Clutter, clutter everywhere!

I have a confession to make.  I spend way too much time on my computer. Shocking, I know. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I truly understood my obsession/addiction to all things web based.

This week as part of our teacher training homework we were asked to do a fast. When I first read the word “fast” I thought Michelle was asking us to go without food for a day. My first thought was that there was no way that was going to happen. Then when I read the assignment a little closer I realized she was asking for us to look for a place in our life where we were experiencing overload and to take a one day break from how we ususally spend our time.

Here’s the assignment:

Shauca and 5th Chakra are both about clearing, clarity, purity. In honor of that, let’s do a one-day fast. Consider what you need to fast on…where do you proliferate, clutter, confuse your life unnecessarily?  Chose one aspect of your life and create the intention to cleanse in that direction.  It may be the simple act of not taking in any stimulant of any sort: tea, coffee, sugar, alcohol, etc.  It may be a cleanse of TV, radio, movies, papers.  It may be a fast of email and phone obsession. You chose the topic and the day. Comments?

 Here are my notes on my day without the internet….

INTENTION: One day fast = no internet 10/18/09. Instead of tweeting, Facebooking, Googling, Yelping and emailing all day I’m going to work on cleaning house, grading papers, lesson planning and reading books. Then I’m going out to dinner with my Jeddy and possibly going to the movies.

 REALITY: Got up at 7:30 and immediately thought I need to check my Twitter and Facebook. Then I remembered my fast and started tidying up and organizing my very unorganized stuff.

First stop: the snack shelf in the kitchen. The plethora of nuts, dried fruits and seeds was unruly and uncontrollable. Enter basket from the laundry room and now it’s all tidy. Just that small step feels like a huge victory against the clutter.

Next stop: the coffee table/couch/otherwise known as my “office”.  I took everything off and from under the coffee table. Holy moly – the treasures found there! Armed with the garbage and recycling bin I made three huge piles of keepers: yoga, adoption and work. Shocking that those piles were huge, given that is all I’m doing these days. I also found a huge pile of shoes, but that’s a whole other post! 

I dusted the living room and realized part of my problem is that my yoga stuff doesn’t have a home other than on and under the coffee table. I took care of that problem by tackling the bookshelf next to the front door. Again armed with the recycling bin, garbage can and my 3 piles I got to work on that. Shocking! Another treasure trove: yoga, adoption and work. More shoes, scarves and jackets too!! 

Now that the bookshelf was cleaned off, I put all my yoga stuff in one place. All my books finally have a home! I searched the house for all of them and now they live on the bookshelf by the front door. I vacuumed underneath the couch and the chair in my “office” and I felt like a new person!

 Work stuff is now organized and returning to work with me Monday morning. Adoption stuff is going with the other adoption stuff. Ahhhhhh…. space!

 It turns out clutter busting is contagious! Jed’s “office” – the dining room table – sits directly across from my office – the couch. His piles of crap were bugging me too. He was inspired to clean it off. Now the “view”  from my office is better too!

 Next stop: my closet.  Underneath all the piles of stuff shoved in there were the last remnants of my last big organization day. It only took about 30 minutes to clear out all the unwanted clothes that I threw in there over the last year. I made Jeddy take them to a green donation box because I am good at getting stuff out of my closet, but not so good at getting them all the way out of the house. Then I put away all my clean laundry from last weekend, made my bed dusted and vacuumed. Another clean, organized room!

 Jeddy, still inspired by my frantic work, washed all the dishes and emptied the dishwasher. I washed down all the surfaces in the kitchen.  Another clean room!

In between all the cleaning, I also graded some exams, filled in scan trons, started grading writing and thinking about report cards and upcoming parent teacher conferences.

At dinner time Jed and I went out and enjoyed conversation. We finished the day by watching two episodes of Dexter. While we were watching I realized how much I’ve been splitting my attention because for once I was watching without my computer sitting on my lap. True confessions! I watch TV while working on my computer – multitasking at its worst!

Admittedly, during every activity I was wondering what was going on with everyone I know. I am so used to knowing what people are doing “right now” that it felt strange being so far removed. I thought many times of all the things I needed (including my mile long to-do list still on my email), but I kept my promise to myself all day and never went online. 

 This fast is exactly what I needed. My physical space was closing in on me and I really felt like I wasn’t doing my part around the house and it showed. I’m now feeling better about that. I’m also feeling the sense of accomplishment that comes only with physical work and the space that comes with getting rid of unnecessary clutter.

In addition to the clearing of my physical space, my mind felt focused and uncluttered for the first time in a long time. I had the time and space to think about what I needed to do and the focus to accomplish a very long list of tasks.

 In doing this assignment I also learned something that I think I already knew. I spend WAAAAAAAYYY too much time online! I’ve decided I’m going to have to set limits on my media time so I can get more done and have this feeling more often.