The Curse of Clutter

24 August 2008 · 2 comments

While Mom was in the hospital, Kris and I spent several hours at her house cleaning. I’ve noticed before that it’s easy to see the clutter in another person’s house, and this time was no different.

The trouble is that it’s difficult to see the clutter in your own house. Coming home from our cleaning trips, I could look around and see that there was too much Stuff around us. I could see that there was lots of stuff I could sell or give away. But I don’t know how to start.

I’ve spent the past year or so working to thin the amount of Stuff I own, and after each session, I feel like I’m down to bare bones. I know I’m not, but that’s how it feels.

Now, looking around my office, I wonder what I could part with. My personal finance books? My comic strip compilations? My comic book compilations? My music collection? I don’t know. I’m paralyzed by indecision, so I never start.

The workshop is worse. That’s my staging ground for the Stuff I’ve decided to get rid of, but which I haven’t actually been able to act upon. There are piles of books and records and who-knows-what-else sitting out there. Cleaning experts say that if you haven’t used something in a year, you should get rid of it. There are lots of things like that in the workshop, and yet I cannot pull the trigger.

Sometimes I feel like I should hire a “cleaning consultant” to come in and purge for me. Maybe Andrew or Pam would do the job for me. I’ve seen both of them ruthlessly purge clutter in the past.

Meanwhile, I’ll just sit around looking at all my Stuff.

1 pam August 25, 2008 at 11:22

Oooh, and I am on the rampage again! Nothing like having everything you own piled on top of your bed (in order to paint) to make you realize how much crap was stuffed in all of the closets. I’d have no problem helping you get rid of all the things you don’t need, too, like comic books, old computer stuff, fat clothes, or Toto. ;)

2 Lauren August 25, 2008 at 12:54

Sure, you can hire a cleaning consultant. Or watch a few episodes of that awful show, “Clean Sweep”. It’s editors and hosts are annoying but it shows you how people hold onto things which don’t serve them anymore. If you are shouting to the TV, “Just get rid of it! It’s not helping you!”, then perhaps you are ready for yourself. Or hire Pam to come in to start organizing you, with a camera crew to videotape your own responses to her questions – for playback later…

Here are some suggestions:

1) The real thing to do is start writing down what you value. If something doesn’t fall into a “true value” collection, pitch it. I’d start with your comic compilations, if I was standing in that house…. or old computer stuff. Just decide what you USE and what you CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.

2) Pretend you are moving into a smaller house… and not only do you NOT have enough room for your stuff, but every pound of stuff will cost you money – in the moving (paying the moving men) or for the transportation thereof. This is definitely easier when you actually have to go through this real-life activity, but you will start looking at your life for what it is: “space” and “labor”.

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