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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spot the difference

No really, I have been working on this ...

Anyone who has questioned the buddhist maxim "everything is connected", clearly has never tried to declutter their house. I know a comparison of the photos requires a magnifying glass to see the changes, but most of the things crowding the room are required for regular use, while the wardrobe has been packed (with extraordinary and disheartening efficiency) with all the things we never use. 

So over the past fortnight I have been concentrating on moving things out of the wardrobe to a storage locker.  There are now 12 things in it, including golf clubs (used once over the past 11 years), a box of video tapes (last watched over 6 years ago), a christmas tree and decorations (at least they get used once a year).  This will allow me to create a home for the things we do use in the wardrobe and get them off the floor.

Another tricky aspect about decluttering is that it opens your eyes to how much clutter surrounds you.  So I have also been working on other areas of the apartment:
  • the two guitars and two violins we own are now safely housed in my parents' back room,
  • my Thomas Gannon coffee table is now a giant toy box, while the 3 year old magazines and newspapers that were in its draws are now cleared out,
  • a collection of stray homeless items are now in a "find a home" box for dealing with as I progress.
The silver box I discussed in my last post appears to be working.  In these types of things you can never sit back and wait for the universe to come to you, so I called my boss so he could give me the phone number for HR and wrote it down on a catalogue while talking to him. Of course I ended up throwing out the catalogue before I called HR, but then I thought, "OK silver box, lets test you out".  I decided I would look under the silver box to see if I could find the piece of paper with the phone number for HR (and my employee number, which I would also need).  The silver box was sitting on the desk with nothing underneath (you can see it in the second picture above, on the left hand corner with a CD-ROM box sitting on top of it).  So I opened the draw below it and pulled out a bunch of papers.  The last piece of paper was the one I was looking for.  I called HR and 10 minutes later they had emailed me my pay slips.  I now just need one of my husband's payslips, and I have all I need to apply for the baby bonus.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Project: Decluttering

My husband and I have lived in our apartment for nearly six years, I have never been happy with the amount of stuff we have in it.  We now have a baby who needs her own room - here is what her room looks like at present:

I once read that the best advertising works by making you envy your amazing future self which possesses the item being advertised (Ways of Seeing by John Berger).  This is what makes decluttering difficult - you pick up something you haven't used for years and you imaging yourself using it so you want to keep it.  Decluttering means you have to admit that you are old and boring and never do the fun stuff you used to do.  It means facing up to the fact that you have wasted thousands of dollars on things you have only used a couple of times. It means accepting that the "future" you with the advertised item is no more amazing than the past you without it.

Being me, I, of course, own a book on decluttering called Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston.  It claims that clutter clearing "is one of the most powerful, transformative aspects of Feng Shui" and mentions that decluttering gives you energy.  I have found this to be true.  In the few days before I started decluttering I was getting out of bed at 11am and spent a lot of time on the couch.  Yesterday, the day after I started decluttering, I was up at 8am and spent the whole day being active.  Today, I was up at 8:30am.

Clear Your Clutter also explains how the bagua relates to your home.  The bagua is a 3x3 grid which links different areas of your home with different aspects of your life.  The room above affects two areas:
  • Career / Life Path / Journey - which is definitely the area in which I feel my life is most blocked at the moment; and
  • Helpful friends / Compassion / Travel
 The website Feng Shui Palace explains this second area in more detail.  Amongst other things, it says:
"This part of the home (the front right gua) is associated with getting you into the synchronicity of life. When you are in-sync, you don't have to expend any energy getting help with anything. It is also usually easier to make money when you are in-sync with life."

I find this interesting, not just because it mentions money, but because I have been trying for months to get my application for the $5000 baby bonus sorted out and each time its a case of one step forward, ten steps back.  The problem is that I need to send in pay slips to prove I don't have an income while on maternity leave.  To get the payslips I need to log onto the HR system at work.  I was going to do this from home, but I couldn't find my token, so I went into work one evening, but I had been locked out of the HR system because I had not logged into it for over one month.  I called the IT Help Desk, they said because it was after business hours all they could do was arrange to email me a new password the next day.  I couldn't make it back the next day, so I left it.  About two months later I found my token, so I thought "great, I can get IT to send me a new password, log in and get my pay slips".  But when I tried to log into work from home I was locked out completely from the whole system.  I called IT, they said that because it had been too long since I last logged in my access had been cancelled. Yesterday, I thought I would just telephone HR and ask them to post me my payslips but I couldn't find the telephone number even though I was certain I have placed it in a particular draw.

Feng Shui Palace suggests getting a silver box, placing a written prayer of thanks for what you want in the box and putting it in the Helpful Friends etc area of your house.  I went into the room to see if I could find something appropriate to use for the box, thinking I didn't have anything.  First I saw my husband's glasses case, which is silver, so I was going to use that.  Then I saw the rewards pack that Ford gave us when we bought a car from there a couple of years ago.  It comes in a silver box (and is more clutter I intended to get rid of).  I took out the rewards paraphernalia, which is now out of date, and put in a green (the colour for money in Feng Shui) card saying "Thank you for sending me the baby bonus."  Clear Your Clutter says that these "cures" don't work as well when a room is cluttered, but we will see what happens.