Resolutions Revisited

2018On the first day of 2018, I listed some Stuffoholic plans for the year to come. Not resolutions, so much as Good Intentions. Two months down the line, I thought it was time to revisit my list and see how I’m doing…

  1. My first good intention- and one of the reasons for starting this blog a year ago-  was to finally take control of my book-amassing habit. I’ve made a little progress, leaving them on free book shelves & selling some on eBay. My house now contains 42 fewer books. It’s a start.
  2. I’m glad to say I’ve not bought a single magazine this year. I’m even resisting the free ones given away at train stations. Sixteen have been left on the free book shelf or given to a children’s art group. The space below my bed still looks like a newsagent’s, but it’s a work in progress.
  3. Next, I intended to tackle those boxes filled to bursting with a weird & wonderful array of old paperwork. I’ve not touched a single one of them. It’s a case of Out of Sight, Out of Mind. I need to refine this intention, maybe aim to sort a box a month?
  4. The first family birthday of the year came along & I baked my first ever carrot cake. It was tasty, cheaper than a shop-bought cake & didn’t enter the house wrapped in cellophane, cardboard & pointless plastic. Result!
  5. Spontaneous litter-picking has become a habit now, as demonstrated by our Litterati total: 819
  6. It’s still a bit too cold for a second community street clean, but it’s on the books. Meanwhile, I’m planning to join a local litter pick to mark #GBSpringClean, though this may be postponed due to the current bad weather.
    Also, I do my bit whenever I get the chance; a walk along the Thames Path at the weekend led to an impromptu beach clean:

    straws
    And finally, I threw myself the somewhat rash challenge to rid my home of 2018 items this year. I didn’t really mean it. And I’ll never manage it. Even so, I have been counting…
    I’ve re-homed 114 items in the first two months of this year. So overall, it’s not been a bad start, but I could definitely Try Harder.

Time to Stop

autumn park shot

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare. 

             

Leisure by W.H Davies

Last week we were busy, picking up litter. This week we were going to turn our attention to #plasticfolly but on way paused,  not to smell the coffee (after all, can now only enjoy if sustainable and plastic free ) but to take time to stop (some of us cannot stand)  and stare.

Will this (in)action help us tackle the clutter in our lives. Maybe, maybe not but a few minutes away from life’s coalface will surely leave us better placed to soldier on. Sometimes just doing nothing is doing something … sometimes it is not!  We leave you to decide but know what we plan to do with our time today.

Mount Fugi

Disappointed? I was too, which is why the original title  ‘Stop and Stare’ was changed to ‘Time to Stop’ . On reading was going to need to edit and re-edit to try to capture more positive take on pausing to reflect. But then Aha moment, as realised today’s tip was to remember to stop, and then move on. Spend a finite time each day decluttering and be satisfied with what you have achieved .. for now.

That really is enough for today .. Time to Stop!

#DoItForManuela

teasels

This week’s blog was inspired by Manuela, whose litter-picking adventures I’ve been following on twitter. Please take a look at her tweets & blogs, give her a follow, say hello. Hopefully her passion for saving the environment will rub off on you and you’ll find yourself grabbing some bags and heading off on your own journey…

There and Back Again

My destination was a short stretch of the River Roding which links two incredibly busy roundabouts in East London. Walking along the bank of this river, you are never quite out of earshot of the roaring traffic. The landscape is somewhat industrial, with towering electricity pylons & concrete flyovers. And yet the Roding has a quiet dignity as it makes its way down to the Thames.

Armed with empty bags, my faithful Litterati app and the enthusiasm of someone determined to make a difference, I headed off to the bus stop. Of course, I couldn’t just walk past the litter en route and by the time I reached Roding Valley Park, I’d already picked up and binned 76 pieces of rubbish.

Once at the river, the enormity of the task sank in. Where graffiti-decorated pillars rose to support the concrete flyovers, there was a huge abundance of rubbish. I spent a while collecting bagfuls of glass bottles and dragging them back to a litter bin at the nearest bus stop. Alas, this was a task I could never complete. I decided instead to concentrate on plastic litter which was far more likely to blow into the water or trap & choke wildlife.

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After a couple of hours, I’d picked up 150 or so pieces of rubbish & the bags were getting too heavy to carry much further. It hadn’t been a difficult task, I’d enjoyed a pleasant walk along the river and I’d spotted 3 of my favourite birds (wren, teal & cormorant.)  My point being, anyone can do this. YOU can do this. Grab a bag and pick up some litter… in a park, on a beach, by a river, on your street… and collectively, we will make a difference.

Strolling back down my street, in dire need of a sit down and a cuppa, I picked up a final carrier bag full of rubbish. My own little corner of the world looked slightly less messy than it had that morning. And though I realise my own contribution can have little impact on a world full of rubbish, I also know it takes just one small spark to start a massive chain reaction.

Let’s stop complaining about all the litter and start picking it up.

#DoItForManuela

Cluttered Mind

brain

“We should start choosing our thoughts like we choose our clothes for the day.” —Farnoosh Brock

When we introduced ourselves almost a year ago, we stated “We’re stuffoholics because we can’t let go of stuff; stuff in the kitchen, stuff from the past, stuff on our phones and worst of all stuff in our heads.” Over past year we’ve focused (we use that word loosely) nearly always on physical clutter though recognising it’s our heads and hearts that are making the task a challenge.

Today we turn our decluttering attention to how one might tackle that jumble of thoughts packed in our heads. Especially, those old worries and bad memories that are kept there,  taking up space that happy thoughts could occupy. Every bit as unhelpful as unused dusty items sitting in cupboards, taking up precious space, once loved but now kept just in case. Or that stuff hidden behind other stuff so you cannot now find what you need.

What to do? A mental spring clean of course. Now this should be easier than the physical one, as no guilt that we’re killing a whale by throwing our thoughts away. Just as we made a choice to deal with physical space and stuff, we’re going to make same decisions for mind. It may be simple but it doesn’t mean it will be easy. After all it’s the thoughts all jostling to be THE thought that’s the problem and dusting some of them off to throw away could be emotionally challenging. If we were experts@discardingstuff.com then we wouldn’t be writing this blog. We also are not minimalists convinced that a tidy mind is our ultimate goal so we are going to curate our memories/ thoughts, not just throw them all out.

When is a good time to start? Well, as we have learnt over the past year, if in doubt start small and start now. Today going to consciously choose either a negative thought or a positive one for just a minute. Discard the others and see what happens.  Hopefully it’s a step on road to contentment and if it’s not, the whale is still happily swimming in the sea.