Lowering decluttering expectations

In a nutshell – I can’t do it all at once. No one can. This is how I remind myself that it’s ok not to do everything right now.

I’m at the better end of having building work done, I’m having a ceiling taken out in my sons bedroom. For the last 2 weeks the house has been covered in a steady flow of dust, we think it is probably Victorian smog, trapped between the roof and the ceiling, now free to roam and settle. The builder has been building, and because I like the physical work, and because it’s cheaper, I’ve been doing runs to the tip. The cleaning is all my responsibility.

The demolition is done, and the first coat of paint has gone on one room but the rest of the house is nasty. Coated in grey stuff that is making my computer run hot and getting in every pore of my face. Today is Friday and a friend was going to help me clean up the worst of it. He was going to do a few hours which would have made huge inroads into how horrible it is here at the moment. A text early this morning tells me he has the flu so he can’t make it.

Hi, my name is Lisa and I run a website about decluttering, here is my bedroom!

Hi, my name is Lisa and I run a website about decluttering, here is my bedroom!

In retrospect I had inflated ideas about what could be achieved by 2 people in this incredibly dusty house. The building work was going to happen in January, a whole month away, which would have given me time to gently sort through the crap my son has accumulated in the last 13 years and negotiate what could stay. In reality I had a weeks notice because the builder had a cancellation so everything went into my bedroom at super fast speed. The picture of my bedroom is before his mattress and chest of drawers went in. I’m getting into bed by hurling myself through the door and hoping I land in the right place. My son has been sleeping on the sofa in the front room. There are little catty paw prints in the dust and where the dust isn’t, there are little dusty catty paw prints. I had hoped to get my son into his bedroom today but that was never going to happen. There is just too much to do.

So, it’s good my friend cancelled. It has made me slow down and think about what I can do. I don’t have that slightly manic pressure on myself to fix it all right now any more. And, it turns out that another friend (who has no idea what she is letting herself in for) has jumped at the chance to help me a bit later.

My strategy for coping with this is:

  • Prioritise
  • Take it slow
  • Do one thing at a time
  • Have frequent tea breaks, with the good china, in the garden where there is no dust

The last point is the most important, grabbing a cup of tea with a layer of dust settling on it while I’m working won’t help. It won’t ground me, relax me or even quench my thirst. I’m not superwoman, I’ll do what I can without killing myself doing it, and I’ll reward myself later with the bubbliest of baths and a nice glass of something. In a good glass.

So, I’m off to the tip, then back for a sit in the garden, a stroke of a dusty cat and a nice cup of tea.