The Clutter Project – Introduction

I was born a pack-rat. Even from a young age, my mother fought with me to throw out items that I squirreled away into the corners of my closet, dresser, and even under my mattress. Some of my mom’s favourite stories of me include throwing away coloured colouring books, which to me was a showcase of my hard work and I loved seeing the completeness of the books. My mom, of course, saw them as unnecessary clutter. I would scream and cry and sometimes even dig through the trash bags hoping to salvage some of these important items that seemed to define my existence.

After the de-cluttering, though, my mom could see a change in my mood. I was a happier child with more lightness and positive energy. As an adult I know that my “moodiness” throughout my life can be attributed, in part, to my mood disorder entitled “Bipolar II Disorder.” If we had known back then what I know now, we would have done a lot more than just throw out my precious things. We would have dealt with the problem in the first place. The problem being the accumulation of the stuff and the representation of my inner self. A big part of it was the fact that I did not adjust well to change and ended up not being a very well-adjusted child or adult. While I have become better at it, I work on it every day and try very hard to change the way my brain processes the changes and obstacles and are inherent in life.

The other day I went in to a used bookstore, a place where one who has clutter and is a collector of collecting things should never go. I have had some specific books that I wanted to look at and thought that I would see if the sought out titles were there. They were not, but I found other books that I wanted. I decided on two of the three, deciding that I already had too many vegan cookbooks and put that one back. One was a knitting book so that I could start my next knitting project – I have been quite successful in finishing knitting projects. The other was an ironic choice entitled, “Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston – this one really spoke to me and I instantly felt a connection with the author in the first page that I read.

I have struggled with clutter my whole life, but never have I struggled with it as much as I have since moving into my new house last June. I bought my house and moved all of the stuff I had in my 1.5-storey house into my current house with about 75% the living space as my other one, but about double the storage space. This has proved to be extremely dangerous for me. I have succeeded in packing every single corner of my living and storage space with stuff. Since I have moved into this house, I have felt unsettled, ungrounded, and disorganized. This has done nothing to help with my struggle to manage my bipolar and it seems that every time I get one step closer to organization, two more things come into my house and my life to mess it up again.

Upon reading the Feng Shui book and being in some places lately that have had such positive energy, I have made a commitment to uncluttering my house and my life. I need this in order to keep my sanity and take back my life. Even within the first few chapters, I feel understood: “Probably, like most messies, you maintain that there is order in your chaos and, what’s more, that you need to keep things in the open to remind you of important things you have to do. But if someone actually puts you to the test and asks you where some thing is, at best you only know the general direction in which it lies and rarely its precise location.” This paragraph resonated in me and I knew that this was a project that I must embark on ASAP, ie. NOW.

I am externally motivated and often need goals, sub-goals, lists, and deadlines for a project. While I have not come up with those yet, I have committed to this project. I have taken pictures and am hoping to document this process. I know that in order for me to do something, I must do it quickly or I won’t do it. I hope in the next few days to get this project off the ground and to have it completed by the end of November. Let’s see how this pans out.

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Adventure: What it means to me

According to Webster’s dictionary, adventure is a noun that comes from “Middle English aventure, chance, risk, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *adventura, from Latin adventus, past participle of advenire to arrive, from ad- + venire to come” and dates back to the 14th century. It defines it as:
1 a: an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks; the encountering of risks;the spirit of adventure
2: an exciting or remarkable experience;an adventure in exotic dining
3: an enterprise involving financial risk

Isn’t it wonderful how a word that seems to simple can mean so many things. I was thinking today about my adventure of buying a house. While the risk to my physical well-being is small, it is a financial risk of sorts. However, the biggest adventure part of buying a house is that it is an exciting and remarkable experience. In Saskatoon, I have paid rent for most of 10 years. That is a decade of paying rent. Now my rent goes towards owning a home. It is quite remarkable in my mind. Sometimes I wonder what the bank was thinking, giving me a mortgage! To me, I’m still the 18-year-old wide-eyed farm girl who needed EXACT directions to get to Saskatoon from my small town.

I remember the day that I moved here. I left home on my 18th birthday, just like my mom had always promised I would. When I was just too much for her to handle she would yell, “As soon as you’re 18, you’re outta MY house!” And I would, of course, yell back that I couldn’t wait. However, we were both teary-eyed as I drove out of the farmyard. I was the first of three to leave the “nest.” I believe I cried for an entire hour of the 2.5 hour drive from “home” to Saskatoon. I knew my life would never be the same and that I would never again live on the farm. I was, indeed, an adult.

For my first two years of university, I lived with my cousins in their basement suite. Now that I think about it, it was definitely the best thing for me. The day before my first class of the “Math Readiness” course that I took, I had to ask them which was I was supposed to turn when I went out the front door. That would be the first day that I had taken public transportation. Yes, I was so young. However, the next morning I walked out the front door, turned right, and walked the 3 blocks to the bus stop. I repeated this almost every day for the next two years. To me, even taking public transportation was an adventure!

So, really, everyday is an adventure. Some experiences are more remarkable than others and some are riskier than others, but they are all adventures. I guess it just depends on how we look at them. I foresee many adventures in home-owning. Things like replacing furnaces, buying dryers, fixing floors, cleaning eaves troughs, and so much more. Hopefully it will be more exciting for others to read about! I guess no matter what, they’ll be adventures for me.