Thursday, January 21, 2010

Organizing Clutter

I live in a condo that is about 650 square feet with my teenage son, a dog who sheds enough hair to make another dog, and a cat. Storage is at a premium. In my quest to destuffify (made up word) my basement storage locker, I listed a few things for sale on Craig's List (LOVE LOVE Craig's List) because we all know you can't organize clutter (Thanks Flylady!). 

Wait, you didn't know that? It's true. I used to think it was a bunch of hooey. I mean my precious stuff was neatly contained in storage boxes, lovingly labeled (I love to label things) and stored on a pretty metal shelf in a room solely dedicated to the storage of stuff in my large basement (previous house). Of course it was organized!

Maybe, technically it was, you would think. That is if you didn't understand that clutter and organization are diametrically opposed.  Clutter can't be organized. Clutter sucks the life out of you. It weighs down on you, being dragged from place to place.  It consumes space and time and thought. It's MESSY! Even though my stuff was contained, I didn't realize it was EMOTIONAL clutter.

As an example, I had my wedding dress (a cute white cotton summer dress with an embroidered bodice) stored. It wasn't "preserved" or anything. It was just folded up in a tub where it yellowed on the crease lines. The funny thing was I WAS DIVORCED ABOUT 12 YEARS. Why I still held onto the dress was a mystery. Actually it wasn't. I was a "Keeper". I kept things because it was too hard to throw them away. Who wants to get rid of their wedding dress?! So I stowed it away in a box neatly labeled "Kathleen's Keepsakes". I moved that box with me. I looked at that box and that dress and felt bad. I was divorced a long time for goodness sakes. What was I holding onto? It was just clutter and needed to be gone. I still had the memories (and pictures) of that beautiful dress. So out it went. Emotional and physical clutter gone!

Think of how much better you would feel without all that STUFF hanging around, either physically or emotionally. I was ruthless and decluttered my beautiful storage room. Keepsakes that were only "keep for the sake of I can't throw it away because I'm a Keeper" got tosses or donated. Boxes were consolidated, new labels were made (swoon). I was left with boxes filled with things I truly loved and made me feel good or were useful (like Christmas decorations).  All the emotional clutter was gone! (Well not all, just the stuff that was contained in boxes, you understand.) It was much easier to make my last move because I had so much less stuff. (I still had too much to move into a 650 sq. ft condo, but that's another story). 

With this last round of decluttering I can walk around my storage locker. I can twirl in circles and access boxes (of good stuff, not clutter) without moving a bunch of chairs and other items. I still have some things to get rid of, like my camping gear (I haven't been camping in, oh, 10 years or so... CLUTTER (sing song voice).)

Decluttering is a process, like peeling an onion. You take it layers and pieces at a time. Sometimes there might be a few tears. But in the end you can be left with something very satisfying - peace of mind and empty space. 

1 comment:

  1. Cute blog, I love Damask! I agree with your post, it is an awesome feeling when you clear out old "crap". I am a follower, awesome blog!



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