Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have



Life is testing me right now because after months of letting the housecleaning get put on the back burner it’s caught up to me. We have rats (roof rats) and I am really p*ssed off because I am the one doing all the cleaning now. My dad is not tidy and rarely cleans up after himself. Maybe I should cut him some slack but it feels like he doesn’t care about the clutter and dirt and he leaves it for me. In fact if it were not for the rats I likely would not have been motivated to clean up and declutter. So in that respect I am grateful for the rodents.

I’ve been trying to trap them humanely (catch and release) but they have evaded capture


Roof rat on top of a bird feeder. Pic is public domain.

thus far. All I hope for now is to eliminate the food sources and clutter so they will find somewhere else to live. Cleaning up rat poop is not fun and makes me feel worse about how slack I’ve been in keeping house these past months (prior to when I spotted one late in May). It’s like this is my punishment for being depressed and not having the motivation for keeping a clean, tidy home. Now I have no choice but to clean and declutter if I want the rats to go. Technically I have only ever seen two but I am sure there are likely more. Why do they have to be so cute? It would be easier to hate them but even now I am only angry over their unsanitary practices (i.e. pooping in places that are not the toilet, or leaving food they found before I smartened up and put the food in sealed glass containers). Honestly, I am really grossed out by their poop and have trouble falling asleep because any noise I hear makes me think of the rats. It’s wearing me down.



Roof rat. Public domain pic.

There’s just something about having a rat problem that makes me feel horribly dirty. I wish they would just leave and not return. They are making a lot of cleaning work for me and I do not like it! The grass, trees and rose bushes have to be trimmed too since they likely hide in such spots. Gosh, I feel like there is an awful lot to do so they will hopefully leave. Even if I was alright with killing them (I’m not) it would still be necessary to do the cleaning and decluttering so they don’t come back. As it is though I don’t want to kill them because they are dirty and messy but not any worse than humans. Plus they are cute and it’s awfully hard to murder a small furry creature that simply wants to live somewhere and have something to eat. I just hope they don’t damage anything important like pipes or electrical wiring.


©Natalya, Reflections on Life Thus Far, 2016.



Why I Can’t Watch Compulsive Hoarders On TV

An example of a compulsive hoarder’s home. Reminds me of how mine used to look before mom died and I was allowed to clear the junk.

For about a week I was watching various compulsive hoarder t.v. shows on YouTube that captivated me because I grew up with a mother who hoarded. Little did I know how triggered it would make me though. At first it was entertaining and slightly voyeuristic for me but I noticed after a few days my mood was dipping. So I initially chalked it up to PMS but it just didn’t feel like that explained it well enough for me. Then lying awake in bed feeling sad I realised it was my shame that had been triggered watching the compulsive hoarders on YouTube. I’d been transported back in time to the days when my mother hoarded and I felt powerless and ashamed of my home; embarrassed to have friends over I identified with the other adult children on these hoarder shows as they shared how they felt due to their parents’ hoarding problem. Of course having friends over is the last thing you want when you’re living in squalor essentially because one of your parents can’t throw anything out and collects stuff to the point there’s no room for anyone to actually live in the home anymore (cleaning anything is practically impossible too).

So once I had the ‘epiphany’ about where my uncomfortable feelings were stemming from I was able to wake up the next day feeling well again. No more compulsive hoarding shows for me! It felt too dreadful being moody without knowing why, reminded me of years ago when I didn’t have awareness of my emotional states. I felt scared thinking I might be slipping back into a time where any emotional state I was in came as a total surprise to me. Fortunately since stopping watching the compulsive hoarder shows I feel better. Likely the fact I honoured my feelings helped too because I could have simply brushed off my concerns like I used to and kept on watching the shows. But I don’t punish myself anymore and forcing myself to continue watching something that triggered shame and deep sadness in me wasn’t an option.

Now I watch shows where they clean messes and the people aren’t ill like on the hoarding shows that reminded me of my mom. My favourite is “How Clean Is Your House” with Kim and Aggie. It’s not produced anymore but I enjoy the old episodes. The UK episodes are better than the American b/c the Brits are funnier (IMO).

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®



Healing & Freeing Yourself From Clutter

My kind of bathroom! Love this. Image found here:

The more I heal emotionally and psychologically the less I need materially to be content. I have noticed that when I want distraction from something bothering me I seek out material things as though I actually ‘need’ them-in most instances I don’t need them at all. But thankfully this occurs much less now than it used to. In fact I did a big clutter clear-out last year and continue to weed out things I don’t need or want anymore. The less I have the better I feel! Of course I need some things but nothing like what I once believed necessary.

Personally, for me, clutter and excess things just drain my energy to the extent I feel restricted in my breathing and capacity to relax. I suspect this is from growing up with a compulsive hoarder for a mother and not having the power to do anything to affect change in my environment at home. Being powerless as a child to change your circumstances can often lead to rebelling against such constrictions and moving in the opposite direction. So I very much wish to keep my environment clutter free these days. Unfortunately, I did not have the energy or motivation to clear out the clutter for a long time because I was still ‘attached’ to it. The clutter was my mother’s and kept me connected superficially to her even though I didn’t want to be. It was as though I had too much emotional baggage I had to clear out first before I could tackle her clutter. For those of you who aren’t regular readers or have forgotten, my mother died in 2008. Thus, her hoarded possessions were left for my dad and I to sort through.

Dad doesn’t mind clutter so it was up to me to get rid of my mom’s accumulated clutter (aka junk!). As I mentioned, last year I got a lot of it cleared out and the difference was huge. It took me a number of months to do it because I was the only one doing it and dad sometimes felt overwhelmed by the shear volume of clutter I was removing. I knew I had to do it slowly so my dad wouldn’t be upset and ask me to leave everything where it was. Fortunately, as I got rid of more stuff along the way the positive changes impacted my dad and he saw I was making things better so objected less and less. That’s how it works though when you’re removing a lot of stuff and someone has been used to living with it so it doesn’t register for them as being a problem anymore. I think one has to be impartial or quite balanced to go through a load of clutter and not let it overwhelm you. You also need empathy for the hoarder or person holding onto the stuff or else it’s just too easy to tell them they need ‘professional’ help! LOL

Beautiful and true 🙂 Image found here:

These days I tend to look at anything I want to buy long and hard before hand because I need to think about where it will go and if I actually ‘need’ it or not. Generally it turns out I don’t need it and I opt to leave it in the store instead of buying it. It helps not having a lot of money but even with a small amount of money you can buy things you don’t really need as such. So I’m learning to always ask myself when I’m in a store if the item will be of use to me or if it will become clutter. This method works for me because it makes me slow down and be mindful of what I am contemplating buying. Another thing I have started to do is try to follow a rule of ‘one item in one item out’-in other words if I buy one item I have to get rid of an item I already have (I put it aside ’til I have enough to donate to Goodwill or another charitable organisation accepting household items/clothes). This prevents me from accumulating more things than I have space for or actually require for my well being.

As I’m thinking about clutter in the material realm I am reminded to mention our minds can get cluttered too. Our headspace tends to be reflected in our living spaces and the more clutter in your mind the more you’ll have around you. I also believe people can end up talking too much about things that don’t really matter just so the ‘space’ can be filled with something. Silence is difficult for a lot of people to cope with so talking about anything at all is better than nothing it would seem. I prefer the silence though to incessant ‘noise’ caused by someone uncomfortable with it. My head starts to hurt if I’m subjected to listening to someone chatter non stop. It really does get to me at times. Of course I try to be polite and civil so will tolerate it for awhile until I usually have to interject abruptly in order to escape or regain my serenity. I’m working on trying to maintain my equanimity whilst being subjected to mindless chatter and am slowly getting better at it.

Still, I don’t see why I should have to be providing all the accommodation when I am just as worthy as anyone else. Guess it comes back to recognising if I dislike my situation it’s up to me to change it. Although I try to accommodate others it’s not a given it will be reciprocated, nor is it actually mandatory. So if I have an issue with people talking too much about ‘nothing’ it’s ultimately my problem and I have to find a way to deal with it. This applies to anything we have problems with because we can’t change others behaviour, only our own.

How does clutter affect you? Do you struggle to maintain a ‘clutter-free zone’ or are you not bothered by it until it reaches a point where you *have to* do something?


©Natalya Lyubov, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®



Spiritual Spring Cleaning for a Happy Home (Psychics Universe article)


The Art of Decluttering (MindBodyGreen)


Office Decluttering: Before

Office Decluttering: Before (Photo credit: Sarah Braun)



Spring Cleaning Equals Improved Mood

Cleaning Supplies for Spring Cleaning

Cleaning Supplies for Spring Cleaning (Photo credit: Chiot’s Run)

Okay it isn’t Spring quite yet but it looks and feels like Spring where I am; thus, I decided to continue my clutter clearing efforts. My closet got a clutter clear out today which resulted in me needing two storage boxes instead of four for my stuff. Later I may figure out how to pare things down even more but for now it is sufficient. I feel quite good about my efforts. It’s great when I can clean and feel happier when finished. Less clutter in my environment means I end up feeling better. Dust, dirt and clutter are all things that contribute to me feeling miserable. Cleaning isn’t loads of fun for me but I appreciate the end results. I like how I can look around and see SPACE that used to be overtaken by either dust or clutter.

The only annoying thing is I am the only one who notices. My dad, whom I live with, never notices if I’ve dusted or not. His vision isn’t great so I guess that’s why. Still, I have to remind myself I clean for myself more than anyone because I notice the difference. My mood is a lot better when I keep up the housework even if I don’t enjoy it. There is a sense of satisfaction I get whilst I’m cleaning and clearing out clutter though. So I guess I enjoy it in a small way. Just don’t ask me to come clean your house!

Is Spring cleaning something you take part in every year? Or do you see it as just another day? My Spring cleaning has been stretched out a bit because there was lots to do. My yard has yet to be cleaned but I’ll save that for another day. I sort of cringe thinking about the yard because it’s a real mess. Lots of pruning to do too. Loads of fun! NOT 😛

©Natalya, 2013.


Life History in 2 Pages

English: Feng Shui crystal

English: Feng Shui crystal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the portfolio workshop I have been attending I have to think of a theme or some way in which to express an aspect of my life in 2-4 pages. Essentially I’ve got to think about my entire life and which piece I want to write about. Likely I should have thought about writing it before today but I did begin considering themes for it immediately following last session. I’ve decided to write about ‘transformation’ because I see that as a salient theme in my life. Now I just need to actually write the story out. Fun! (not) 😛

The other thing I have to do is write some sentences about my skills which should not be too bad. We were given a few pages of various skills to choose from to help with the process. But I am now thinking about Feng Shui and what I’d like to do to clear clutter. Unfortunately I haven’t got the time now! I also have to do my laundry and other domestic delightful duties. Suddenly I feel like I have gone from not having enough to do to having more than enough to do. Guess you have to be careful what you wish for, eh?

I’ll try to read some of your blogs too because I haven’t been keeping up with reading them all lately. I apologize for that but will do my best to catch up. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend 😀

©Natalya, 2013.


Feng Shui Your Home

Feng shui Luopan compass

Feng shui Luopan compass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll assume you all know what I mean by Feng Shui but in case you don’t it’s basically setting up your home in a way conducive to positive energy flow. You place your furniture strategically for good energy to enter your home. I’ve had a book on the topic of dealing with clutter in a Feng Shui method for years but have never done much with it. Now I feel like I should make an effort you know to arrange my stuff for maximum potential.

The whole thing is kind of daunting so I’m just going to deal with my computer room that I use most (for blogging) and see how it goes. Anyone Feng Shui their home before? If I had lots of money I’d hire an expert to do it for me but I think I can figure it out for myself. I’m not sure if I should have my desk with computer in the area of creativity and projects or prosperity, abundance and fortunate blessings. Or maybe I should place it in the space for knowledge and wisdom. This is probably covered somewhere in the book but me being the lazy (efficient) person I am, I avoid bogging myself down with unnecessary information. Ah heck, maybe I’ll scan the index or something.

Well I got side tracked and ended up weeding out a pile of books from my larger bookcase (I have two). So that feels good but I never got to anything else because just weeding books is hard for me! I get attached to them but the ones I took out are books I didn’t feel I needed anymore. As a sentimental slob I hang onto things most would chuck in the bin but I struggle with guilt, guilt over tossing something someone gave me; especially when it was well thought out and suited me. Then there are the countless journals and diaries I kept that I know I would be better off without but I hate the thought of throwing them out. What am I supposed to do with them? I’ll be shredding all weekend! Call me paranoid but nobody’s going to be able to read my old journals. Good thing I have a fairly good shredder.

This Feng Shui stuff might take me longer than I thought. Apparently you have to clear your clutter first to help with the proper flow of energy. Crap! I’ll be all year with my things. Well maybe not all year but certainly a few weeks anyway.

What do you think about Feng Shui?

©Natalya, 2013.


More De-Cluttering(is that a word? lol)

For economical reasons I live with my dad and often bemoan the fact he hangs onto a lot of clutter. Well, today was my lucky day as he decided to donate a load of blankets, towels and sheets to the Salvation Army. Finally our linen cupboards look half decent! I think he’s making progress. He’s actually deciding to get rid of things he had trouble parting with just a year ago. It’s all stuff he wasn’t using and hadn’t been used in a very long time but he just wasn’t able to part with it until now. So I feel proud of him and hope he keeps it up, as we have more things to purge yet!

Next on the clutter purging agenda: two old bikes, a headboard and bed frame. He says he’ll get rid of these too and I’m making sure he doesn’t put it off for ages like in the past. Fingers crossed.

My Zazzle designs are coming along nicely. I’ve added more products and now have close to 40 items in my ‘shop’. If you haven’t visited the site yet and like being creative using the computer, this is the site to go to. Everything is free to create and you just design it how you like then sell the item for a royalty. It’s not a ‘get rich quick’ sort of thing by any means, unless of course you consider $50 rich! LOL, that’s the amount you need to make in order to ‘cash out’. If you’re selling stickers, buttons and paper it could be quite awhile before you cash out! So I do the moderate range stuff like t-shirts, mugs and electronics cases, etc. Definitely something you want to do because you like it, not for the profit…as there’s hardly any.

Anybody else enjoy making things and selling them? Arts and crafts are not really ‘my thing’ but I enjoy the Zazzle stuff since I just do everything on the computer. Has anyone tried etsy? I am enjoying getting my creativity exercised so think I’ll explore other sites too offering similar opportunities.

* My shameless self-promotion:


Clearing Out Clutter

ZX Spectrum+2...sad end

ZX Spectrum+2…sad end (Photo credit: Bill McIntyre)

I have just finished going through my closet and bookshelves and found lots of items to give away to my local charity. It’s so freeing when I manage to go through a lot of my things and manage to come up with two garbage bags full of things I don’t need/want anymore. A lot of excellent books but I don’t need them as much as someone else might. So I figure why hang on to things just for the sake of it? The items were cluttering up my closet, dresser drawers and bookcase shelves. Now I have space again. More importantly, I don’t feel the urge to rush out and fill the space back up! Before now I would have thought to myself “wow, look at all the free space…now I can go buy more stuff!”, instead I just appreciated the ability to make my space look nicer. As far as the clothes go, I wasn’t wearing them and they didn’t feel ‘right’ anymore when I put them on because I’m not the same person( internally) I was when I originally bought them. Someone else can wear them and benefit from them.

A wall closet in a residential house in the Un...

A wall closet in a residential house in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every time I do a space clearing getting rid of clutter I just feel so much better. It’s clearing out all the stagnant energy from items not being used in eons. With the things I have left there is greater appreciation for them because I use them regularly. They aren’t sitting around sad and neglected. If clothes, shoes and books could be sad and neglected mine would have clinical depression! LOL But now they are ready to be brought back to life in someone else’s bookcase or closet, where they’ll be read and worn. I know I am being silly but it’s just to bring home the fact I held on to things unnecessarily. If you have trouble parting with things you don’t use anymore then it may be interesting to ask yourself why. The reason I hold onto clutter is I fear that I won’t be able to replace it if I need it sometime in the future. But this is a negative way to think about one’s life. It suggests that I don’t trust myself to be able to provide for myself what I need. So instead of ‘hoarding’ to avoid anxiety over uncertainty in the future about not having enough, I think about the fact I haven’t used the items in over a year or more and don’t feel any attachment to them sentimentally. Why would I want to keep such things? I trust myself and know that whatever is cleared out is unnecessary for my well-being, thus I can feel confident in my choice to give away the items I am parting with now.

© Zen Lady Meditating and Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Zen Lady Meditating and Reflections On Life Thus Far with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.