I took advantage of a Saturday at home to attack the scary pile of half-unpacked boxes that have been cluttering up my living room. Now, this is the still-unfinished part of the house, so it’s been easy to let these boxes blend in with the rest of the mess, but, like all neglected messes, it seems to be expanding like kudzu through formerly empty spaces. The real problem is actually not spontaneous regeneration, but me–I’ve been digging through the boxes looking for random stuff like batteries and Tylenol, and so my things are getting unboxed and thrown around.
So anyway, I was cleaning out the junk today, trying to condense boxes and group like items, and I was struck by two things- one, how little storage we have in our little house. In terms of square footage, the house is nicely sized. But for all of our space, we only have two closets, one in our bedroom and one in the den. Only the master bathroom has under-cabinet storage, and it’s limited. We have no coat closet or hall closet. Yikes! I am going to have to be creative with furniture-type storage like ottomans, dressers, and shelves.
With this in mind, my second epiphany was pretty sobering. We have a lot of junk that I don’t even care about. We’re going to have to get rid of some stuff. As I was sorting, I came across tons of totes, backpacks, and duffel bags (I use about three- and they were already in my closet). A pair of shoes that matches a dress that doesn’t fit me any more. Fourteen empty shoe boxes. Six sets of sheets (I swap out with my two favorites). A mediocre hair dryer that I had in college. A faded yellow bathroom mat, also from my college apartment, with bleach spots.
WHY do I have these things? I’m feeling a strong desire to simplify. The fact that we’ve been living comfortably with most of our belongings in boxes or in our parents’ garages has been pretty eye-opening. This is really revolutionary for this unrepentant packrat, but I’m going to have to purge. “Do I like it? Do I need it? Do I use it?” This is my new motto. Look out, junk. (Before any of you dear friends get too excited, I’m pretty sure that my book stash is exempted from my purging. They bring me enough happiness to justify their presence.)
As if to confirm my impulse, I came across an article in this month’s Reader’s Digest about a family who went for a whole month without spending money (exempting “necessary” costs- mortgage, electric, preschool tuition, and milk and fresh produce). It was yet another reminder that almost everything we spend our money on is wasteful. Yikes! It’ll change the way you shop at Wal-Mart.
Anyway, I’ll have to keep you posted on my Quest for a DeCluttered Life. Wish me luck!