Monday, October 18, 2010

Overwhelm Relief #1

Lately I've really been feeling overwhelmed by all the things of everyday life. Just the busyness and rushing has taken a bit of ahold. It's just one of those seasons that seems to naturally bring with it extras. And the Christmas season is coming. So I've been trying to think "simplify". Now the thought of doing that in huge chunks, in itself, is overwhelming to me. So I've been taking baby steps. And I thought I'd share the steps with you in segments. 'Cause I know you're waiting with bated breath, and all.

First off the bat, I just took pause and reflected and prayed about what it is that causes those feelings of being overwhelmed. And it took awhile for me to figure out. But then it came to me. I get feeling frustrated, what gets a bee in my bonnet and makes me antsy and grumpy is when my floors aren't clean, when counter and tabletops are overflowing, when "things" are crowding me out. So I'm going to figure out a plan, so I don't get to the point where everyone in my household is avoiding me because I have a storm cloud over my head.

My first step was to take a deep breath and look around to see which was the worst at the moment. The first thing I decided to get a handle on was the paper work that seems to pile everywhere. No matter how much I want to ignore it, paper will come into my household. I resolved that fact with myself. My need was to simplify the process in which I deal with the monster. The above picture is only one area it seems to collect in. I have tried the basket idea. Got some really pretty ones but then everything just goes into this black hole and doesn't get dealt with at all. And then it's just an overflowing basket on my counter.

I made a decision to force myself to immediately handle as much of the paperwork as possible when it first comes into my hands. Here's my plan. Instead of picking up the mail and depositing it onto a table or counter top I will take that minute force myself and do a quick sort: read later or immediate recycle. Hubby's mail will go onto his dresser right away so that he can deal with it. I cannot believe the difference that little quick sort makes. A fast 30 seconds to 1 minute and the clutter is already cut in half. After lunch when the kids are having their quiet time, I take one more minute and go through what got left. The sale papers get a quick look, if I see something I might want, it goes on a list on the fridge and the paper goes immediately into recycling. All dates that I need to know get written on the calendar, and the letters go.

I'm not perfected at it. I mean, it's only been about a week that I got determined to deal with this but I'm trying and determined I am. Paper may be a fact of life but I refuse to let paper get me down. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to have to conviction to actually put a sign on my mailbox that says "No unaddressed mail or flyers, please". Now that would make it really simple, but I'm not quite at that place yet.

How do you simplify dealing with the paper in your life?


Islandsparrow said...

Overflowing counters really get to me as well. Especially the one closest to our kitchen entryway - everyone loves to plunk things there when they come in the door. I just try to clear it off several times a day - tackling the "hot spot" as the flylady would say :)

We use our papers to start the woodstoves - very handy! We actually have to ask people for them as we don't get a daily paper anymore.

Hmmmm - wouldn't want to mail those papers our way would you?? (jk!)

ellen b. said...

Years ago we were counseled by one of our pastors to sort through the mail once and take care of it immediately. That was good anti-clutter advice for sure. I'm glad you are addressing some joy robbers at your house Susanne!!

Finding Pam said...

First, I don't know how you do all that you do! I think you are on the right path. It is easier to deal with paper or folded clothes or what ever it may be just once. To take it to the final resting place instead of moving it several times.

For me a cluttered house equals a cluttered mind and I can not think when there is no order. Then sometimes I get behind and it makes me crazy trying to get it all back in order.

I open my mail, sort it, take the bills and put in my bill book, read the adds, then chunck it all. You can use old newspapers as mulch in your flower beds. I like to recycle. Magazines, I stopped taking because they were all the same, but if you do, read them and then cut out any ideas or pictures you like and file them.

Good luck and let us know how you are doing.

nikkipolani said...

Same as you, Susanne. Deal with papers immediately. I also found that as long as there's a place for that paper (i.e., a folder for missionary letters to be read or bills to be paid or magazines for another time) then filing the mail isn't such a horror. And I decide ahead of time which charity/ministry I want to give to, so that I'm not swayed by the mailings.

Congrats on finding a way to relive some of that overwhelmed feeling.

Faith said...

How do I deal with the paper in my life? well, like you, for several years especially the first 5 of our marriage my counters were always "overflowing" with paper. I tried the basket thing too and didn't work cause like you said, it never got dealt with.

Here's what we do: I am the only one who ever thinks to get the mail. as soon as i step into the garage, any unwanted fliers,mags, etc get tossed into the recycling bin lying next to the kitchen door in the garage...this way it never even makes it into the house. If it's a mag i no longer read thru, I simply call the toll free number and ask to be removed from the has worked!!

For regular mail: i bought a cute country style mail holder and placed on top of microwave cart....all mail goes in that. I deal with mine, dave deals with his. If the girls get mail, it goes on their desks in their rooms.
For school papers that need to be signed, each daughter tacks their own to their bulletin boards hanging in kitchen near the door...this way, I see them, look them over, sign em and place em back up there...their job is to make sure they make it back to their school folder. works for us.....
old cooking mags i donate to the faculty room at school. Old catalogs get recycled and newspapers get recycled or burned in our firepit! for mags i am still reading (adirondack ones and cooking ones...I keep in a large shaker style wicker basket in my living/reading room. family room stays paper free!

Mountain Mama said...

It's interesting that I have been feeling the very same way the past few days. I have cleaned up the kitchen and livingroom. Now for the office? Thats the biggie because it seems to collect all the things that don't actually have a home.

Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

Same here. Clutter and floors. I do that quick sort of mail, too.
I have 2 baskets on top of the refrigerator. They are up high so you can't see the stack inside. One is for bills. The other is for stuff that needs filing or extra time.
For floors, I do one good mop a week, then sweep or Swiffer in between at night.

Jerralea said...

Paper is my number one problem, too. It would be so much easier to keep the house decluttered if it weren't for all the paper!

I think you've taken the right approach. Deal with it as soon as it comes in the house.