There’s a lot of chatter about clutter. The subject is explored on talk shows and dissected in “how-to avoid it” articles.
When I spent the day helping a friend unpack at her new home, she told me she needs to hold a yard sale.
“Now? Why didn’t you do that BEFORE you moved instead of dragging everything to your new place?”
Too busy, she said.
I know what she means because I’m the antithesis of a clutter expert. The only advice I’ll give is to NOT take my advice.
When my husband and I decided to leave the west coast, we purchased boxes, spent days wrapping and packing, and hired movers to put everything in storage for two years.
Throughout those two years, we paid storage fees and insurance. When it was time to settle in Alberta, we once again paid movers to reconnect us with our belongings. After days spent unpacking, I was awash in a sea of cardboard – cutting, folding and hauling the works to the recycling depot.
Then what did we do? We gave away a third of those belongings!
“I don’t need this,” my husband said again and again, tossing the ski poles, thermos and tent-in-a-truck contraption into the give-away pile.
“Honey, why didn’t we do this BEFORE we moved?”
Too busy, he said.
But then he went overboard. Forget clutter cleaning – he was on a minimalist mission and started to purge. If there were two of anything, one had to go.
“Um, those are book ends . . . we do SO need both!” I whined and grabbed one from the pile.
Worse, when he realized we had two blenders, he gave away the cool-looking silver one and kept the stained harvest gold relic that neither of us remembered buying.
On countless occasions I heard myself shriek: “You’re giving away your fishing rods and all your gear? Everything’s like new! And your binoculars? Again, like new!”
“I have another pair I like better,” he argued. “And I’ll probably never use any of the gear.”
“Nah. Out it goes.”
I’d created a clutter-free monster! (I should have unpacked on my own and put him on cardboard duties.)
He does deserve credit for his philanthropy in finding new homes for his belongings because some items went to appreciative new neighbors and others headed to charity.
But then he’d toss out an expensive or useful object and I’d squeal in a high-pitched voice: “With what we’ve wasted on moving and storage for two years, we could have spent a month in Hawaii!”
If I had to leave for any length of time during the culling process, I’d point out my precious gewgaws and give him loving instructions: “Touch any of this pile, and you die. Got it?”
If I were a dog, I’d have territorially peed around my pile.
Once everything was tidy and in its place, and once the fresh sheets were on the assembled bed . . . I still wanted most of that stuff back. Being a minimalist wasn’t high on my list of aspirations.
Wait. I’m no better than the rest with their talk shows and how-to articles. It’s not enough that you might be dealing with your own clutter, but now I’ve made you hear my own rant in the process.
Mea culpa, and happy uncluttering. But don’t touch my stuff!
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