The war on clutter
August 13, 2006
It was years ago,when I was trying to organize my old house, that someone had suggested flylady. I did it for awhile. I thought the organization tips were good, but the cleaning schedule didn’t really work for me. Like any schedule it is only as good as you are about sticking to it, and I am not so good with schedules of any kind.
I hate being told what to do by anyone, even a schedule I have made myself. My husband says it is because I act like I am still a teenager. And to that I say, “Whatever”
But one of the things that I really liked was, what the flylady called, the 27 thing fling. Which basically means get a garbage bag and find 27 things to throw away and then throw them away. I did this daily the until I didn’t have one more cluttery piece of garbage in my home. It was really nice.
But I fell off the flinging wagon. And then three years ago we moved to a house that is easily five times as large which means that there are five times squared as many places for clutter to accumulate. And accumulate it has. I have found myself saying recently that just because we have a place for something doesn’t mean we need to keep it.
I think what appealed to me about this what that it was easy to accomplish and had a finite end, unlike cleaning out the hall closet which, if you are anything like me, goes like this:
1) In a moment of mania and uncharacteristic energy decide to undertake this task that must be accomplished RIGHT NOW.
2) One hour later regret the decision while you are surrounded by piles of stuff that have no home and you don’t know what you should do with.
3)Sit amid the stuff for another hour while you sigh loudly, play with the ends of your hair, and feel overwhelmed.
4) Decide that the only way to finish this is to go have a few stiff drinks and “think” about your game plan. Maybe watch a few shows on HGTV for inspiration.
5) Three days later, stuff it all back into the closet a little more messy than it was before and convince yourself that it was time well spent, because now you at least know what is in there.
Yesterday I was looking around the house and decided that I really need to undertake this thing flinging again. But I decided to alter it a bit.
Since my house is so large and in such a cluttery state due to seven children who think it is their job to collect every stray rock, stick, gum wrapper, bottle cap, and broken piece of plastic they encounter on a daily basis and store it in their bedroom like some sort of large recycling center that I will do the 54 thing fling every day.
EVERY DAY until all the crap that is cluttering up my cabinets, drawers, floors, baskets, bins, attic (ACK!), and children’s bedrooms is gone, safely conatined in garbage bags at our town dump. When that happens I will be living in the serene minimalist environment
known as a mental institution. that I desire.
I picked up a garbage bag and began. One I reached 54 I tied up the bag and tossed it into the outside garbage can, lest some of the items try to escape and reproduce somewhere in a dark corner.
So what did I get rid of? Mostly Barbie clothes, old pieces of mail, and items from my junk drawer that I could no longer even identify. Though I am sure if I had held each of the dust covered little things up my children could tell me what they were. And also how they could not possibly live without the item.
After I finished I went to the refrigerator and grabbed a Mike’s hard cranberry lemonade. I sat down to revel in my now 54 thing free-er environment. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my 10 year old son stealthily reach into the garbage bag.
“Hey, what are you doing?” I yelled.
He held up the bottle cap I had just tossed. “For my collection, Mom.” he answered.
Then he stuck it in his pocket and walked away.
Though I may be challenged at every turn, I will prevail. My efforts will not be thwarted.
Tomorrow I throw away 55 things. Ha.
Updated to add:
I added a link over there on the left sidebar to chronicle the things I find in this
hovel house that I throw away.
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