airtight container taking up my limited floor space. I don't have any pests so this should work out fine.
I've put the flour into one of the very few of my cupboards that is deep enough. I'll just have to be careful when I want to take flour out of the bag so I don't spill it all over the place. I could purchase glass or plastic containers and fill them with flour before putting them into the cupboard. But I've already got so many containers in use and I really don't want to add any more. I will try this new approach for awhile and see how it works out. I see that I also need to re-arrange my other cupboards soon for greater efficiency. I know there are things in there that I no longer need and can give away. It seems there is always something that needs cleaning. I'm sure it is like that at your house too.
All the oil (for cooking) and vinegar for cleaning is on the top shelf. I buy big jugs of olive oil, canola oil and vinegar and then decant them into smaller containers for ease of use. At the very back of this shelf is where I store my thermoses (not in the photo). On the bottom of the cupboard are my bags of white flour and whole wheat flour. In front of the flour bags is a small basket where I keep an apron or two, some cloth serviettes and extra boxes of plastic baggies.
This drawer used to hold my good cutlery in a storage box which has been moved to the top of the kitchen cabinets because they aren't used so often. I now store all my baggies (which used to be where my flour bags now rests) and some tea towels and "good" linens which were gifted to me behind all the baggies. I don't have a linen closet or a pantry and so you can see that finding appropriate storage for everything is a challenge.
I posted my giveaways on Freecycle on Saturday and within an hour or two my toiletries and books were spoken for but not the kitchen items. Perhaps when I wake there will be some expressions of interest for those items too. By today (Sunday) I hope to have most of my giveaways out the door. Not bad since I only put them together the day before yesterday. I have more purging to do. I think one more good round of purging (maybe two) ought to do me for quite awhile. Then I need to finish the paperwork on which I made a good start a few months ago.
For those that have followed my blog for awhile, you will know I've been doing giveaways on Freecycle and to the local charity shops for awhile now. I would say that I've been at this major decluttering project for at least a two and a half year period of fairly steady going. It started after the fire two floors above me and after having to move out of my home and into a hotel for four months. (While in the hotel I started my blog as a way of trying to keep positive through illness, fires and family sickness). Living in the hotel with only the barest of essentials, I began to realize just how llittle of what we own is actually used, needed or missed when you don't see it. I was also struck by the overabundance of my "stuff" as compared to many in Africa where I had travelled not so long before the fire. I also had to move my mother into a nursing home and had to deal with disposing of all her stuff. Years and years of accumulated stuff which she never wanted to get rid of for various reasons, many of them sentimental (I've inherited some of her ways, ha!). It was ironic that someone who wouldn't let anyone go through and organize or help her sort, had to completely rely on someone else to sort it all and make decisions when the time came.
I decided that I needed to offload a lot of my stuff and start to live more simply. There were multiple reasons for making this decision including: to have a greater sense of freedom when I no longer had to maintain or look after so much"stuff", to live gratefully for what I have and more mindfully about what God has given me and how he wants me to use it, to live more frugally so that I could be of greater help to my family, charities that I value, and the missions in Kenya through my friends and contacts there.
It has taken me a lot longer to go through my things than I originally thought. due to a variety of reasons. In the meantime I've also inherited quite a lot of "stuff" from my mother and previous to that I have "stuff" from my sister and all of that needs to be sorted as well. Much of what remains is photos and paperwork which requires more of my time to carefully scrutinize and decide what to keep and how to organize it. From my mother I also have a lot of crafting items which I don't want to get rid of though I have gotten rid of her yarns, patterns and a lot of fabric. I've kept more fabric than I reasonably have room for which explains part of my feeling so "crowded. I do want to use as much of the fabric as I can and I have several projects in mind. I just need time.
I'll be so glad when it's all finished though I realize that keeping on top the clutter is a never ending cycle. I don't think I will ever again be undertaking such a huge purge as I've just done, especially after I finish the paperwork. From this entire process I've learned about my weak spots (books, toiletries, clothing and paperwork) and where I need to keep a watchful eye in future (spending and accumulating). I've also learned that I do not need to keep years and years of paperwork or every single photo or keepsake that was ever in my hands or in the family hands. I've learned that I need to keep those things most meaningful and let go of the rest though that process takes lots of time and organization. I've also learned that some things can be turned into memories (example, some of my sister's clothing will be incorporated into a quilt or two for her children) and some of mom's fabrics can be turned into quilts for her use and for other members of the family. I can also make some photo albums with select photos for key family members and get rid of the rest. I've learned a lot through this process. I've probably missed out a few lessons learned but these are the ones that come to mind at this moment. Within the next year I hope to have made more gains and gradually get rid of things currently being stored (photos, books, fabrics, craft supplies, papers). In conclusion, this whole process has been a very long and sometimes challenging journey. But there is "joy" in the journey also. It is a simple joy borne of overcoming challenges. Clutter. Who knew it held so many lessons for me?