Eating an elephant

How *do* you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time, of course!

I don’t think I actually started the flinging craze that seems to be going on amongst various family and friends. I’m sure I have been blathering away about it on the internet for longer than anybody else so if I *have* inspired anyone, that’s great. In reality, I think most people somewhere around my age have reached the tipping point when it comes to possessions. I don’t know why I acquired so much stuff. I don’t think our house was jammed full of “stuff” when I was a kid. That would be a whole ‘nother blahg post.

Anyway, I do blather about my flinging prodject from time to time and sometimes family / friends blahg or report back to me about their own flinging prodjects (which I *love*!). Or, very occasionally, ask questions like, “How do I get started?” My answer to that has become a question: How do you eat an elephant? And you know the answer to that.

Just start. Start *anywhere*. If there’s a mess in every room, it can be overwhelming! Don’t try to over-plan, over-strategize, or over-analyze, at least not at first. Start with the easy stuff that has no sentimental value. Or shouldn’t have. If it does, maybe some friendly psychoanalysis is in order >wink< Start with the junk mail that’s piling up on the dining room table. The old magazines cluttering up the dungeon. Old grocery receipts and shopping bags. Cardboard boxes. Once you get on a roll, empty space will start to emerge (really) and you will very likely start eyeballing other “stuff”. “Why am I keeping that?” Pretty soon you will be bagging up old clothes and toys for pickup by charitable agencies, dumping all most of those old college papers, boxing up books for donation. And so on…

Start slowly. Don’t force yourself to clear out a whole room or closet or shelf unit in one session. Do it a little bit at a time. Five or 10 minutes a day. Or get rid of 20 (or 25 or whatever) pieces of paper (or books or articles of clothing or whatever) at a time. Try to be persistent and do a little bit every day but do NOT beat yourself up if you miss a day here and there. Be ruthless but do give yourself permission to save a few things along the way for future consideration. I’m not quite ready to get rid of that old Mozart sonata analysis paper I got an A+ on (and many wonderful comments) back in college in the Jurassic Age. The one I typed on an actual typewriter. It doesn’t mean anything to any other living person and probably someday I will pitch it so the beach urchins don’t have to. That Mackinac Bridge thingy in the photooo (that I found in The Commander’s file cabinet)? Never getting rid of it. Probably a candidate for the safe deposit box.

If you are at a standstill in one area, change it up and de-clutter something else. I had a great time one rainy Saturday dumping partial bottles of liqueurs that were purchased over the years because a recipe called for two tablespoons of it or whatever. We will never *drink* it (or probably use that recipe again) so I dumped it all and resolved that in a similar future situation, I would look for the airplane size bottle or substitute. I sorta felt like I hadn’t made any progress in the area I was trying to de-clutter that weekend but what the heck. The liqwire had to eventually be de-cluttered too and now it was done! Progress!

Always remember, it’s just “stuff”. If you aren’t using it and you have to move it around to clean the house, it’s a burden. If you have been storing it in a moldy old rodent and spider-infested dungeon for so long you can’t even remember it’s there, why keep it? Travelin’ light is my new goal in life.

I’m really not writing this for you, my five dearly beloved readers. I’m writing it for me. Because I am at a sort of standstill. I am getting to the point where I am through with a whole ton of old papers and magazines and clothes and craft supplies and toys and books and I can’t even think what else. I have gotten to some of the more gristly parts of the elephant, meaning that I need the help or at least permission of others in order to proceed… Bunk beds? Craigslist? Oriental rugs? Not sure…

Anyway, if you are already flinging, you don’t need any advice from me. If you want to fling but don’t know where to start, a couple of resources to check out are Flylady and Unclutterer (you can google). And I am sure there are more. Back when I was desperate, I was a flylady lurker for a while. That helped me get started. Eventually, I kind of “flew” on my own. But there are always “those” moments and I am in one now…

We are all in this together and it is not easy! If you merely need a virtual hug, I am here.

Love y’all, KW

One Response to “Eating an elephant”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Need to get my girls to fling. My husband has already started his, for obvious reasons. I go through periods when I am utterly vicious. Right now, I’m in a lazy period. 🙂