Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Cluttered Life

Ready? I’m going to admit something extremely personal and embarrassing.

My home is ridiculously cluttered. Like, embarrassingly so. Even when everything is organized and in its place, the house looks like a tornado hit. I hate inviting people over because I feel like I’m going to be judged for the state of my house, but I just can’t seem to get the clutter under control. I’ve tried, believe me. I’ve gone through with garbage bags and sorted things into two piles, one for donation and one for the trash…and you know what happens? Somehow, that box of donations never gets dropped off, and all that junk slowly is re-assimilated into my home.

It’s one of my goals for 2011 to do something about this. I would really enjoy having a home where I can feel clean, relaxed, and refreshed. Someplace calming and simple. And standing between me and my dream? It’s all this…this…STUFF. Stuff I really don’t need but can’t bear to part with, for some reason.

I stumbled across this article on CNN.com. Live Simply. It’s interesting, because I’ve had to do exactly what she suggests, not once, but TWICE in my life. Okay, okay, I didn’t move overseas, but I moved across the country and had to pay to ship everything I decided I needed to keep. Nothing makes you decide that you don’t REALLY need that old, glass vase from great-aunt Cicily like seeing the pricetag it’d cost to pack and ship. When you’re living out of a dufflebag for a month, you learn to think really hard about which clothes that you like and which are just taking up space in your closet.

So, here’s the article in a nutshell. Three simple tips to decluttering your life. You ready?
1.        It’s just stuff.
Okay. Fair enough. It really IS just stuff. If I throw out that collection of candleholders that have never, not once, held a candle, I’m probably not going to miss them. If I do, well, tough. There’s got to be others like it, and if I’m desperate enough to search the wilds of eBay for them…well, I’ll just be honest. I very rarely wander into eBay anymore. Not after the sci-fi action figure incident….don’t ask.

2.        Having less means that you can have more of value.
Less stuff cluttering up my place means that I’m going to appreciate what’s in there more. And, if I only have just enough clothes to get through a week or so, I’m probably going to wear what I have more often, and have fewer “oh my heck, I don’t remember even BUYING that!” moments.

3.        You can live on less.
Well, this is probably true. Matter of fact, I KNOW it is, as evidenced by the fact that I lived out of my car for a month, camping my way from one side of the country to the other. And, have you ever gone to a hotel room and felt that simple thrill of everything neat, tidy, and in it’s place, except for the few things that you need from your luggage? I can survive a week in a hotel room without all the junk at my house, and I don’t even really miss it when it’s not accessible. So, what makes me think I’ll need it when it IS accessible?

Everything she says in the article is true, and it’s nothing I haven’t heard before. And yet? My home still stands in a cluttered nightmare.

What is it about collecting things, gathering things, hanging on to the things that we no longer need? As the great Larry Fleinhardt would say, “Who is the person that belongs to all this STUFF?!”* And he has a point! I don’t OWN things! I’m OWNED by them!

And yet…I lack the energy and the motivation to actually go through and clear everything out. I’m a victim of my own doing. GAH! 

*Larry Fleinhardt. Numb3rs was a good show. You should have watched it.


  1. I am right there with you. I got a copy of her book for christmas and still working my way through it, but it looks like she includes lots of checklists to help you out as you go along and simplify. I think I'll need that hand-holding. I am very VERY sentimental and I am thinking of doing things like making a quilt out of my favorite baby clothes rather than keeping 6 rubbermaid totes of clothes that will never be used. Good luck!

  2. I am TOTALLY feeling you on this. It's my main goal for 2011. I am also sentimental and think, "What if I NEED this?" Well, so what? I'm not using it now, chances are I won't need it a year from now.


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