Various Kinds of Tidying Up

The weather has been very nice here for a few weeks so have been  managing to do a bit of gardening  here and there between many other appointments and social engagements.  I'm still working on trying to finish planting then I will work on cleaning all the patio furniture.  Stage 1 water restrictions were effected on May 15th a full two weeks early due to the record breaking temperatures we've had.

Meanwhile in Kenya they are experiencing record rainfalls which are expected to continue through to June.

A friend's house was damaged and needs restorative work due to the heavy rainfall experienced in his town. They had to mop up all the water that had gotten inside the house too.  The heavy duty rains have only been occurring in the last few years and so restoration work is not a business there as of yet. Anyway I'm sure most people affected by such damage could not afford to pay for that kind of work so it is just as well.

You can see from the above photo that water had made it to the front door.

There was water all around the home.

 Though this home has been damaged, many others in Kenya have been flooded out of their homes.  Still others have lost their lives due to the torrential rains. The country's infrastructure is simply incapable of dealing with the forces of nature.

In related news, I watched a documentary last night that discussed the issue of recent extreme weather events and the scientific projections as to what we can expect in future.  In a nutshell, the weather is going to get even wilder and more extreme and cities and citizens will need to adapt.

Within 35 years it is said that Canada can expect:

• Double the number of extremely heavy precipitation events - with periods of drought in between.
• 5 times as many hot days over 30 degrees.
• 100% increase in wildfires.
• 50% less snowfall across the prairies.
• More hail and 50% more ice storms.
• More intense hurricanes.

We have certainly seen a lot of evidence of heavy rains starting earlier in the season, record breaking hot temperatures, devastating wildfires such as those going on right now in the north country and a lot more hail and ice storms than I can ever recall.  It is difficult enough for developed nations to cope with these kinds of extreme and rapid changes. It is that much more difficult for developing nations to do so.  If anyone is interested in the documentary, you may be able to watch it here depending on where you live in the world.

In addition to doing a bit of work outdoors and trying to enjoy the warm temperatures before they become too hot for comfort I am also working indoors.  I've been working on the ongoing decluttering & downsizing project that has literally been going on for years.  I seem to make so much progress and then end up right back where I started after a short while but I may have hit on a solution that will help me out.

I recently read the books, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and "Spark Joy:  An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up", both written by Marie Kondo, Japanese organizational consultant.  She calls her organizing and tidying method, the KonMarie Method.  I think it was Jeanie from the blog The Marmalade Gypsy who alerted me to this approach to tidying.  After I read her thoughts on the book I investigated and found a long waiting list for the book at the library. I put my name on the list and it took at least 8 months to get a turn to read it. I actually put my name on the list for both books.

The books are easy to read and I found many of the points made by Ms. Kondo resonated with me. The author writes about her early years of organizing and decluttering experiences while still a young girl living in the family home and afterwards. Everything she tried did not really work.  Ultimately she came up with her own method and that is what she now calls the KonMarie Method.  Up until now I've been decluttering and getting rid of things.  But I  have been decluttering slowly, a bit at a time over a long period. I also was still holding on to things that I did not use but felt bad about letting go of for various reasons.  In addition, I looked for more storage and better storage solutions thinking that would help keep good control over the "stuff".  Nothing ever worked for more than a temporary period.

Ms. Kondo's years of hands on experience led her to realize that slowly decluttering doesn't work. You need to do it all rather quickly and she recommends a time line of about 6 months.  She also takes a far more radical approach to letting go of things than I did.  Some of what she suggests seem amusing to the  average North American reader, for example, saying thank you to things that  you are letting go as they have served their purpose.  But in Ms. Kondo's spiritual practise all things are imbued with an energy so saying "thank you" to your sweaters and dresses is something that doesn't seem foolish to her or many of her in country (Japan) clients.  Even though I do not practise her religion I think there is value in appreciating those things we have taken the trouble to purchase or acquire and letting them go with good thoughts and acknowledgement that they have served their purpose. This approach probably frees your  mind not to focus on any feelings of guilt or remorse for wasted funds or for not keeping what someone might have given you. Finally, Ms. Kondo believes that more storage for your things is NOT the answer and in fact leads one to forget about what it is they actually own. I can attest that this is true in my life. I was amazed to discover just how many pair of tan coloured capris I own (*smile).

As soon as I finished the first book, I commenced clearing out my closets and dresser drawers again even though I just did a similar clear out within the last year or less. I made good progress using the method and hope to continue over the next few months to make even more progress. Ms. Kondo says to work on everything over a short period rather than a long period and the short period is about 6 months. I think I can make some good progress within that time frame.  She also outlines the sequencing of what to tackle in the process of tidying up and gives rationale for why she recommends a particular order.

I have to confess I did not strictly follow the KonMarie method in the work I've done so far.  It is because I do not like to have a big jumble of clothing piled on the floor, or on my bed.  That would be too overwhelming.  But I did try to adhere to the suggestions as closely as possible and make as much progress as possible.  For those that don't want to deal with all clothing at one time, she does recommend tackling a subset of clothing items and working through all subsets until the entire job is done.  The other suggestion I did not follow is throwing things away once I decided I no  longer needed them.  Instead I packed them up and posted them for giveaway. This requires a bit more work but keeps "stuff" out of the landfill and that is important to me. Others may find that having bags around tempts them to go and look in the bags and retrieve items never to get rid of them. I'm happy I do not seem to have this problem so bags are okay until a new home is found for the items.  I also know that there are a few things I will be unable to implement from the books. Things like having nothing in the bathtub (soaps and tools kept elsewhere), having nothing near the sink (soap and implements kept under the sink) and storing absolutely everything in the closet (like books).  These particular suggestions will not work for me but that is okay. My main objective is to pare down my things and keep them in a tidier way.

The red topped storage containers were picked up within a few hours of posting.  There were 5 of them taking up a lot of space.  Though these were purchased not so very long ago I no longer need them because I've decided I do not need to keep so many dried goods in my cupboard.  I plan to empty and give away even more containers.

I dislike throwing out virtually anything that can be used for other purposes but I also don't like hanging onto everything just in case I might  need it  later. One can have too many interests and not enough time to do everything so you have to pick and choose those things you will focus on and get rid of the rest.  I do a lot of sewing and have done a lot for my mom over the past year.  The scraps of fabric were posted for giveaway and also picked very soon after posting.  I mostly keep fabric that will be used later for quilting but I think I still have a tub of fabrics somewhere that can be given away and will need to check for it. Most of it would have been fabric I inherited and will likely never use.

Although it can be frustrating having clutter in a smaller home, the good thing is you are forced to address your possessions and make decisions about what to do with them.  Many people (myself included) mindlessly accumulate things even if we don't necessarily spend a lot of money in  accumulating them. If one is not careful, pretty soon you have far more than you need. I want to be a conscious consumer not a mindless one. I also want to prioritize those things I decide are worth keeping and other things that can be obtained when needed. Not everything needs to be kept on hand just in case it is needed.

In the past, books were hard for me to let go of and paperwork too. I tend to keep a lot of both.  I have gotten to the point where letting books go is much easier because I can get books at the library and return them. Sometimes I buy inexpensive books and give them away when done.  With papers, I don't like to throw anything out until I've deal with it and made sure it is shredded or burned. Making time to do that is difficult but it will be done.  Once it is done, I will have arrived at my goal and my prioritized "clutter" will be my crafting items.

In addition to tidying my things, I've also been busy week tidying my financial matters and planning for end of life.  I've attended a seminar about pre-planning my funeral because I saw an advertisement in the paper.  It got me motivated to make some firm plans when I learned that the cost of a burial plot in my general neighbourhood now sells for approximately $28,000 and that doesn't even cover the cost of funeral services, or any of the others costs like caskets or urns, etc.  The other thing I want to look into is ways to have a  more "green" funeral if possible.

After my meeting I will have a lot of work to do to figure out what I want for my own arrangements and hope to make some firm decisions in the next few months. This will take a load off of my mind as it is something I've been meaning to do for quite some time.

The other related areas I want to address are some adjustments to financial plans, redoing my Last Will & Testament and just getting a better handle on all these issues in general. Though I have taken care of a lot of things, I want to make sure everything is brought up to date and kept in a very organized and clear way for my executor.

What about you dear reader? 
Have you thought about pre-planning a funeral for yourself or a loved one
or do you find this too difficult to deal with?
Do you have to contend with such high costs for burial plots and funeral services?

Perhaps these are not issues that most people like to think about.  
But I think peace of mind over last wishes is such a wonderful gift to give oneself and loved ones. 
There is also the assurance that matters related to costs have been handled. 
When it is time to say goodbye, the grieving family and loved ones don't have to deal with all these decisions for you.

I'm joining in with Our World Tuesday today. Thank you for stopping by!


  1. This is just jam packed with SO much info!

    1. Yes it is Cloudia. I hope some aspect of it was of use or at least an interesting peek into what I'm doing right now. Have a great week!

  2. Hello, sounds like you have been very busy! I agree about having peace of mind, making it easy for our loved ones in the end. But, for now we are all alive and must enjoy each day that we have here. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

    1. Yes, I agree Eileen. I try to have a little balance. Once I get all aspects of life organized, I can have more fun each day :-) Don't worry though I try to carve out time every week to do things I enjoy.

  3. You have been busy in a great way! I hate clutter so I purge often, and I love to clean and organize! :)

    1. Hi Linda, I purge often too but I have a lot of things that need coralling. Either that or they must go! When you're done at your place perhaps you can come and help me finish, he he :-)

  4. You have been extremely busy this last while. I have been decluttering for years. I've got rid of big stuff but it's the small stuff that drives me crazy

    1. I totally understand you Red. That is my situation too. But now I'm going to embark on radical decluttering. Keeping hope. Good luck to you!

  5. Hi Joyful, I really like your very first photo of your deck. It's looking good! The special you watched about Global Warming confirms things I've heard. I don't feel there is much I can do about it except, perhaps, vote for the candidate with the greatest potential to do the right thing. Decluttering and downsizing ... always going on here. :-) It's especially tough when one is a collector. How are you doing on your goal to rest up this year? Kind regards from Seattle!

    1. Hi John, thank you for your kind remarks. I hear you about being a collector, lol. I am doing well with my goal to rest more this year. I've also been taking naps more frequently to make sure I get my rest. Take care!

  6. You have been busy, take it easy though and don't get too tired. Due to illness I have done all those things now. I think another important thing to do is to fill out your wishes for your care at end stage. It seems like we collect all these material possessions all our life and spend the end of our time trying to sort it out and get rid of it all.

  7. You give great advice Nora and I'll be sure to take it. I haven't yet thought about care issues at end stage. I will have to consider that too. Your observation about possessions is spot on. I am probably starting early on sorting and getting rid of it just because I know what it was like sorting stuff for others who passed on or had to move into care.

  8. Your garden looks very neat. After I have decluttered, my hubby will start filling up the space again. Sigh!

  9. Oh there's such a lot here! Funerals first, then tidying. I think my estate is adequate to cover creamation which I would prefer and Rick and I have talked about where to dump me after. I also want a big party with lots of singing and show tunes and party favors. Rick promised to give away the Christmas things to all the guests. Of course, it all depends on how old I am when I go! That would work well if I'm hit by a busy in the next year or two or three or four but if I'm lucky enough to make it to an age when everyone who knows me is gone too -- well, all bets are off!

    Ah, Marie Kondo! You're doing much better with this than I did. Personally, I think she is a little bit over the top nuts but I have to say the method more or less worked for me in terms of drawers and closet and I got a hefty tax write off for the donation. As for the rest of it -- I just can't connect with it. (I'm trying to deal with photos now). Books I have because I like them. Really, everything I have is because I like it. If I didn't I wouldn't have got it in the first place. So now I have to really look at what's left and either be ruthless or accept my stuff!

    Weather here is all weird, too. I guess it could be worse. Probably will be. There's only so much we can do...

  10. I also did some garden work (reluctantly) I don't have green thumbs ! and the weather is getting crazy everywhere !


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