I’ve never been a domestic goddess. For years I just felt overwhelmed, not knowing what to do when, or how (my mother was the antithesis of an organized homemaker) — then I was sick with depression, recovering from trauma . . . fighting to stay afloat . . .
But I’ve got to get the house under control. The clutter is a distraction and an energy suck. I have other projects to work on that keep being postponed because all that junk has been getting in my (mental) way.
Thank God for YouTube! I found a delightful Australian woman who posts as The Sunday Stylist, and finally, it’s clicking. That, and I really want to move. So here I go.
It began two weeks ago. Dorian was coming through and I knew that big a storm in proximity to where I live would leave me feeling pretty achy and even somewhat crippled for a day or two. I chose a starting project that would allow me to spend a day in a chair: Decluttering my file drawers.
I have two file drawers. One is a 2-drawer KMart special, nearly 20 years old. The other is a lovely 4-drawer proper office file cabinet. I had all six drawers filled: the small KMart cabinet held all my printer paper, file folders, notebook paper, plastic sheet protectors, etc., etc. The bottom drawer of the office cabinet holds my journals, going back more than 30 years (!), and the other three were just full of files and music and stuff.
The journals aren’t going anywhere. Part of me would like to burn them, but I’m writing my story, and I need them for reference. So they have to stay. But nothing else had to. So – – –
I don’t need to hang on to so many of my printouts. They will remain available online forever and ever, world without end, amen. So into the trash they went. So did a lot of the music I’d been holding on to from my days in various church choirs. Several reams of colored paper and card stock went to a teacher friend. The sheet protectors, which I can’t use because they throw glare into my eyes, are going to a local organist/music director. At the end of the afternoon, drawer 2 had become the storage place for the printer paper and notebook paper (I write a lot, longhand, in draft). Drawer 3 is where the necessary files for home and life-in-general have been stashed. I have one empty drawer in the office cabinet, and the KMart drawers can be donated to Goodwill or somewhere — completely empty!
Well, I can tell you, those three bags of paper trash going into my dumpster felt mighty good! So I decided to keep on going. I considered my options, and I decided to use my motivation, usually short-lived, to tackle some things that have been nagging at my mind for a while. I moved on to the kitchen, where I emptied the kitchen cabinets and discarded “recycled” plastic containers and stuck in some flexible shelving that has allowed me to nearly double parts of the cabinet. Two more bags of trash.
One of the other things I’ve needed to do in the kitchen for . . . never you mind how long! More than long enough, I can tell you! is to clean out under my kitchen sink.
Ordinarily this is not a big deal. But out here in the country, I’ve had mice, and more recently, after the hurricane, last year, a big roach invasion. And their favorite place was . . . yep! under the kitchen sink. Ooh, gross.
Well, if that stuff has been sitting under there THAT LONG, and I have neither needed nor wanted any of it, it can all go. So three more bags of trash (because of weight, more than volume) went into the dumpster. Even a couple of glass jars that could have been washed . . . because I felt as if I’d never get them clean enough to overcome the YUCK factor of knowing they’d been crawled all over by vermin.
The rules are simple. Do I need this? Is this making my life easier or better? Can I access it — like printouts — somewhere else, instead? Am I using it? Obviously the things under my kitchen sink, I was NOT using. And had no intention of using. Most of it was more plastic storage containers, which had become brittle with age, and a couple of glass jars I just didn’t want to have to clean (with the mice crawling over them I don’t think I would ever have felt they’d gotten clean enough).
Next up: the junk room. Okay, I’ve actually begun that room already. Six bags (again, weight is a bigger factor than volume) out, and I’ve barely started. Why did I hang on to that coffee can of misc. screws and nails and junk? Why did I think mice wouldn’t get into that sugar bag? YUCK YUCK YUCK
When I can bear to, some time after the junk room is done, I’ll turn to my bookshelves. I’ll ask myself, Does this book have real value to me? Am I likely to actually read it again, or even at all? I have an idea of how many linear feet of books I will be able to take with me if I go to a “tiny house,” and so that is my target.
I’m not having a yard sale — I just don’t have the energy for that right now, and I’m out of town so far I never get good turnouts for them, anyway. I’ll donate what I can to charity shops. A couple of things I will try to sell. But mostly the trash going to go in the garbage. No, I don’t feel guilty for this; for many years I’ve avoided throwing things away in order to be gentle to our landfills. I burn what trash I can, I recycle what I can . . . and now I’m going to be gentle with myself and dispose of what I must.
NO I am NOT going to post Before photos! I MIGHT post afters. Don’t hold your breath. I know, we’re supposed to, more interesting, etc. etc. . . . but I have some remnants of dignity and self-respect, here.