During the Christmas holidays my daughter asked me if I kept all of our photos and I suddenly realized I didn’t know if they were in the back of one of my closets or in the storage section above from my apartment. When I moved into this building in 2016, I didn’t feel like unpacking much that wasn’t a necessity: I didn’t really feel at home in the place and lacked interest in taking my clothes out. business to decorate. And over the past five plus years, I’ve done my fair share of shopping for things I thought I wanted but never used. This is in addition to throwing on pandemic items when they finally became available: masks, disinfectants, extra packs of toilet paper, protective glasses.
The chaos under my kitchen sink was solved by a plumbing issue that happened on Christmas Eve night that required us to pull everything out and try to open the hose. On Monday I finally managed to put things back together and even managed to get rid of a few nearly empty containers. I have noticed that I have four different organic surface cleaners, two packs of rubber gloves, four bottles of disinfectant, three pet stain removers, and various other products that I never use. That night I thought about browsing the shelves that
I was hanging out on the couch with my Kindle the other morning, wondering when I would have the energy to start taking care of all the unwanted items in my drawers, cabinets, and cupboards when I switched to. my computer and came across an artile in the NYT Why are we cluttering and what to do about it.
In the article, Jane Brody writes:
The burden of clutter doesn’t even stop when we die. When my friend Michael and his brothers cleaned up their 92-year-old mother’s house in Florida after her death, among the many multiples they found were eight identical jars of mustard, five dozen tins of chunks of pineapple, 72 paper towel rolls, 11 walkers and four wheelchairs. Trucks loaded with expensive clutter had to be taken away. I wish my family had better things to worry about or laugh about when I die.
Tips to fight decluttering
Make a plan. You might want to go piece by piece or focus on a category like coats or shoes, but avoid changing classes halfway until you’ve completed the task you started.
Set reasonable goals based on your spare time and stamina. If an entire closet is too intimidating, even a task as small as cleaning items from a single drawer or shelf can get you started in the right direction.
If a more gradual approach is more manageable, consider my friend Gina’s suggestion: keep a container in each room to house gifts. When she tries something that doesn’t fit or looks good anymore, it goes straight to the donation bag, not the closet.
If necessary, get help from a friend, a member of your family or a paid consultant who will not have the same attachment to your property.
Create three piles – keep, give and discard. Don’t question your initial assessment; immediately discard the discard pile and schedule a pickup for the donations or take them to a worthy destination.
If your mess includes items that you are storing for other people, consider giving them a deadline to collect them or suggest that they rent a storage locker.
Finally, avoid backing up. Resist filling the spaces you clean with more stuff.
Often times I feel like I’m trapped behind a wall that separates me from life and I have felt that way for so long that it’s hard to engage in life, all is but disorder. I have my books and a few friends and little interest in delving into my past. There is almost an impenetrable haze surrounding it, one that I don’t want to disturb. And then I think about how much I’ve accumulated in my life and it’s just overwhelming.
As Brody says:
People like me, who fill storage areas as long as living spaces stay tidy, don’t take being a hoarder seriously, which is considered his own psychiatric diagnosis. But clutter has its own risks. Among them are the chronic and repeated stresses that can arise, for example when one frantically searches through piles of shuffles for important paper or rushing to clean up piles of garbage before visitors arrive.
I just woke up from reading junk fiction and decided to tackle the holiday clutter early. I managed to turn off the lights on the tree but I’m going to have to wait for someone to help me unscrew the tree and get it out of the house. I tried to put everything in an organized way in the closet so that next year it would be easier to take things out. I realized too late that my Thanksgiving decorations were behind all the Christmas boxes.
The vet called me to inform me that my dog’s ACL surgery is being moved from Monday to Wednesday. They have very strict Covid protocols, so when I pick her up on Thursday, no one will be available to help me get her into the car. They suggested bringing a second person. I have three volunteers who look at their schedules to see if they are available. This gives me a week to try again to train her to do her business outside of my unit so that we don’t have to go up the stairs.