If at first you don’t succeed…

What do you do when you fall at the first fence? Do you give up? Do you decide you’ll try exactly the same way again? Or do you take a step back and consider how you can stop yourself falling a second time?

Last Wednesday I set myself the ‘rule’ that I would spend 10 minutes at the end of each day tidying the nagging mess that was impacting on my creativity. I also said…

I’ve made it a short time so it’s harder to make excuses to worm out of it. I’m doing it at the end of the day, so my ten minute burst doesn’t incite me to tidy the whole house first thing and waste the day tidying up.

 Well, guess what? Despite 10 minutes being a short time, despite – or maybe because – it was planned for the end of the day, I haven’t cleared a jot of mess. In fact a whole lot more stuff has got dumped in my office.

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I want to tackle the mess. I need to tackle the mess. It’s impinging on my time and creativity. But I’m just not doing it.

Sometimes simply renewing our pledge to do what we originally planned works. However it’s easy to end up perpetually telling yourself you’ll do XYZ week after week and never doing it. I felt my pledge to reduce mess could easily fall into that particularly sticky trap.

While I was procrastinating thinking what I could do to ensure I kept to my promise, I spotted a challenge on the Make Do and Mendable Facebook group, posted by Jen Gale who blogs at https://mymakedoandmendyear.wordpress.com

The challenge is a spin on giving something up for lent; giving up our stuff. I’ve never given anything up for lent, but I felt a challenge was just what I needed to inspire me to get on with my ten minutes a day. This challenge will also ensure I reduce clutter rather than just rearrange it.

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I have to admit I’m a little nervous, since I’ve done a lot of clutter clearing over the last couple of years. However, I’m sure there’s still plenty I hoard that I’ll never ever need. So here’s to a tidier more clutter free house by Easter!

Is there something you’ve promised yourself you’ll do this year, but not started? How can you ensure you make a start?

And does anyone want to join me giving up the stuff that clutters their home for lent?

14 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed…

  1. How honest of you! you could have told us you were doing the ten minute clear up, its nice to know I am not the only person who has high ideals, I appreciate the honesty, it makes your blog authentic. I am a little bit like a post it note for stickability! I have been living in chaos now for two days because I am preparing for a workshop on Saturday. Thankfully most of the messy stuff is done I can return my flat to a more orderly state! But your room looks tidy compared with mine!

    Giving up stuff, is a revolutionary way of thinking, one that I have been reading about for a while. Its one of those things that once you start it begins to take on a life of its own.

    I can recommend a few books that may interest you. The Simple Life Rhonda Heizel, Enuff Kate Carpenter, Simplify by Joshua Becker – I found them interesting and motivating. Rhonda Heizel writes so warmly about her simple life that I was inspired to change the way I view things. I hope you find them just as useful – none of them are hefty tomes, but easy to read and with practical advice.

    A journey of a thousand steps begins with one, my decluttering began with a glass cake stand…

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    1. Thank you. And thank you for the book recommendations. Well done on the cake stand. I went for my sock drawer today, because it was overflowing so badly and completely bugging me. However that was a rubbish idea on the giving away front, because not only am I sure charity shops wouldn’t want my old sox, I need them and I’ll wear them until they have no wear in them. So plan is to find two things tomorrow. I figure that’s fine, because there will be days I’m not here at all and I’ll have to double my tidying/clearing the day before or after. I definitely have a far from a simple life, but I do believe in making the most of what we do already have.

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      1. No there was nothing wrong with your phasing. I asked because it reminds me of why I struggled to keep a diary. you see I would say I would write in it every day, and then life gets in the way, and I would have one or maybe two blank pages to go back to… now I write in a journal, if I miss a day or a week, I can pick up where I left off without feeling guilty, there are no blank pages reprimanding me. Call me childish but I feel guilt easily and the minute I feel guilty about doing something – it feels less like fun and more like punishment. I know that is how I work and you are different, but ask yourself if you missed a day and had to do twice as much would that not feel harder to do than simply making allowances for missing days but remaining on target. (its just my pondering) you know what works for you – and I am very clever at making up get out clauses!

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      2. We all work differently and I think the important thing is that you understand yourself and you’re not putting unnecessary pressure on yourself by expecting yourself to do something every day. Anyway, I don’t believe long term anyone can do something they’ve committed to doing every day. Sooner or later life just doesn’t let you. I’m committing to 40 days worth I guess – hopefully it will all happen before Easter.

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  2. Thanks for sharing, Bekki. Several years back, I went through a BIG decluttering. Really, it was a big job (I have written a couple of posts about it in my blog – homehurrah.com – but I am new to blogging. Maybe I should share more about how I did it, if others might find it helpful.). In truth, it was a great experience and improved my quality of life. I find the battle with clutter is ongoing, it sneaks up, but the more it becomes a habit, the easier it is to manage. On that topic, one of these days I have to work on our rumpus room! Good luck and keep us posted.

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    1. Thanks for your comments. I totally agree, clutter clearing can change your life – which I know must sound crazy to those who haven’t experienced it. Am keeping track of my 40 day clutter clearing and will definitely post about it again. I did have a look at your blog and thought it inspirational, but couldn’t find any way to comment on you most recent post. Was that me being dim?

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  3. I don’t think I could bring myself to get rid of the things I consider clutter – they’re all bits and pieces I want to keep. On the other hand, I have a lot of stuff hanging around that’s better labelled as ‘rubbish’ – and this ought to go. I always want to wait till I can find a good home for it though, rather than throw it in the bin….so it often takes a while….

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    1. I guess one woman’s clutter is another woman’s keepsake. I certainly am refusing to part with plenty others might not just call clutter but call rubbish. I’ve also made a rehoming area so I can send things to good homes when I have time to sort it/the right home appears.

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      1. I can be sentimental about certain things, and I feel that is enough reason to keep them. Besides, some of those items can really add patina and personal history to your home. If an item is special, I keep it, and often use it as part of my decor. It surrounds me with positive feelings and memories, and one of a kind items that have become more interesting and beautiful with age. I quickly get rid of the purposeless clutter, though. Bekki, thanks for the comment – it did go through and I replied. Also, was looking at your pictures above and I love the photograph of your dog!

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      2. Good for you getting rid of purposeless clutter quickly, I tend to hang on things sure I’ll find a use for them when I never will. Glad you like the picture of my dog, I’m sure I’ll be sneaking a few more of him onto my blog before long.

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  4. Clutter in a creative person’s office? Absurd! 😉 I struggle with the same thing. I will clean my office and then within days I feel like I am right back where I started and it really does hinder creativity! That is a good idea to start with a little each day instead of trying to tackle it all at once. I am guilty of that. Starting a little clean up that I end up obsessing over and spending the whole day on. I think I might try this to bring a little stress relief in my life! It wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of decluttering as well!
    -Sarah

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