Monday, February 20, 2012

40 Bags - bag #19

I'm starting to get a little bit worried that I won't have 40 bags to get rid of. I'm getting down to the harder stuff. Stuff I have to make a decision about, or that is already overwhelming to me. I've felt a little bit resentful the last two days because I feel like I have to get rid of stuff I still want just to make it to 40 bags. I feel like I'm being punished because I am a responsible person who routinely takes out the trash and donates extra stuff. If I wasn't, then it would count if I took 20 bags of old newspapers out of here, or if I had 15 years worth of worn out kid's clothes to clear out, but since those things are part of my regular chores routine I don't have them piled up around here, and so I can't count them as part of my 40 bags. I feel inclined to say, "That's not fair!". I've also felt an inexplicable desire to go shopping.

I do recognize on an intellectual level that that is ridiculous.

No one has set me down and tried to make me see the error of my ways. No one is calling me a hoarder. No one (except me) says we have too much stuff in the house. All of this purging and de-cluttering and desire to organize and simplify is coming from within me. And if I want to quit purging at 20 bags, no one is going to care or notice. But I think that working through these feelings might be a part of the process of learning to live a different kind of life, and I'm trying to understand it and embrace it as such.

While I've had a bit of a cold in the last week I've been doing a little bit of reading around the Internet and watching Hoarders and it's helped me see that there is clutter even in:
  1. the pantry
  2. the craft room
  3. the garage

Okay, the garage was no surprise to me. I just don't want to go out there. But the pantry? That's where I keep my food storage! And the craft room? That's where I keep my own special stuff that's just mine and doesn't belong to anybody else. Which is something that a oldest of 8 children and long-time married mother of 4 needs.

Or so I've been telling myself.

There were these crazy ladies on Hoarders that had old, expired, unusable food, and too, too many crafting supplies. One crazy hoarding lady even said, "I make jewelry, I scrapbook, I knit, I crochet. I do it all." It was like she had been spying on me. My craft supplies aren't messy or disorganized or dirty or covered in rat feces, but there are far too many of them. It's like I can't decide what I do for fun and relaxation.

So here's my rationalization. As I finish my projects and give them away, that will count as de-cluttering. I will be clearing out drawers, bins and cabinets and not refilling them. Clutter isn't just stuff that is in piles stacked in corners and heaped on tabletops because it has no real place to go; clutter lives in bins and drawers and cabinets, too. Clutter is the stuff that diminishes your quality of life by its presence in your home. If I feel guilty or overwhelmed by the number of unstarted or unfinished craft projects, then it can be called clutter.

"Material blessings, when they pay beyond the category of need, are weirdly fruitful of headache." ~Philip Wylie

None of the hard decisions today, though. Tonight I needed an easy spot to work on so I cleaned out the game closet. One 18" high stack (= 1 bag) of puzzles going to Goodwill. My Little Prince and I have already done these puzzles together. Just because the puzzles still have all the pieces doesn't mean I have to keep them - it means someone else will have fun doing them too. And I'm not getting rid of the memories or the puzzle-night tradition, just the puzzles we've already done.

1 comment:

  1. There's another perspective you could try.

    Stand in the place where you can see that through your regular routine de-cluttering you just don't have 40 bags of stuff to be moved out of your home. It isn't failure to meet a goal, or not trying hard enough, it's just a sign that you have been doing a good job all along.

    Honestly, I have 40 bags in just one room (the "storage" room over our garage) that I should get rid of. But I don't go in there unless it's the last place to look when searching for something.

    Oh, and if you really enjoy a project, by all means, replace the materials needed so you can repeat it. That's what hobbies are--things we enjoy and can be centered while doing. If you don't even enjoy doing it while you're in the middle of it, I think I'd put the whole thing in a bag with the directions, and take it somewhere so someone else could enjoy it--really. You're allowed to get rid of supplies if they aren't bringing you any joy.

    I know what you mean about living with many people and having nothing personal. I have been reorganizing the two places (my sewing areas and my pantry and kitchen)so nothing has to be moved to get to anything--no stacking and no hiding behind. I have cleared the cupboards above my new shelves in my "new" pantry room and it's getting really nice in there.

    Put your chin up, smile at yourself and your wonderful family, and enjoy a hobby today! I love you.