Declutter: Your TV Life

I guess this isn’t so much about “how to” declutter your life in regards to TV, but rather a banter about how hard it is to not record a bunch of shows and clutter up my Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and stressing myself out needlessly!

I am finally sitting down to writing this page. One large factor that has delayed me in writing sooner is the large queue of shows in my DVR to be watched. After being home alone with the kids all day, then dinner and bed at 8pm… that leaves me approximately 2 to 2.5 hours of time to do my own grown-up stuff, including cleaning up the kitchen for the night, catching up on the computer, maybe visiting with my husband, possibly reading a book and catching up on the ton of TV shows stored on my DVR. And then maybe I can sneak in a page to my beloved website. The pressure of deciding how to do everything in a short evening has become simply maddening.

I love the invention of the DVR! This is “organizing TV” at its finest! I don’t know what I’d do without mine. There is no way I could ever go back to organizing my recorded TV shows on video cassettes without missing episodes, watching them out of order, or some other disaster. However, with the DVR comes the flexibility and ease to record and store more TV shows that I can actually watch.

My problem isn’t that I actually watch too much TV. It’s that I wish I could watch more TV and so I record a lot of shows that I simply can’t get to, and then feel guilty because I’m falling behind on watching them and filling up the DVR! And, being a person who likes to keep things orderly, I hate seeing excess shows on the DVR. It's messy. I know, silly... my husband teases me all the time trying to explain that that's what a DVR is for. Nope, for me, I'd LIKE to see a handful of shows to be watched and that's it. It would help me feel "caught up". I love the satisfaction of crossing things off ALL of my lists!

Decluttering my DVR - I literally have the first seven episodes of one TV show on the DVR (the entire season so far, unwatched), along with 6 of another, 5 of another and those are just the shows I watch without my husband (or rather, don’t actually watch because I don’t seem to get to them). The shows we watch together we seem to keep up for the most part. Plus we have a membership to Netflix to rent movies. (We really love the convenience of Netflix!) We’ve recently changed our account to only having one DVD in our house at a time because of the TV season taking most of our focus right now. You should see how big the queue is on our Netflix account! Yup, another “to watch” list!

I have one evening a week to myself after the kids go to bed. I feel overwhelmed trying to figure out exactly how I intend to spend that two hours of alone time because I have so many things I want to do. I feel pressure to clear out my DVR queue of shows. But interestingly enough, the things that seem to win out in the long run are NOT watching my TV shows.

So, what’s my point? Why am I even still recording these shows and making my “to do” list or rather my “to watch” list longer than it need be? I hate the feeling of getting behind with anything... emails, laundry, magazines, TV, you name it. So why do I continue to pile on shows when there simply isn’t enough time to watch them all?

Letting go of TV – Last season when the writers went on strike I got a very unexpected and pleasant break from television. I actually didn’t mind it. I had plenty of other things to do to fill my time and I knew I wasn’t missing anything because no one was watching TV. With the new TV season that started this fall we discontinued watching several of our shows from past seasons to help declutter our TV watching. We also vowed NOT to watch any new shows because they always seem to get cancelled half way through the season anyway and that’s even more frustrating… to have invested time in a story just to have it cut short and discontinued with no resolution. But even with doing that, we have a significant number of shows recording on the ole’ DVR. It’s just so convenient! And we can keep them for a while and not have to worry about losing cassette tapes or taping over something, so why not plop it on the record list.

But mentally, the stress of feeling like I’m not keeping up is silly. I need to learn to let go of some of the TV shows just like I’ve learned to let go of physical items in my house when I declutter. I know that once I learned to let go of clutter in my house, it felt wonderful and became something I enjoyed. If I can just make that big step to declutter those shows that I haven’t even watched this season, my mental load and my “to watch” list would be much shorter and I’m sure I’d feel more freedom to do the things I really enjoy, such as reading or working here on my website without feeling guilty about that DVR filling up!.

Can I do it?

Could you do it?

I’ll let you know… And if you get a chance, please let me know what YOU did! Thanks!

One year update:

It's been about a year since I posted this page. And guess what?! After I posted it, I went and deleted those TV shows. I dropped watching three series and I haven't missed them. Yeah, it was a little hard to hit "delete" but truly, I'm fine without them. This season I have two shows I watch alone and I've managed to keep up just fine. We're managing the shows we watch together pretty well too. We have not taken on anything new. And hey, I've even had more time for reading!

I hope that this inspires you to declutter your DVR and reduce your TV watching a bit. I know I still have room for improvement, but so far, so good.

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