Letting Go of Clutter and Chaos
I have driven through the Goodwill drop-off so many times in the last few weeks that I actually am ashamed. And really, shame isn’t something that comes easy to me. (Too much therapy to give into that wasted energy.)
But, as I unload boxes and bags of books, clothes, toys, knick-knacks, a horrible sense of waste grabs me. I wonder what the attendants think of me. I told my husband I don’t even know how half of this stuff got into the house. Seriously, no idea.
I do feel so great driving away, and if my car had a La Cucaracha horn, I’d be blaring it for blocks and blocks.
I have spent January opening drawers and pulling out what we don’t use. Big underwear, little underwear, kitchen gadgets, paperbacks, old t-shirts, holey socks, you name it. I think I am a lipstick hoarder. Always buying the shade that will definitely be my forever shade. Not sure if it is fortunate, or unfortunate, that I buy the inexpensive drug store stuff.
Now, when I complain to friends about the drain this caca is on my life, they laugh. Why? Because the common areas of my house are clean and except for my stack of bills and magazines and to-do lists in the kitchen, it is pretty together.
But, my office is piled with paperwork that has to be filed or shredded. I move from one client to the next without putting away the first client’s stuff. I spend my time moving piles around, or digging through them to find things. Our craft/play room has about eight years worth of photo projects that need to be finished, or plain started. Me da una cosa just thinking about it all.
Until recently, my bedside table had a year’s worth of magazines on it. Yes, indeed, a year. My magazine fetish is almost as great as my lipstick fetish. My attic has old journals, letters, and clothes from the ‘80s — because you know, someone will use them one day. Yeah, right.
Time for it all to go.
I want to build a giant bonfire and throw it all in.
My desire for clearing feels desperate.
I know why.
When Nashville flooded in May, I saw the wreckage it left. I saw the mess of books, toys, trinkets, you name it, laying in people’s yards. I thought of my own boxes full of “memorabilia,” the pants I had not worn in a couple of years, the crap in the junk drawer. I shuddered to think of a natural disaster taking all my unused stuff and sending it flying through Middle Tennessee, or at least up into the trees outside my house, for all to see.
I do have excuses for my chaos. I am a deadline junkie and the piles have to be put off to tend to the here and now: The kid, the dishes, the dog, the work deadlines. You know, the daily stuff that has to get done.
But 2010 kicked my ass and put me farther behind than I ever have been — from time spent volunteering for flood clean-up, to freelance work, to editing the Tiki Tiki. So the clean-it-all-out at home was put off and off and off. It is no wonder I have gained weight. My energy has gone into too much into work and not enough into taking care of myself, my personal space. Balance is off. Totally off. I have been amazed by how many friends are feeling the same way. And, it doesn’t feel it’s all about New Year’s Resolutions. I think we’re all suddenly tired of too much.
And without saying too much about other people, four friends have cancer — all young, talented, amazing women. It is a fact that has taken my breath away a few times lately. I have thought of them as I have purged. Should I ever get sick, I do not want messy drawers and junk in the attic to keep me from focusing on wellness. You know?
My 2011 resolution to myself is to purposely limit freelance for the first part of the year, to limit screen time, to exercise daily, to declutter, to be more present. I have been watching Hoarders for shock therapy. It works.
I am not even half-way through and it does feel overwhelming. But, I am borrowing the One Day at A Time slogan. Progress, not perfection.
As I go through the stuff, I employ the rule learned on Hoarders: You get three seconds to decide. I love that and it works. No time for rationalizing, no time for talking yourself into “using it one day.” Bye, bye y p’al you-know-what.
I also try to remember what a Feng Shui consultant told me years ago when she mapped out a plan for our last house: “When you keep things you don’t need or use, you send the Universe a message that it will not provide.”
I just remembered that in my bathroom cabinet, there is a bag of rollitos I haven’t used in at least a decade. Have you seen my hair lately? There won’t be any rollito action anytime soon.
I’m going to go bag those up.
How is your life balance lately? Is stuff clogging up your chi, your joy?
Be sure to read this week’s essays by Marcela and Marta. Tomorrow, Monica is at bat. Share your tips and tricks for decluttering and click on over to my curated links for simplicity, decluttering and order. Oh, and read the smart ideas our community has shared on our Facebook page.