(See my duvet cover up there? I make my bed every day now! Shocking news, I promise.)
I’m decluttering my space. I live in a small room (and am blessed to have it!) and it was crammed with stuff.
I “purged” a lot of it after I moved here in December 2014. I was in a state of shock, my partner having transitioned from female to male, my being asked to leave, moving 3000 miles away, and ending up back home where I started.
In 2015, my brother made a bonfire for me and I burned the medical charts I’d brought with me, many of my mementos (not even taking pictures of a lot of them), but kept a lot of other mementos having some sense I would want them when I had woken up from my PTSD that lasted three years.
I weighed almost 300 pounds when I got back to Orlando and my weight gradually went up until, in 2019, I knew I had gained a great deal of weight. I didn’t go to a doctor during the COVID years, so when I got back to a doctor that insisted I get weighed in early 2021, I weighed 370 pounds. I had been using a walker for over a year already.
I stayed off the scale for most of 2021, “refusing” to get weighed. The reality was most doctor’s offices’ scales didn’t go over 300, so it was moot anyway.
Then I got COVID in December 2021 and began having heart palpitations that I ignored until April 2022. I went to ER and was put in the hospital. Testing showed I had heart and lung damage from COVID even though I barely had a sniffle from it.
Setting Up My Immobility
Note: I do not have any before pics of my space and am looking for a before pic of myself and will add it when I find something. I will take a pic of myself now when the kids come to visit at the end of March.
As I got fatter and fatter, my mobility lessened (of course) and I moved everything in my room to within reach. I didn’t need to get up for anything but the bathroom, the kitchen, and to walk the two steps to the bed. Everything was microwavable or I ordered from Uber Eats.
I was in so much pain, I was sometimes drinking a bottle of amaretto three times a week. A bottle a night. Three times a week. Amaretto is 2910 calories per 750 ml bottle. And 53.6 percent carbs (sugar!). Three times a week, I was adding 9000 sugar calories to my already huge body.
April 26, 2022
By the time I was in the hospital from the COVID effects, I was all but immobile. I couldn’t go to the kitchen without using the walker. I was eating so much, it freaks me out now remembering.
I was weighed in the hospital and I weighed 395 pounds. I was five pounds away from 400 pounds.
Four Hundred Pounds.
I wrote about the visit with the ElectroCardiologist and how he gave me the ultimatum: “You can either change your life or you can live in a nursing home.”
My life shifted 180 degrees. (Read the post to see what I have done.)
Side note: I found the cardiologist in my medical records and emailed a giant thank you to him for saving my life. We had a great back and forth about the challenges of medicine and how good it was to hear he had done something positive. I will always be grateful to him for his wake up call.
Decluttering While LESS Fat
It has been nine months since the doctor gave me a glimpse of my possible future and I am now down 110 pounds. All from the changes I said in the above referenced post.
As I have lost weight and had less pain, I am able to breathe easier. I am not using the walker at all anymore. I’m able to walk to the mailbox (which is kind of far). I’m able to take the trash to the curb and not have to stop to breathe.
I watch the How to Declutter shows on YouTube and a constant refrain is to move. Get up off your ass and get momentum going for you. Stop at five minutes. Set the clock for 25 minutes (the Pomodoro Method), then rest for five and start 25 again. Don’t stop until a room is done. Don’t stop until a segment of the house is done. Don’t stop until everything in the house is picked up, tidied, scrubbed. Declutter, then tidy the garage. Declutter toys, shoes, clothes, Tupperware, spoons, dishes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hairspray, toss expired items (medications and food in particular), donate extra linens, declutter pictures, get rid of tchotchkes, toss old birthday cards, receipts, donate books, and toss magazines.
The list really is endless since decluttering and tidying are an ongoing experience.
- Touch something once.
- If you see it, pick it up and walk to put it where it belongs.
- Have a schedule for when you clean things.
- Tidy (pick things up) from bottom to top.
- Clean from top to bottom.
They show people on the floor scrubbing baseboards, grout, floors, walls. People are cleaning ovens, stoves, and making sure to wash their dishes before bed every night.
In general, this decluttering and tidying is a physical experience.
Moving Towards My Clean & Organized Future
Before I lost all this weight, my kids came in and helped me a clean and tidy a couple of times a year. The girls are going to redecorate my room and replace old furniture with a new desk, a wall unit, and a computer chair. When this plan started, the gist was to hire a company to come in, clean and declutter while I told them yay or nay, then set the room back up with the new things.
Instead, I am decluttering, cleaning, and keeping my room tidy.
I am moving. Physically moving.
This is something I have not been able to do for over a decade and here I am, getting up and getting something from another room, my mind amazed at my mobility and eagerness to move my body. If I forget something somewhere, I go get it without sighing and thinking, “I can do without that,” or “I’ll get it later.” I’m in awe of my body, my mind, and my motivation to get off my ass and get things done. This week alone, I mopped my room for the first time. It was a Swiffer liquid mop, but for fuck’s sake, I would never have thought to do that, let alone physically be able to do it a year ago.
Decluttering and Tidying When I Was Fat & Had Limited Mobility
I’ve thought about doing a whole blog post for those who cannot physically get up and do things like I am now. Then I remember, I sucked at trying to do it and hope they have someone like my kids to help them.
I used a reaching tool for things on the floor or were too high for me to grab. I swept for about 30 seconds at a time and dreaded having to use the dust pan because I would have to lean over. Then I bought one with a long handle and that helped, but it still was very challenging to empty into the trash can. If I cleaned, that meant I had trash to take out and the outside trash cans would have taken me 10 minutes to get to, stopping to lean against the wall or sit in a chair to catch my breath. Now, I get to them in 30 seconds.
I wonder if the decluttering and tidying might be a way to move our bodies for those of us who hate the gym or hate to exercise at all. There is a lot of talk about motivation to start, motivation to keep going once started, and motivation to continue after the initial cleaning and tidying is finished. I don’t know where my motivation has come from.
Oh. Yes I do.
It’s coming from sitting outside my body and watching it move around the room, the house, outside the house. It comes from doing things I have not done in over a decade. It comes because I don’t want it to abate. I have wondered these past months if I am still in hypomania, but I really think I am in a healthier, physically easier, state.
I did not expect this.
But I sure as fuck am loving it.