Keeping What Resolution Makes Me Happiest?

Recently on the Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin asked,

What resolution (successfully kept) would make you happiest?

That didn’t take much thought – getting the house decluttered and these piles gone would make me soooooo happy.

Now, I want to enjoy my accomplishments also.  I’ve decluttered quite a bit since the beginning of the year when I set this as a 2012 goal.  Our little extra room in the attic got cleaned early on.  I didn’t think to take a before picture, but here’s how it still looks now.  Before I decluttered it, you could barely walk to the bike and that was all you could do.  The floor was deep in wall to wall stuff and junk.  It looks pretty good, eh?

Thankfully the camera isn’t showing how dirty the floor is! I might have kept it cleaned up,
but I haven’t done quite so well keeping it actually clean.
It’s much more fun taking pictures at Williamsburg than vacuuming.

I’ve kept up on the piles of paper coming into the house.  I cleaned out our master bedroom closet.  I also cleaned out the pantry, getting rid of old and unused items.  Unfortunately, I had to do a second time after it got all messed up.  I’ve been more diligent in keeping it straightened up since the second cleaning, but I think it could use another clean again.

Let’s see – what else have I done since January?  I made inroads in organizing my home computer photos and documents.  I cleaned out files and the fileroom at work.  That felt good and it was nice to not have the files so crammed in.

But I haven’t made much progress on the old piles and it’s frustrating me.  I WANT THEM GONE GONE GONE.  It helps to do this with some company to keep me amused and provide short breaks for lovin’.

My faithful companion. He’s the best company and would rather stay with me than occupy the couch (like another dog in our household). Notice all the boxes as I sorted, organized, and put stuff away?

So a few weekends ago when it was lethally hot out, I spent the weekend working off and on trying to tame more piles.  I realized that huge stack of magazines in my office had no place to go if I wanted to keep them.  I know this is not going to sound very profound, but I really had to start small if I was going to accomplish this.

I decided that one of the shelves in my office had stuff that could be mostly tossed out.  I had literature from our move to Virginia that was no longer applicable.  There were old Photoshop magazines to toss, outdated because of the changes in the software in the last few years.  I also got rid of tourism information from other states we lived in.  If we ever go back, I’ll replace it then.

Can you believe it? A whole shelf open and free.
That is a GREAT accomplishment and really encouraged me.

With a free shelf, I went through the magazine piles on my table and floor.  Many went into a pile to go to a friend.  A few more got tossed.  Ultimately, I cleared a big area on my table and floor between the magazines and reshelving books that I was done reading.  I could spend hours sorting through my books, so I resisted that and only evaluated the books I was putting away.

I also cleaned a bookshelf outside my office.  I’d never transitioned the books to it as planned and it eventually became another pile of stuff.  I put away old receipts, office supplies, stuffed animals, some pantry items (I keep an overflow pantry upstairs), and a bunch of other things.

It’s easy to get derailed with this kind of project, at least for me.  I hate doing it and I dislike trying to figure out what to do with all of it.  What should I keep, what should I toss, what will or will not be important later.  One of the things on this other bookshelf was 5 years of my Dayrunner daily calendars.  Five years!  I think they got pushed around since we moved in here and eventually accumulated in a corner.

I’d put rubberbands around them, which were already sagged or broken.  I’ve never been able to get rid of these and have them going back 15+ years in the unfinished part of the attic.  I still can’t stand to get rid of them.  They have no value.  The phone calls, questions, and projects are long done and stale, even the ones from just a year ago.  If my notes were important enough, they were copied or scanned and put into a permanent project file.

But each time I open up my daily sheets, I’m transported back to work, what I did, who I worked with, my joys and frustrations in the workplace.

So I got my cooking twine and tied them up into a sturdy bundle, got a storage box out and put them in the unfinished half of the attic with the other ones.  Someday I’ll toss them, but not today.  I didn’t want to stop decluttering to argue with myself why I didn’t need to keep them any longer.  That’s an argument for a different day when I’m not getting rid of so many other things.

All those years of history. . . I couldn’t toss them out.

Each time I left the room – to get a box, go up to the attic, whatever – the beagle followed me.  He’s not too big on cuddling, but he’s great on staying in the room and being there with me.

He’s also a restless sleeper and changes positions every 10 minutes or so.  At one point, he took over the easy chair.  I don’t think he looks very comfortable, but he didn’t seem to notice.

Notice how squished his face is? He does that a lot.

I made a huge dent in the piles.  There’s still a lot to go, but I’m happy to have some working room and to have cleaned off the table and floor at least.  I haven’t done much since this weekend.  Between going to Atlanta and doing regular chores the other weekends, it wasn’t a high enough priority.

But framing this question to myself – what resolution (successfully kept) would make me that happiest – plus some success with this goal, is helping keep me motivated to stay after it.

How about you?  What resolution do you need to work on that would make YOU the happiest?

Goals & Resolutions Life Lessons

dogear6 View All →

I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at

16 Comments Leave a comment

  1. It sounds like you are making progress. Funny about those dayrunner type calendars – I have some, too – they are like records of those times – almost a journal or diary. Little snips of time. Haven’t been able to chunk those yet.
    And it does seem easier if a dog is keeping you company while you sort.
    Little bit at a time…now I’m feeing guilty and like I should go in there and start that sorting and pitching again…

    • I’m so appreciating the comments that I’m not the only one who can’t through out my calendar pages! I really hate decluttering but am so satisfied when it’s done. And thanks for the update on the German. It sounds like Granny is getting the newcomer browbeaten already.

  2. Simplicity. I’ve been on a decluttering binge myself. It went along with the home renovation and I was surprised how much I still had to get rid of as this isn’t the first decluttering I’ve undertaken. I’m commited to eliminating excess but my weakness is a strong attachment to keeping too many clothes.

    • I have that problem with books. I want to keep them all. One thing that helps me is to put stuff in a box that I really don’t think I need to keep, then setting it aside for a year. Often a year later I’ll either decide that yes, I do want to keep it or no, I really didn’t miss it. But it takes time to let go of attachments to my stuff.

  3. You are an inspiration! I’ve been making some progress on de-cluttering this year, too. I need to make the trip to drop off the charitable donations and reclaim some space in the laundry room. It’s nice to have a buddy to keep you company. Our golden retriever was always at my feet when we had him.

  4. You have done an incredible amount of decluttering. I totally agree with hanging onto your old datebook pages. I can not part with mine either and believe it or not there may be a time when you want to check them to jog tour memory. I have had occasion to dig back through mine to recall a name or figure out which year I purchased something.

  5. Wow, I am impressed. I need to declutter badly but the resolution that would make me happiest was getting book #3, completed and published this year. Guess what, Amand in England – The Missing Novel is now published! In spite of a crazy year job wise and mom wise, I still managed to do it. But alas, the piles are still here, waiting for me to get at them. Eventually……

    • I think that getting book #3 done is a great resolution to accomplish! Besides, the piles will wait. . . very patiently in fact. Maybe you can get Andy to help :)

    • Thanks Lynda – I have gotten a lot done, which is why I wrote it out. It helps keep me encouraged to see I made progress.

      And yes, get out there and start exercising!

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