Home Forums Welcome Hello! lessons learned in 2012

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    • #160231

      At the end of last year I wrote myself a reflection about what I had learned — what worked, what didn’t, what was accomplished, what still needed doing. I read it over and it was really helpful.

      Last year I think my biggest lesson was one of erosion — that a small and steady drip, drip, drip will erode the biggest rock — whether it is a thing a day or 15 minutes a day are a tiny tweak in developing a good habit. It was about small sctions.

      This year my most important insight is about small changes, and the power of the invisible. Even when the changes I have made are tiny or can’t be seen (clearing out a drawer or storage area, for example) the impact is much greater. This is a process for me of constant tweaking, perhaps a natural progression as most of the big decluttering is done.

      I was wondering what lessons y’all have learned over the past year?

    • #227085
      bandicoot
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      getting a last minute whole-house tiling job will churn every single possession you still have.
      as various things make their way to the surface, you realise there are still some things that you’d rather give away than have to dust/wash-re-PEEP even one more time.

      it really truly is easier to simply do without stuff, rather than work your brain to death creating complicated storage scenarios.

      a decent food processor is worth the space it takes up. to me.

      in business, never show all your cards. and never let one single customer become too important to you.

    • #227087
      Ella
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      What an excellent topic!

      My best lesson was in the power of small. I often feel like I’m swimming against the tide on this forum because so much glory and praise (well deserved!) goes to the grand sweeping decluttering with dramatic results. Contrary wise, my progress (whether 15 minutes at a time or other baby steps) is as exciting as watching paint dry.

      But what I have learned more than ever this year is that smallness works for me, slow and steady, even if I have to take it all the way down to micro-steps. I’ve found that the grand ketchup sweeps once in a while, followed by dormant periods, don’t build lasting habits. For me, that’s like trying to do all my breathing in one fell swoop, instead of the steady ongoing inhale and exhale.

      YMMV ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #227088
      liag
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      Great idea for a thread.
      I think I learned, finally, that there are always surprises, good and no-so-good, in one’s life; it likewise became clear that there are people in higher places that care more about retaining their power and money than about others; finally, I know for sure now that sometimes moving in a new direction at the cost of the comfort of tradition is the only way for some situations to improve.

    • #227100
      Ella
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      I just read the latest entry on 365 Less Things by reader Mary Ellen…

      http://www.365lessthings.com/simple-saturday-one-readers-declutter-story-by-mary-ellen/

      …which speaks to another lesson I learned this year, about keeping track.
      She wrote:

      “Sometimes I wish I had kept a log of everything that went out the door, but I didnโ€™t. And thatโ€™s probably good because keeping a log would have been a form of clutter. When I let it go, I let it go.”

      Earlier this year, I kept a log of everything I had posted on ATAD, but then I stopped logging after a few months. A couple of weeks ago I reread the log and had a fleeting panic attack: “Oh no, did I really throw THOSE away?? I wish I had them back!!”… and yet I hadn’t even thought about those items since tossing them, until I reread the log. I promptly deleted the log. I also stopped posting on ATAD for the same reason.

      “When I let it go, I let it go.”

    • #227103
      ron
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      The one big lesson I learned in 2012 is that my mind was in a constant fog of all the clutter I had. The aha moment was when the garage door broke and I had to clean out the garage so a new door could be installed. I took half of the garage contents and dumped it at good will over a couple of weeks, and I cried in private like a baby, but I had no choice, I made the connection that I wanted a clear mind and the only way to do that was to clean up my space. So ive been clearing out the clutter little by little.

    • #227106
      sleepykitten
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      @Ella – that’s exactly why I don’t usually post what I get rid of on ATAD or similar threads. Every once and a while I will say something vague (“a shirt”) just so people don’t think I’m anti-social, but I’m with you: “when I let it go, I let it go.”

      I learned that digital clutter can weigh on me almost as much as physical clutter – and that I don’t have to keep up with everyone’s blogs, etc. I miss stuff, sure, but that’s OK – you can never read/know everything.

      I learned that uncluttering can be addictive: the more I get rid of, the lower my tolerance is for excess stuff. My uncluttering muscles just get stronger and stronger! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I learned that leading by example CAN work with family member clutter: my DH surprised me this year by finally catching the uncluttering bug after several years of me paring my things down.

    • #227110
      chacha1
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      My lesson learned is that it’s okay, yes it is truly okay, to shelve, box up, or abandon projects.

      They are not sad puppies. They are just projects and their existence is completely subject to my will. They do not suffer if they are neglected and they feel no pain as they are terminated. I AM THE BOSS OF YOU, PROJECTS.

      ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #227121
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      lessons learned in 2012

      I recently decluttered a ’97 car and bought my first ever brand new car. I learned that the anxiety about unexpected breakdowns was not worth it and I had to take the plunge to be safe and unworried about the getting places.

      ChaCha, I agree with you about the abandoned projects. They do serve a purpose. Now I can better identify the projects I am likely to abandon and save even more effort by not even beginning them!

    • #227123
      mdfloyd
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      I think I learned (I hope for the last time) that the tighter I hold onto something the faster it slips away. Best to keep the hands open . . . .

    • #227127
      bandicoot
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      mdfloyd, if the hands are open, things can flow into them more easily too!

    • #227132
      arthelemis
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      Uncluttering wise :

      I’ve learn that I need to accept that some other people standard about ”stuff” are not what is best for me. I’ve realized I’ll never be a minimalist, I’ll never live with less than 100 things… and I’m perfectly OK with that now, instead of anxiously reviewing my list of possession, like I used to do, and stressing about which things to get rid of just to finally get to an arbitrary number set by somebody I don’t even know.

      I’ve learn that I am not perfect, but that each and every tiny step I take can help (be it with living with less, using less plastic, or just living ”greener” in general, etc.). And to not worry if I am not perfect. Mistake happens.

      If not, what I’ve learn about life in general :

      Either there is not enough hours in a day, and not enough days in a week, or I have too much things to do.

    • #227192
      djk
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      I’ve learned not to stock up, except for holidays where I have to, or end up fasting for a few days lol!
      It’s given me more space to keep the essential food/goods, which then looks a lot less messy.

      I’m also trying to trust the market. In some ways the market CAN be trusted, but there are daily-use household things which are hard to find here (baking soda, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, Epsom salts, rubbing alcohol, all practically unknown, and all things I use around the house in quantity. I have finally found one place across town, which, hooray! has most of those things available)
      However, as far as non-consumables go, I can trust the market for the most part. There hasn’t been one thing I’ve uncluttered which I’ve not been able to get again if I really needed it.

      I’ve slowly begun to understand the power of cleaning a little bit extra each day. I don’t love cleaning, but I don’t absolutely hate it either, I just feel it is unrewarding, and takes a lot of time which I’m not willing to give it. This is the smallest space I’ve lived in as an adult, and
      there are two of us plus a cat. It’s also quite possibly the most inefficiently-laid out space I’ve ever seen. That means that to do something as simple as wiping the counter, backsplash, and sink, requires moving a ton of stuff before a wipe can be made. That’s a PITA, and sometimes it doesn’t get done as a result–just the reachable area gets a wipe.
      Cleaning the floor is the same thing. It feels like half of the flat has to be shifted over to the other side in order to be able to get a broom around it (slight exaggeration there, but it FEELS like it!)
      When I clean one single thing extra per day I’m less likely to get overwhelmed and let everything else slide. My main idea is to reduce the twice-a-year deep cleans which are exhausting and NOT enough to keep up with the unventilated, crumbling-plastered, old-building sticky yellow grimy dust. I’m still not up to speed in the floors but the general cleanliness has improved.

    • #227215
      Claycat
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      I’ve learned that I’m not ever going to get much accomplished if I do a little at a time. I need to do it like Berlitz, total immersion!

    • #227217

      lessons learned in 2012

      This year I’ve learned two things:
      1. It’s okay to get it wrong first time and then redo it.
      2. It’s better these days for me to plug away at stuff a bit at a time, but every day.

      Possibly these are the same thing – patience. Something that has taken a collapsed spine for me to learn.

    • #227226
      Claycat
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      “Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.โ€ Thank you for reminding me of that wonderful quote, Prof.Clutter

    • #227227
      sleepykitten
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      @Prof Clutter – I should tattoo “Do the next thing” on my forehead or something – although I understand philosophically that taking small “next action” steps is how we move forward, sometimes I get stuck in a cycle of churning worry. When I finally relax enough to do the next thing, it is usually not as hard as I thought it would be. I can’t say I’ve 100% learned the lesson, yet, though – I think I need to learn it a couple more times before it sticks!

    • #227229
      bandicoot
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      i also learned that wine has a shelf life.
      drink the damned stuff….don’t hoard it. it doesn’t all just magically improve with the years.
      had to toss a handful of bottles. *sob*

    • #227248
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      lessons learned in 2012

      Awesome topic-I’ve learned to do the most difficult thing first, to ask DH rather than tell him, to let go of unreasonable expectations earlier rather than later, and to focus on what I want from myself, rather than what others want from me.

      @Prof. Clutter, I have to keep learning that the ‘possibility bandwidth’ is wider than I could ever imagine. I’ve been gifted with some amazing things in my life, and most of them took me totally by surprise.

      And I’ve learned that Agent Gibbs knows more about moving sheep around a pen than I do! And that I want to learn how to do what the human partner is supposed to do. Updates as necessary.

    • #227253
      bandicoot
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      o it’s a proud and ancient tradition….wine hoarding!
      if it doesn’t get consumed and enjoyed in a timely manner, it is just more clutter.

    • #227545
      Barbs
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      Not sure what lessons I have learned in 2012 except that I think I am going to go into 2013 with the intent to declutter my fantasy lives. I need to peel away the excess and find the things that are truly important to me. Like the singing watermelon says: inch by inch row by row

      [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3FkaN0HQgs[/video]

    • #227547
      lucy1965
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      Today I had my first and last visit to a MAC counter, and I’m not crying only because I would rather be angry. I don’t like having my biases confirmed, but it was pretty much everything I dreaded about going to a makeup counter, and I won’t be repeating the experience. I am, however, hoping that they do send me a feedback form, because I would enjoy having a rant.

    • #227554
      djk
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      oh Lucy, rant here! I’ve never gone to a makeup counter, but I had a rotten experience in my early twenties with a Mary Kay consultant (I looked like a clown after, it was awful and comical and oh lord above save me from “consultants” who have no idea)

      what did they do?

    • #227555
      TatiLie
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      @lucy1965: When I go to the MAC counter I know exactly what I want (I check at home on the website the possible matches and prices). I like when they’re busy with other people so I can check the colours and I just tell them exactly what I want, and get out of there in less than 3 minutes. Sometimes they try to push me to another items or colour and I say “That is beautiful. I will buy the one I chose now and check at home how I feel. It I find it’s too light/too dark/too shiny/too pink I’ll come back on the weekend and get the one you’re suggesting.” They’re happy to believe that you’ll be buying again soon.
      I like too much their colours and fixation to deprive myself of that because of their terrible service.

    • #227556
      lucy1965
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      @djk: They ignored me in favor of my friend, who is 20 years younger and very stylish — literally looked through me, didn’t address me at all, until she said “Didn’t you want some mascara?” And then it was very much as if they were doing me a favor by talking to me, and ran my order while still talking through me to my friend.

      Which was stupid, because my friend is a starving artist and I’ve got a hell of a lot more disposable income than she does, and would be happy to pay for good advice on using makeup. I will be delighted to explain that to their customer service rep.

    • #227561
      TatiLie
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      @lucy1965: I secretly giggle when salespeople judge by appearance. My grandfather was a wealthy man and always very simply dressed, he would do great business with people that treated him well despite his old t-shirt. On the other side, my cousin loved to go to car dealers dressed in suit and with his mom’s fancy car just to test drive expensive cars.
      Browse the shop and buy online. Or in the duty-free. They don’t deserve getting commission for treating you in this way.

    • #227563
      bandicoot
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      ugh, lucy, makeup counters are hell on wheels.
      the best thing for me was finding mineral makeup i love, online, from a small one-woman operation and she ships from the US.
      i keep a note of the colours i use and it is no sweat to reorder every eighteen months or so.
      makeup can be so fraught!

    • #227565
      lucy1965
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      candy: yes, next month, in fact (which is lucky, as I love garnets). It will be my 48th, and I’ve not felt unhappy about that fact until today.

      Tati, I will do that, as there are a couple of single eyeshadows I wanted, but I was so upset by the time I hit the checkout that I just wanted to get the hell out of there.

      bandicoot, I was thinking it might be a fun method of self-expression . . . and instead I’m really feeling unattractive and miserable, and kind of want to chuck the lot. That urge has been redirected into cleaning the living and dining rooms.

    • #227567
      TatiLie
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      @lucy1965: I hope you enjoy their make-up as much as I do. I recently got the ‘pigment’ and I’m finding it amazing for my oily-covered-in-sunscreen skin.

    • #227568
      lucy1965
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      Thank you, candy love. How did you know I adore Sayers? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Tati, I will play with it a bit this weekend and report back.

    • #227575
      bandicoot
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      o i know that feeling, lucy.
      it is entirely hormonal for me.
      hang on to the stuff. you might be more in the mood to play with it after all the holiday hoopla.

    • #227585
      djk
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      oh, lucy, a pox on her!

      A friend here recently told me about her mother going into a shop here where the snooty saleswoman looked her up and down coldly and said she was afraid there was nothing there in her price bracket.

      as my friend’s mother left the shop and entered her car, she told her private chauffeur, ‘It does appear, Franz, that we need to go find me a new winter coat’ and then was driven back to her castle.

    • #227589
      lucy1965
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      @djk, darling, please tell your friend that her story has made a woman in the US hug herself with glee.

      They asked for feedback. I have provided some. I have also copied MAC’s own feedback e-mail, and that of a couple of professional makeup writers. Can’t hurt.

    • #227601
      bandicoot
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      djk, NO!!
      that is hilarious!

    • #227615
      Claycat
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      Lucy, I don’t buy makeup. I don’t look at makeup. I am 63, and I am finished with that! ๐Ÿ™‚

      When I am unfortunate enough to be at a mall, I breeze right through the makeup section, eyes straight ahead. I don’t miss it, and I sure don’t miss the cost!

      My MIL wore makeup right up to the end. She was a lovely woman. Different strokes for different folks.

      You are WOMAN! You are important! Don’t let people treat you as if you are invisible! The best thing I ever did for myself was take several years of martial arts (TKD) when I entered middle age. It gave me such self-confidence (that I never had before).

      Big Hug!

    • #227618
      sleepykitten
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      @Lucy – what a ridiculous thing to have happened to you! I don’t know anything about makeup and I have often been tempted to go to a counter and ask for advice, but I fear they wouldn’t understand what I want (i.e., something as minimal as possible – not to make me look like someone else, just to help with weird splotches and such) so I’ve stayed away.

      It is their loss, because if they had treated you right and given you sound advice, they might have gained a life-long customer. Silly, rude people!

    • #227879
      Joless
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      I have learned that I like to have rules of thumb for home decor, for example, we have oak in our house, so if something is oak, it is worth considering. We have a palate of decor colours and that narrows stuff down. I decided that all my mugs should have farmyard animals on them, so that limits what I have to keep. Silly rules, but it makes things easier to discard. I also refuse to buy anything with a bone or a paw print on for the dogs!

    • #232510
      lucy1965
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      I got follow-up e-mails!

      One from MAC Cosmetics, saying essentially “That is NOT what we are about: we are very disheartened by your letter, because we want people to have a positive professional experience with us regardless of age, gender, race, or any other factor. We will be taking this up with the management team at that counter and we are so very sorry that happened to you. Please let us send you some goodies.”

      Then an e-mail from the manager of the department at Nordstrom’s, telling me that she was horrified that it had happened, would be using my example in training for the entire staff, and would I please come in and let them give me the experience I should have had?

      So, what have we learned from this? Even if you’re too upset in the moment to make a stink, consider making one when you get home: sometimes it produces a positive result.

    • #232517
      ChiFlower
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      My lessons from last year are that clutter and procrastination waste MONEY and TIME. I really don’t own much by anyone’s standards, not anymore. But I still have things I really don’t use or want, that are holding me back from achieving my goals.

      In the middle of last year I put ALL my belongings into storage. For 4 months we lived in a furnished city studio, while paying good money to store what I own. Then we moved again, into an unfurnished 2brm apartment. It’s now another 4 months later and although I’ve sold / decluttered a LOT, I still have a fair way to go.

      I now want to relocate to Aussie, but it is going to take TIME (months) to go through all my things to sell / donate / etc. And although a lot of stuff is gone, and I’ve managed to downsize to a smaller storage unit, I’m still paying good money each month for the things that are left.

      I’m having to make the painful decisions to sell my whiteware (the apartment already has a fridge and washing machine, and I wouldn’t ship them over) and an expensive leather lounge suite that didn’t fit through the door. It’s gut wrenching because one day I know I might NEED these things again. But for the amount of money I’ve spent so far on storage, I could probably buy brand new.

    • #232518
      Jackthetiger
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      Well done Lucy! I bet they will spoil you rotten when you go for your follow up session!

      Those decisions are always hard ChiFlower, but maybe it is time to let go of the embedded value of these furniture items. It is hugely expensive to transport if you are going to move to a new country.

    • #232548
      lucy1965
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      Tiggery Jack: very likely. And I shall enjoy it. *grins*

      ChiFlower: you made the decisions you made at the time with the best information you had. Let yourself off the hook for not being omniscient, and relax a bit. All right?

      Now, as Australia has 220/240 voltage, the appliances should be the first things out of the storage unit: step-down converters for large appliances are ridiculously expensive and half the time you wind up frying things anyway. US-sized furniture is not likely to fit into overseas flats. Really, shipping anything should be reserved for items that are irreplaceable, as it’s horribly expensive and you might be waiting up to 8 weeks to have your things again.

      Signed, tried for 8 years to get to England and learned way too much hanging out on expat boards

    • #232558
      chacha1
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      lucy, happy to hear that you got appropriate, helpful, and apologetic responses from MAC and Nordstrom. I wish you a wonderful frolic when you go back. ๐Ÿ™‚

      ChiFlower, one thing I’ve learned is that it is almost never worth paying to store replaceable goods. Even if something cost a lot at the beginning, I truly believe in most cases a person will be better off selling it, right at the point that they can’t use it anymore, than storing it for “someday.”

      My personal experience on this? DH’s motorcycle. It has been unused for 14 years. He paid $100/mo to store it for three years, then it moved with us to our new apartment, where it sits gradually losing more and more of whatever value it may have had. Throughout this time I’ve been paying about $400/yr to insure it. Insanity? Absolutely.

      This is a prime example of the cost of fantasy lives, which is what pretty much EVERYTHING that we own but don’t use represents.

    • #232573
      britannia
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      Lucy, I agree with chacha. A friend of my friend’s had a doll collection that she tried to sell when she moved into Assisted Living. She didn’t think the offer she got was high enough so she paid to have the collection put in a storage facility. I think she should have sold it for what she was offered because as the price she eventually hoped to get wouldn’t have increased by the $600 per year the storage cost. Also, I rented out my parking space for several years at $40 per month to a man who parked his never-used car there. Senseless waste of money I thought. He eventually got rid of it.

    • #232574
      djk
      Member

      lessons learned in 2012

      Oh Lucy, those were the correct responses from both companies.

      I spent 19 years in the hospitality industry, and I know how things can and do go wrong for people. You can train staff, but you can’t control people or their lives (the days of slavery are over, thank God) I know from personal experience how it is to go to work your afternoon shift the same day you’ve lost your baby in the morning, and the smiling openly at people the day you split up with your abusive husband, asking how can I help you? with a big warm smile.

      Some people simply aren’t good at customer service, or they are having a really awful day, where your desires seem beyond trite, and the mark of an excellent company is recognizing that despite the frailties of the employees, (they being flawed and human), the company understands YOUR right and desire to be treated well, and follows up to right the wrongs.
      I always think acknowledging the disservice goes far in mitigating it.

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