Sunday, January 10, 2010

Clean Slate

So, I had a fairly successful weekend of attacking the clutter, primarily in the basement. I say "fairly" because I'm nowhere near close to done. I'm not even halfway. Heck, I'm not even close to halfway.  But I say successful because 1. I can still move (this was somewhat in doubt last night as I collapsed at the ripe hour of 9:15pm), and 2. I am physically and emotionally ready to do more.

I'd tell you I don't know why it's so hard to get a handle on the clutter and the mess, but yesterday as I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, I had quite a bit of time to think about it (while watching yet not-watching crap TV).  This is what I've come up with...positives and negatives.

Negative -- There's a lot of stuff.  A lot a lot.  It's a downside of redoing the entire upstairs.  Things kept getting tossed in the basement.  Now there is no place left to toss.  So, there's either a place for it, or there's not.  Right now, there's a lot of not, and I need to decide what's important to me in my life and what is clutter.

Positive -- When I'm finished, I'll have additional space to function and live and do those things I want to do.  It won't be that room where once upon a time (I kid you not, many years ago, when it was unbelievably MORE junky than it is now) I paid my much younger, smaller and nimbler child to climb on top of stuff to retrieve something in the far corner.  It was mortifying to me, but she was young enough that she thought it was cool.  I know nowadays I could never get away with it.

Negative -- Attitude #1:  I'll need it later.  I have such a hard time getting past this.  Maybe I'll need it.  Maybe I'll want it.  Maybe someone in my family will need it.  Maybe my child will need it.  Maybe my child will want it.  I'll kick myself if I need it later, and I had it once upon a time, and then I threw it out.

Positive -- Reality #1:  If I need it later, will I really  need the 10-15 year old version?  If I lose weight, will I want to wear clothes from the Clinton Administration?  Will my child honestly and truly want the stuff that has been living in the basement this long?  Even if I did need something later (1 year, 5 years, 10 years), what kind of prison am I building for myself NOW while I'm waiting to need it later?

Negative -- Attitude #2:  Throwing out means tossing things in landfills and am I really such a greedy, horrible person that I have no regard for the earth or the environment?  I should hold onto things until such time that I can figure out a proper way to recycle them and protect the planet.

Positive -- Attitude #2:  I recycle a lot.  And we, as a country, recycle much more than we did before.  There are still opportunities to dispose of unwanted items properly.  It might mean a little research or legwork, but it is possible.  This is a tough negative to overcome, but it should only be a negative...not an EXCUSE.

Negative -- It's overwhelming and time consuming.  There really is something to "out of sight, out of mind."

Positive -- Seriously?  Get over yourself and clean up your mess.

Negative -- If I am getting rid of something I should sell it.  How silly to get rid of things and not make a buck, or ten or twenty, or start my own resale business and retire early.

Positive -- Seriously?  Being organized and able to function in your own home is now tied to a successful corporate venture?  Stop being greedy and GIVE it to someone who needs it.  Sure, you could use a buck or two or twenty, but you need the space and the peace of mind much more.

Negative -- But I like these things.  Old children's books.  Games.  Puzzles.  Crifty-crafty things.  Movies.  DVDs.  I might need these, want these, use these, or want to give them to grandchildren (HAH, it's funny to even type that) 20 years down the road.

Positive -- I like lots of things, but right now I can't enjoy anything that is down there because it is buried.  It's a great temptation to hold onto things for future generations, but why hold books and toys and clothes and blankets hostage for the next few decades when someone could be using them and enjoying them now?  Toys were meant to be played with.  Books were meant to be read.  None of that is happening in the basement.

 My goal.  Dog not included.

So, these are my struggles.  But as I went down this afternoon for a brief 2-hour session, and really did more strategic organizing than purging, despite all the stuff -- and oh, there is still A LOT -- I could see opportunities.  I don't know when I'll be done, or even close, or even halfway.  But I'm pretty dedicated to continuing on.  As long as I get rid of more things than I bring in each week, I'll be moving in the right direction.  This is going to be a long haul, but one I really look forward to tackling and putting in the "win" column.  Someday.


Carol, Song of Joy said...

Oh, how I identify!! Have much the same situation here. One suggestion, though. The ERD used book sale will be coming to St. Paul's in February, so that could be a real opportunity for giving away books, CDs, DVDs, etc. Anything but text books. That's one thing I manage every year and am always amazed that there are more books to give the following year. I think they multiply at night, I really do!

Unknown said...

Good luck! My garage is so bad I can hardly walk through it! My daughter and her boyfriend moved in with us and I need to figure something out before I go insane!