Monday, June 30, 2014

Light at the End of the Paper Tunnel

Before and After

All loose, recent papers have been processed! Yes! And yes, I do still have boxes, notebooks, and file cabinets to sort. But for the first time, I feel there is HOPE. Part of that hope comes from having created a very workable central mail station.

Another part of that hope comes from dividing the papers into "Recent" & "Past", assigning two different tables, the dining room table only for sorting current papers, with the card table added in the corner for sorting through "old business".  I can't tell you what a relief it is not to sort through yesterday's mail (or last week's mail), and find some odd bill mixed in, from...oh, say, 2011. (I would open something and go: What?! Oh. One half heart attack later, I see the date and breathe a sigh of relief.) 

Do you have a system to go through old papers? Or maybe you don't have old papers? If not, lucky you! How do you like to keep your papers under control? 

Do you ever tend to binge eat?

I always have the best of intentions when I bring home a bag of chips or a package of candy, don't you?  Or maybe you don't ever bring home a bag of chips or candy. But hey, maybe it's whole-grain cookies from the health food store, or a batch of something delicious that you've baked yourself. Is there anything that someone in your household might be tempted to binge on?

In the process of "neatening", I just made a startling discovery. Maybe this is only true of certain personality types, I don't know. But I found out that if something is sitting loose in an opened bag, it's not neat, and I will do whatever it takes to make it neater. And maybe that might be eating it! Sure, that's not the only reason I eat them; but it doesn't help any. 

You see, since I took the tortilla chips out of their bag and put them in a container, I haven't been tempted to eat them like I was when they were in a bag. Now I can save them to eat with Chicken Tortilla soup or refried beans. 

I can't really say much about the candy yet, since I just now put it into the candy dish. But I'm hoping it has the same effect. That I no longer have to eat it to neaten the area where it is. 

Is there anything you do to help yourself - and maybe others at your house - to snack moderately? We'd be happy to hear about it. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

De-cluttering - What about the old philosophies? #8 - What about Sentimental Stuff?

Old Philosophy #8: "If an item – large or small – has sentimental value, you should keep it."

Why? Because, you know, if you keep it, you keep the person. Um, I guess not. 

Or is it, if you don't keep it, something bad will happen? I don't think so.  

But it is hard to let go. And we probably shouldn't let all of it go!...unless we're going to a monastery or going to live in the wild as a hermit or to travel the world with only a backpack. But even then, we might want to ask someone else to keep it for us. But what is "it"? How much is it? 

We don't have to keep the house, the old car, all the furniture, the jars of canned goods, and all the knick-knacks and linens that a relative left, just because we feel sentimental. For most of us, it's too much. So then we have decision time.

And sometimes it's hard just to sort through the sentimental stuff.  Different methods work for different people but here's one thing I've found to do. I make a list of things I really, really want to keep, things that, even if I were to down-size drastically, I would want to keep. For example, some of you know - and maybe some of you don't - that one of our sons passed away two years or so ago. Paul loved elephants all his life. Toward the end of his life, he got to pet an elephant! Paul had a collection of elephants but a lot of the trunks had broken off in various moves. I don't need to keep all the elephants. But he had a little Monopoly-token elephant that I scooped up and put in my pocket. I keep it in my jewelry box, and sometimes, when I'm missing him, I put it in my pocket again for a day. 

I have a little mosaic cross that belonged to my mother as a necklace. I had one just like it, in another color, as a child, but I lost mine along the way. My mom's cross is not in the colors that I wear, but I keep it in my jewelry box because it makes me think happily of both my mom and of my childhood. There are other things I keep that my mom made or used, but I don't feel the need to keep everything, just what I truly enjoy using or displaying. 

How many, and which, sentimental things to hang on to is a very personal decision. But for me, some of it comes down to whether it's something that brings happy memories, not tending toward guilt or depression...and to following my 'numbers rule'...for example, I can keep a couple of Paul's elephants, but I don't have to keep all of the elephants. 

And before I pass something along, I try to take a picture of it...or perhaps write a story about it. 

How do you preserve happy, loving memories of people or times in your life?