Digging Out


Do you know what clutter really means? Does it make you nervous? Does the sight of the word make you immediately think about that pile in your bedroom that you've been meaning to get to but just haven't had time?

Clutter, as a word, is really a verb, meaning to jumble or garble or become disorganized. It is NOT a noun. It does NOT mean "stuff." It is quite possible to BE cluttered, but not to have clutter. That's like having jump. It doesn't make any sense. To say "I have clutter" means nothing. To say "I clutter my house with useless junk" means everything.

Ever notice that when you read or type a word often in a short amount of time, it starts to look like it belongs to a different language? Is the word "clutter" starting to look funny to you now?

So. Now. When you think about that one (or many) places in your home that you hate to go into, does it make you angry? Or nervous? Or ashamed? Or all of the above? Me too, my friend.  Me too.

I hereby put my house on an official diet.   It's getting way too fat. 

Over the past two weeks, when I have actually been home and not on the road, I have eliminated 12 bags of stuff - no wait - 18 bags of stuff including the ones sitting in my living room waiting to go to the thrift store. 18!! All of the stuff that I got rid of were things that I wasn't using, including old pots and pans, place mats, clothes, cloth napkins (who uses those anymore?!), jewelry, old ratty socks and underwear (an excuse to go shopping for pretty new unmentionables!!) and stuff. Lots of it. With more to go. I didn't donate it all - the socks and underwear hit the trash along with anything that was broken/badly torn or stained/otherwise unusable.

It's a trek. And it's hard. Voices that say things like "I might use that one day." or "So-and-so gave that to me, I can't get rid of it!" pop in my head often while I'm on a purging binge. I've recently employed another voice to counteract the nagging one. The new voice says things like "Yes, but you're not using it now." or "Yes, but you're not donating so-and-so, just that useless thing she/he gave you." My favorite encouraging voice says, often "Someone else will love that much more than you are." and "That will surely make someone else very happy." I'm attempting to keep in mind that if an item does not make me happy, it needs to go.

A prime example:  when I was a child, I owned a talking Mother Goose that told stories.  You'd put the tape in under her wing, and follow along in her book as she told the story.  When she honked, you'd turn the page.  She made me SO VERY HAPPY when I was a child.  My mother recently gave her to me, but her beak doesn't work very well and two of the tapes were not working properly.  I was very sad and even got a little teary to see my childhood book reading friend in a state of disrepair.  I tucked her away in my closet for a while, but every time I opened my closet and saw her, still in her original box and teetering on top of some other random things, I became sad all over again.  Mother Goose, who once made me very happy was now making me sad.  I knew she needed to move onto someone who might use her for something else.  She would make a lovely addition to an Easter scene in a window or something just as creative.  She would surely make someone else happy and not simply clutter my closet.   I wished her good luck as I handed her to the thrift store employee and left her.  But, as I handed her over, I didn't hand over the memories that I had.  I will hold on to those forever, and when I think about her, I won't think about the broken toy that she is now.  I will think about how she and I would hide in our fort and tell stories for hours.  I think about the times that she made me happy.

The Great De-Clutter 2011 is an ongoing effort in my house until it's DONE.  It may take a few months.  Perhaps a year.  It will be fab when it's finished and I will no longer wonder "whatever happened to" something, because I will know exactly where it is.  I'm super excited.

P.S. I'm all caught up on the laundry.  And it will stay that way, too.  Only now we need a new washer...


Jackson said...

Question for ya.... How do you get certain men to throw away/donate stuff???? Or, do you just do it for them and then suffer the consequences??? : )

Sarah said...

Oops! I was signed in as one of my schools! Jackson is really me : )

Kris said...

Good question, Sarah. The mystery may remain unsolved.... Jerry is catching on slowly but it's very hard. Doing it for them and suffering the consequences might be the only option. Just do it a little bit at a time, and only get rid of stuff that you know they will never miss.


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