Friday, March 29, 2013

The Key to Keys

As I looked across the parking lot in front of the grocery store, I saw several bag boys gathered around a car. Several encouraged the two who had straightened coat hangars. They were trying to force the make-shift "snake" to catch the lock of the unyielding door. A frustrated mother with a baby on her hip and groceries melting in her cart stood by hoping for success.

When I came out, the car was gone. Were the bag boys successful or was it the work of a highly paid locksmith? Or was a long suffering husband called off his job to deliver another key?

I thought about my days of frustration over being locked out of my car. I remember the melting groceries and the bothered neighbor who delivered the other key.

Messies, myself certainly included, are frequently distracted. Habits are hard for Messies to establish and mine may falter at any time.

Let me tell you what I have done. I have had extra keys made which I carry in my coin purse. I have locked the keys in the car more than once recently, but I have not been locked out! When I see the keys hanging there in the ignition, I just smile and reach for my coin purse. The problem is solved!

If you find that you lock yourself out of the car or house, don't keep saying, "I'll try harder to remember. Next time I'll check before I lock the door." Trying to remember takes extra energy and frequently is futile. Forget trying to remember. Instead, make duplicate keys and keep them in your purse.

There is one more problem with keys - losing them. I'll share my ideas on how to keep our keys safe when they are lost, next time!

Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Secret Weapon for Dejunking the House

Memories don't take up any room. They don't clutter the table or closet. They can all be stored for easy review in the shelves and corners of our minds. It might seem that Messies could substitute their mental memories for all of the things they gather around them for sentimental reasons.

The truth that Messies cannot satisfactorily substitute mental memories for sentimental clutter because their ability to remember is frequently very poor. We save "remembrances" in order to try to conserve the memories of important events in our life which we might otherwise forget either completely or partly. By keeping the souvenir from our vacation or the sea shell from a day at the beach, we are trying to keep the brilliance of our memory fresh. If our past fades, an important part of our self fades.

In the past, I have written about substituting pictures (in moderation) for the souvenirs and the keepsakes that become just so much junk after a while.

Now I want to share another method of preserving our past. In a way, it is even better than pictures. This method is the keeping of a journal.

I use a spiral bound 6" x 9" plain, ordinary student-type notebook. This size is convenient for me, but, of course, any size you like will do. The notebook is not so big that if I should lose it, I would lose a large party of my writing. In my journal I write of the day's happenings and my feelings and thoughts about them. Sometimes my writing is daily. Sometimes I skip days. I find that keeping a journal does several things for me.

It satisfies the desire I have to ensure that my memories will not be lost, blotting out bits of my life which I am reluctant to release.

Another reason the journal is good is because it clarifies my thinking. As I take time to write events and thoughts, priorities and plans begin to form.

The third reason journal keeping is beneficial is because it forces me to take the time I need to focus on my life and its place in the world. It is a way of treating myself with dignity and it reinforces that dignity.

Why don't you think about a journal for yourself. Perhaps you will find that a journal will satisfy your memory keeping so well that you won't feel the pressure to keep trinkets. After a while, you may want to get rid of some of the trinkets you already have. The day they are ushered out of the house, you may want to note their going in your journal. You may want to reflect on the person or event they reminded you of.

This method works well for those who have been left the personal effects of loved ones. We may feel that we must keep their belongings even though we don't have need or room for them. I believe that if you give these items to other people or agencies who can use them and if you write about the items and your loved ones in your journal, you will have a certain sense of "rightness" in the fact that you have taken the step of getting rid of the offending clutter.

Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous