August 30, 2017


Pictured above is one (of too many) cluttered surfaces around the apartment. This happens to be the one I stare at daily, opposite the couch, with my first cup of morning coffee. Seen isolated like this, it doesn't look like it would take much time or effort to clear it off, to find homes for all the things piled on it, whether those homes ultimately are places in my own home or the proper places to donate particular items to others.

I've certainly written about clutter clearing a lot. At least it feels like I have. It is a constant struggle for me. And I don't know why. But - here's a gem - I no longer care about the why. I don't need to know what changed to turn me from an organized soul to a crazed by cluttered soul. (Now that's interesting. The way I phrased that sentence without premeditation. I am an organized soul. I am crazed by clutter. The two are not mutually exclusive. I am [or strive to be] organized precisely because I am crazed by clutter.) I am motivated to clear my clutter and organize what's left behind. I simply lack the momentum to do so.

When preparing to move from Ohio to Philadelphia, I was forced to do a MAJOR clearing out. It was exhausting, painful, excruciating --- until it became exhilarating. At some point, it became joyful to release stuff into the world, to new life and new purposes in other homes. This incredible momentum also corresponded with lifting the burden of monetary value from my stuff. Don't get me wrong. I am nothing if not frugal and practical. I sold plenty of the furniture and tools on craigslist, and we made a hefty bundle at a yard sale. Combined, we earned enough to pay to have the central air repaired which was a contingency of our house sale. Covering that cost was a blessing. But, after that, assigning monetary value to the things that I needed to get rid of became a hindrance to getting rid of them. So I stopped doing it. I stopped perceiving giving things away as a loss of money. I started viewing it as a clearing of space as well as a lightening of burdens. 

This attitude carried over to moving into our little apartment in the city. Despite my best efforts to downsize, we simply had too much stuff to fit. So, for the first couple of weeks anyway, we systematically went through our things and donated anything that we were unlikely to need or use in the next year. The idea of renting a storage unit seemed ludicrous. If we could live without it for a year, then we obviously didn't need it at all. It was fun to get rid of our stuff. Giddy at times.

But, then, inertia set in. That's where I am now. That's why we have cluttered surfaces. And a stuffed to the gills closet. And no certain idea of what lingers at the very back of said closet. And visual clutter nearly everywhere we look. I need to re-establish the clearing out momentum. I know it simply requires a change in attitude, a change in perspective. I say simply. If it were simple I would have done it before now. But, it is that simple. Viewing the clearing out not as overwhelming, but as joyful. Not as painful and exhausting, but as a necessary step to create a home that is cozy, inviting, functional, and free of burden. With each thing cleared out, a little burden is released. That's what I'm aiming for; release of burden.

And this post has helped. Seeing the table top pictured above in isolation has already shifted my attitude. After clearing that table, I plan to photograph another sticky area (by sticky I mean stuck, a cluttered space that has remained so for months). I will look at the photo rather than the reality. Viewing it in isolation will trigger my brain to conceive of the task at hand in rational terms, as actual size, rather than conflate it to overwhelming proportions. Now, if only I can hold on to this wellspring of momentum until after work today. I'm already running late...

No comments:

Post a Comment