Knitting as Decluttering

Over the Christmas holidays, I started knitting again.  YAY!  It had been a while, probably several months, since I’d done any crafting at all.  It helped that I had the flu and THEN a cold during January, so I was home from work A LOT.

I’ve finished two afghans since Christmas!  One I started just after Christmas and finished near the end of January, while the other one is a crocheted work that I all-but-finished last spring and then put down because the finishing part is pretty tedious.  They both look really nice, I think!

Here are pics:

Rambling Rows afghan
Rambling Rows afghan
Babette Blanket
Babette Blanket

If you’d like to see more, check out my page on Ravelry.com at http://www.ravelry.com/projects/tfoz. For a funny story, look at the Knot Shoes to see my mistake when I made a pair that fit my giant cat’s feet, rather than itty-bitty baby feet.

Regarding decluttering yarn, decluttering by knitting is a very SLOW way to do it, but an extremely enjoyable way.  I posted last fall about how my issues with teeth-clenching had gotten a lot worse.  Well, knitting relieves that, for some reason!  I find myself not clenching my jaw at all while knitting.  I also got a kind of mouth retainer from a special dentist to help me stop clenching, and it works all right, but knitting is the best. : )

I would take pics of all the yarn I have in my “stash,” to prove how much there is that needs using up before I will let myself buy any more, but I don’t want to drag it out of the closet and then tell Elrond Hubby what I’m doing (he’ll just laugh, not at all in a mean way, but I do get a little embarrassed). The conversation would be something like:
EH: Why, why, why are you bringing all the yarn out of the closet?
Me:  Um, to take a picture of it and post it on my blog.
EH:  Why do you want people to know how much yarn you have?
Me:  It’s part of my decluttering thing.
EH:  OH (confused look).  And how long before you actually put the yarn back INTO the closet?
Me:  Ummm, before bedtime I guess?
(Then lots of laughing between us because he knows that if I were living alone, I would likely just leave it there and scootch it over to the side of the bed so I could sleep.  At least we laugh about it, and he never gets mad.)

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Decluttering Email???

The email decluttering project has really gotten me down.  I received 85 emails yesterday.  How can I keep up?  I’m back up to 5460 unread emails in my Inbox.  Maybe it will help if I categorize them and then be even more ruthless about unsubscribing to some things.   Here’s my list of categories (1 hour and 17 opened webpages later):

About blogging, writing, or from bloggers I follow:  7
Career stuff like LinkedIn, USAJOBs notices, Slideshare, etc.: 10
Store coupons, incl stuff like notices from Amazon about books on sale: 17 YIKES
Interesting articles from sites I subscribe to, ranging from ForeignPolicy.com to Care2.com: 10
Notices from foundations (not asking for money, just updates and the like): 8
Academic listservs or other notifications: 8
Receipts for purchases, bank statements, credit card balance notices, etc.: 10
Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Cute Overload: 3
Foundations or sites asking for $ or action: 4
Travel: 3
Cartoons: 1 (Mutts.com, my favorite, please go and look at them!)
Knitting/Crafts/Making music: 2
Recipes or food: 3
Ancestry or genealogy: 1
Surveys: 1
ecard suggestions: 1
About Moldova (where I did my fieldwork): 2
From me (at work) to me (at home): 1

OK, this list makes 92 emails, but somewhere along the way, I started counting ones that had come in overnight and I’m not going to go back and do it again.  I did unsubscribe to about 5 of them that I really don’t read anymore, do anything with, don’t shop at anymore, etc.  It’s a bit embarrassing that the most emails come in the category of shopping, but I was surprised about the number about career improvement.  As with anything, I seem to have built a bit of time in my day to read or think about career improvement, rather than just improving my career!  I’d love to hear your thoughts about how you deal with that or similar time-management dilemmas.

Decluttering Email

In a post last week, I wrote about making this year, “THE YEAR OF DECLUTTERING” (read in booming voice).  I forgot to mention that the commitment also includes emails.  About one and a half months ago, I had 10,000 unread emails in my inbox.  Yep, you read that right, 10,000.  Before Christmas, I got it down to about 8,000, but then with all those “buy this awesome thing” and “Christmas sale” emails, and then with the New Year’s “donate money to us before it’s too late” emails, the number had crept back up by several hundred.  Well, over the past few weeks, I’ve got it down to 5,210, as of this morning!!!

The so-called backlog happened because I used to leave emails unread when there was something important in them, when I had to go back and do something with them, but then it got out of hand.  I think I know how hoarding can creep up on you, because the emails certainly did.  All of a sudden, it became overwhelming to deal with them and I would just ignore them for a while, which only made it worse.

I used to be able to set my phone so it only showed 50 emails at a time, so on any given day, I only had 50 unread emails showing there.  That made for some sanity.  But with a new phone about a year ago, they ALL show up, and I got shamed at work when someone noticed the 9,000+ icon on the email app on my phone last November.  Yikes.

ANYWAY, I got the number down by being ruthless in getting rid of things that are sentimental, like Cute Overload emails and other things that I will probably never read or are stored on their own site that I can visit anytime.  I also put a bunch of items in mail folders, which eliminates the unread email problem yet gives me a sense of security that the emails are there if I really need them. You might say that’s cheating, but it is still a kind of achievement, I say.  Also, things that remained unread from a couple of years ago now are no longer important, so they are easy to get rid of!  HA!  : )

In addition, I unsubscribed from a bunch of lists, but that’s also hard to do.  I have a lot of varied interests, from crafts/knitting/crocheting to wilderness conservation to genealogy to current events to research topics for work, etc.  I’m afraid if I unsubscribe from a list, I’ll get out of touch, or even forget to check on events in that “world,” yet I don’t want to give any of them up.  Does anyone else have this problem?  In my ideal world, I would have a job that links all of my loves, but I don’t think such a job exists unless I can do research on wolves while fighting for wolf rights while also knitting wolfie sweaters to sell on the internet in a library where I can study genealogy when I get over-wolfed.  (Just for the record, I’m not only interested in wolves.  I could just as easily knit sequoia treeish trunk warmers for baby elephants.  I’m easy to please like that.)

Hope you have a great day and do some decluttering yourself!