The Clutter Project – Where do I put this Junk?

As I started to declutter the spaces that I use the most, a funny thing happened; I have little piles of junk everywhere! While my garbage bag is also filling up and my recycling bin is getting a good fill-up, I have these items that I won’t throw in the trash. These include things that I want to donate to second-hand stores or that I want to sell at a garage sale or on the internet.

Now that I know that I need to gather this stuff so that I can make just a few trips to the local second-hand shop, my preference is the Mennonite Central Committee, I must gather this stuff and take it to the appropriate drop-off spot. My thoughts of having a garage sale are definitely with me, but garage sales are a lot of work for a triathlete whose busiest time of year is the spring and summer. My mom is a garage-sale-aholic and might be interested in helping me out. She loves this stuff! No matter what, though, I need a place to put this junk.

The next step in this project is to get disposable boxes and label them with “Give away” or “Throw away.” As a detail-person, I get stuck on the little things like “I don’t have any boxes.” I actually have to converse with myself to say “Uhh… well, go out and get some!” I have a lot of stuff that I do want to sell, though. This will be done through the internet and will happen as soon as my desk becomes completely clutter-free. It should only take a few days.

Also, it has come to my attention that my obsession/discussing this clutter business has inspired a couple of my friends to look at their own clutter. For all of you out there trying to declutter: “Keep going! It feels so good to get rid of junk!”


The Clutter Project – Where to Start

Last night I felt overwhelmed with the daunting task of “decluttering* my life.” Honestly, I felt sick to my stomach even thinking about the big project ahead of me. It wasn’t the thought of decluttering the “stuff” from my life, but the actual reasons behind my clutter. My clutter has defined me for a long time and I have never explored my reasons for clutter.

To be fair to myself, I’m not THAT bad. In the book “Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston that I talked about in my previous post, she talks about really bad cases where people have ridiculous collections of telephone books and basically live in squalor. When I mentioned to a friend of mine that I was decluttering my house, she remarked that she didn’t think it was cluttered. I appreciated that, but it made me wonder how much of this clutter is in my own head. Probably lots.

Last night I cleared up some clutter in my personal life and dealt with a relationship that needed dealing with.  I guess that’s where it needed to start – it was a good beginning. This morning I went through some stuff in my bathroom and threw out things like an old watch, hotel bathroom soap, and a bazillion contact lens cases. It felt good. I’m just going to keep going and getting rid of this stuff that I no longer need and, more importantly, never use.

* I am aware that decluttering is not a word, but I think it should be!

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.