I feel guilty for not posting in over a week. If you think that means I have been ignoring my cluttering goal...well, you're mostly right. I had a rough week--lots of work, little sleep, but on Thursday night, I reminded myself that a friend would be coming to town the next day, so I'd better pick a new area and get to work.
I had these two boxes over by my living room window--right in front of the empty DVD rack and folding bookshelf that I am giving to a friend--so I went through them on Friday. (Pause to post on friend's wall regarding said DVD rack and bookshelf.) I got rid of plenty of stuff, and my shredder is still getting plenty of activity, but now I have a new problem. When I rearranged my living room a couple months ago, I had to take down several picture frames that were sitting in front of books on my bookcases. I figure that bookcases contain the (lovely, beautiful) clutter of books, but putting picture frames in front of them just makes everything look messy--so I have this box of pictures in frames. I'd love to display some of the pics--and recycle pictures to put new ones into a few of the other frames--but I have no space for them right now, so what do I do? Does it make sense to keep this box of picture frames? I know that I DON'T want to put these frames into the stuff box. I already have paid for them (or received them as gifts), and I know that I want to keep them. This is when an extra room or extra storage space would be really helpful. I assume that at some point, God willing, I will live in a home with more than my current 800ish square feet, and I will have the space and appropriate shelving to show off more pictures. So is it bad that I'm keeping these in a box for now?
Sorry for the rambling. There really is more to my story, including an explanation of today's title. My friend came to town Friday afternoon, and we've really had a great time together. It's always fun when R comes for Shabbat; she works in a synagogue and normally has to go to work on Saturday mornings, so it was nice for us both to sleep in and then for her to go to shul where she didn't have to be "on" all the time. Yesterday afternoon, in the waning hours of the day, R sat with me and we chatted while I nestled deep in my closet to try to sort through all the junk within.
Quick fast-forward to the end--you would not BELIEVE the massive amount of stuff that came out of my closet. It was insane.
For those who do not know, one of the best features of my apartment is its huge walk-in closet. In the beginning, it was really organized, but over time, that has changed. I started by making a laundry pile--turns out I have a lot of clothing, even if I can't ever find something to wear--and a donation pile. What else? The always-present garbage bag (filled two Target bags) and my favorite friends, the SHRED pile and the STUFF BOX pile. Actually, the stuff box did not gain a lot in this venture, but it's filled with plenty, anyway. I also found books, of course. This round included A Raisin in the Sun and Four Meals--both terrific reads. N appreciates that I find books everywhere in my apartment; it's part of my book-loving personality and one of the reasons we are so compatible.
At some point, I got deep enough to find another two pockets of the infamous stuff we throw in a corner and never, ever see again. Quite frankly, I'm a little shocked that I have found so many of these pockets in my apartment, and I'd be embarrassed to share this, but a) it's part of my accountability in this decluttering quest, and b) you might do the same thing, too. At this point, I found mail, the true bane of my existence. I quickly separated anything with identifying information (shred pile) and dumped the rest. And then wedding and shower invitations...I have a box of these under my bed, as I assume they will be good reference tools eventually. I am not bothered by keeping them because I have them contained and not making a mess--and now, fortunately, I have a new set to add to the box. I found CDs for restoring Windows Vista (insert expletives) and promptly dumped them. A few CDs later, my archaeological skills finally came into play when I realized that these were actually for my hated desktop...and that if I had found these, then the Office 2007 CD could not be too far away. I WAS RIGHT! I REJOICED WHEN I FOUND IT!!!!!! Now I can load Office onto my netbook without paying for a new version!!!!! (I guess there are benefits to cleaning.)
I got through that huge pile, and at this point, my legs were cramping. It was definitely time for the next activity of the evening. It was hard to stop working through the closet once I had started--there are still several problem zones--but I do have a huge area of empty floor in my closet now! I even recovered my PVC piping structure for a laundry bag with three sections. I'll try to rebuild it, and if it doesn't work--buh-bye and down the trash chute for you!
However clean the inside of my closet appeared, the space right outside my closet looked like a war zone. It was time for a 15-minute challenge. I raced around the apartment, moving the shred pile into the kitchen by the shredder, transporting all of the laundry to the living room, where I will sort and wash it today, putting all of the items to be donated together in a pile, throwing garbage down the chute, moving books, stuff box pile, and more to their appropriate locations, such as the nail clippers, gauze scissors, and ace bandage that I also found. The day also netted around fifteen cents for my tzedakah box. (Did I mention my rule that money found while cleaning goes to tzedakah?)
This has been my longest post ever, so congratulations if you are still reading! My closet looks GORGEOUS, even if I know it's not done yet. I got rid of TONS of clothing that I never wear, and I think my take-away for the day is that the emptier my apartment gets, the fuller my life feels. Decluttering has a long-term relaxation effect... and eventually, you will probably find the items you truly need.