For some months now I have been on a quest to rid myself of at least some of the tremendous amount of clutter that I live with. I find that the more I clean up, the more I like the results. But at the center of the argument, as I have cleaned out my spice cabinet, pantry, utensils drawer, closet, under-bathroom-sink, yarn stash, dresser and front closet, has been what exactly I consider "clutter" and where my urge comes from.
I am not a pack rat per se, but I am right-brained in nature and habits. This basically means that if something is out of my sight, I forget it entirely. Many years ago I read a book called "Organizing the Creative Mind" (or something) and learned to set up small but simple areas that were only used for one thing - keys and only keys go here
, makeup goes there
, or I couldn't find anything. But - ask anybody who has ever been my roommate - I tend to hold on to clothes and junk I don't need anymore because of the "might" - and the "might" is the real thing I am trying to get to the bottom of.
Like everybody on planet earth, I have two parents. Additionally, I have the pleasure of knowing both of them well. (I also have two terrific step-parents, and I realize how lucky I am to say that.) My mom is a purger - she doesn't appear to keep anything even of sentimental value except photos, and often gets rid of things around the house just to clear space. She's very good at keeping clutter out of her life - almost too good! My dad is the opposite. He is a collecter - (made-up word)- and has stacks and stacks and boxes and boxes of things. Most importantly, he keeps the empty box things come in - and guess who else does that? I have all sorts of them in my outside hall closet. I plan to purge mightily this weekend, everything but the box for my computer, because all the other boxes I can replace if I need to.
I think my 'clutter personality' if I have one is that I occasionally overdo the big purge, but if I'm not careful I'll collect. Of course the answer to this, like everything else, is balance. I am trying to find that.
I have a number of things I keep for sentimental value, but they are no longer badly organized and full of junk. Except in the bookcase. Everywhere else is beautiful and clutter-free, except for the corner of the entryway where I keep throwing stuff to donate. It is last on the list, and shall take all my fortitude.
My bookcase is a nightmare, a full-on horror that has become mesmerizing to look at. I use the term "bookcase" lightly. It has DVDs, stationery, books, Febreeze, Downy Wrinkle-Release (love you, DWR!), two Fossil watch boxes full of change and one empty (?), a stuffed rabbit, bank statements, bibles, an artist's wooden model, a box from Tiffany, cds, a bag of dried lavender, a drinking bird, a box which contains cords and other electronic aggregates, suntan lotion, sunglasses, a camera bag, unused book jackets. Picture frames. Tsotchkes. A copy of my lease. Finished freelance work.
People, the bookcase is maybe 5' x 5'. Something's gotta give.
I have deduced through clever analysis, taking photographs of it and walking by and staring at it several times a day the following:
1. It stresses me out to even think about cleaning it up, so I am going to clean it.
2. I seem to have two layers of material in this bookshelf. Four of the cubbies are actually used for books, and five of them are used for general junk storage. But even in the four book-cubbies I've got a foundational layer of books in the back, and junk on the shelves.
3. I have one red canvas basket in one cubby that contains the cords, etc., and it works very well. I think I need another couple of these for non-book items, so they look neat.
4. Once again, a rule that nothing goes on top of the bookcase, or I tend to put everything there - clothing tags, mail, books I'm done with, stuff I can't find anything else to do with.
5. There is no logic to clutter, and I love logic, so I am getting rid of clutter.
Don't believe me? The strong of heart can look here
for a picture. (I can't believe I just posted that for the world to see.)
Now you know my goal for the weekend. Pray I do not lose heart.
On the knitting front - I bought a chocolate-brown Namaste messenger bag. My first knitting bag. I love it! (More on it later.)
Oh, and the last weird thing about me? I strongly dislike chicken skin.