For years my husband and I would spend hours, sometimes days, preparing for company. We lived in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome as the Fly Lady calls it). Eventually, we would get to the final hour before people were coming over and start dumping stuff into boxes, shoving them into a room and closing the door. We’ve moved those boxes around, occasionally digging through them for a missing or needed item, but otherwise, we left them for Someday.
Someday, my friends, has arrived. No more waiting until we have “time” to get to it. We are getting to it. There are more boxes, baskets and bins filled with crap than I care to admit to. But one by one we have been going through them. They’re full of a mixture of junk mail, old bills and papers that need to be shredded, school papers and artwork from the kids, magazines, catalogs, and and other random pieces of paper that were in the vicinity.
I have spent hours, HOURS (days, probably), going through them and sorting them into four piles: recycle, throw away, shred and keep. The shred and recycle piles are the largest by far, which is great. That, however, brings me to my next problem: shredding. I keep burning my shredder up and over heating it because of the shear volume of stuff. This weekend we solved that problem by taking 4 boxes to my parent’s place on the river and burning them. Seeing that stuff go up in flames, then burning the boxes they were in, was liberating. Realizing that they were OUT of my house, that I will no longer have to move them from corner to corner, was (and still is) a fantastic feeling.
I also went through a giant filing cabinet. The top two drawers were full of papers, the bottom two full of photos and craft/fabric patterns. I transfered the files into a smaller filing cabinet with two drawers that aren’t as deep. I was worried about fitting it all, but I ended up tossing about 85% of the papers because I just didn’t need them anymore. The filing cabinet went to the curb (side note, I love my neighborhood, because if you put something decent on the curb, it’s gone within 12 hours. The filing cabinet lasted about three). The patterns and photos went to bins (I have 4 bins and boxes full of keepsake items, which are going to have wait for a new Someday).
I have spent so much time cleaning, tossing, sorting and donating items. I have bags to take to my son’s Cub Scout yard sale. I have donated car fulls to Goodwill. I have made countless trips to the recycle bins.
I am so ready to have a house where EVERY room is useable. Where we no longer have that one or two or three rooms that are still full of stuff with a path in the middle. The key to that vision has really been getting rid of the things we don’t need. You can’t organize clutter. We simply had too much, and I’m tired of a life where I can’t find the things I want because there’s so much to look through.
While watching an episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive, there was a woman who had so many clothes they were literally piled from floor to ceiling in every room in her house. She claimed she wanted to always have lots of choices. The psychiatrist who was working with her made a point that resonated with me: if you have so much that you can’t get to it all, you actually have fewer choices.
I’m done with fewer choices because I have too much. I want less. Which will ultimately give me more.