Sunday, March 21, 2010

There's a Light...

Hi folks. Sorry for the long absence again.

Into the Wind

You know how when the wind is blowing really hard, and you have to go somewhere, but you don't really want to be out but you know you have to, so you button up your coat really tight, duck your head, and plod along, knowing you're going to get there eventually, and you just have to keep walking?

It's been like that.

I've been making a ton of headway against the clutter that's holding me back. Every other Friday I have off (since I work 9 hour days the rest of the time) and those days have been dedicated to clearing out the mess. Sometimes I have help (thank you Carole and Jofran and Stephanie!) and other days I do it alone. But whether I'm alone or have someone standing there and packing bags and boxes for me, I make it through something. One day it was all the cupboards and drawers in my bedroom - the wall o' closet was emptied, sorted, cleaned, and over half my clothes went away in bags to charity. One day it was the basement, and three bins of yarn ended up at Knitting Night and were sold. One time it was the wall o' cupboards in the kitchen (my mom really got into the whole wall-o-storage thing when she remodeled this house!)

I've never felt so good about giving stuff away.

Boxes, bags, they leave by the carload every other weekend. I load up on Friday, after I finish putting back only the things I use, then drop off on the weekend. I realized the other day that I don't even need any of the organizing books I have stacked around here - all I needed to do was to start. Once I started, it started feeding itself, and one empty space begat another, and the next thing I know I've made it through the second story entirely and halfway through the first story. The basement is a mess again, but I don't care because I know that I'll get there soon, and that anything without a "home" is leaving. If I can't find a reasonable place to put it, I don't need it.

The best part, for me, is the end is in sight. Even on the days I don't want to work on it, I make myself. The deadline is looming, but in a good way, not in a stress-inducing way. I'm scheduled to make my last debt payment on my last outstanding debt in mid-October. And I want to make my last "payment" of clutter to the Salvation Army by the time I have the financial debt paid off.

Yes, I'm aware that decluttering is an ongoing, life-long effort. It's this first round of going through the whole house and getting rid of half of it that I want done by then. I know I'll need to go through again and get rid of the things I skipped over for whatever reason during Round One. Some stuff I'm not ready to face yet.

Lightness and Air

I feel better for doing it. The house looks better for it, too (if you look past the immediate mess from each decluttering session that hasn't found a home yet but isn't leaving...). Kiddo is a little stressed out, though he claims he likes it. I haven't touched his things, and I don't harp on him about his toys and such at all, so it's not like I'm scaring him into thinking he's going to lose everything he owns, but he seems to be a little skeeved out by the boxes of stuff leaving. Maybe, as the child of two packrats, he's got a gene or something and I'm going against it. Or it could be just general childhood resistance to change in things that are supposed to be fairly immutable - Mom and Home.

Even though it's an in-progress thing, I can see the changes everywhere I look. There's less stuff strewn around my rocking chair. My bedroom has no stuff piled on top of the bookcase. The living room looks almost...tidy. The dining room table is a disaster, as are the kitchen counters, but I take a deep breath and tolerate it, knowing it's only temporary. Until I finish going through spaces. And there are spaces, now. There are... get this... empty cupboards in my bedroom! And they've stayed empty for weeks! I have had no urge to fill them with anything!!


I don't know where this desire to purge has come from. I don't know why, either. I just know that I feel driven to do it, and have rearranged our lives and schedules to allow for it. I look forward to when I can get back to hobbies again (knitting? drawing? book binding??), knowing I will be able to indulge in them with a clear conscience, knowing that I'm not running away from my mess by playing with fiber or paper. I haven't really spun since December, and while I miss it, I'm OK with it. For now.

This is not forever. This is a phase, a life-changing period of time in which I get my shit together so I can stop living in the past and move forward. I no longer need to be tied to my past with physical remembrances. I probably won't ever need the fabric left over from the first-ever babydoll dress I sewed by myself. Nor do I really want it. But I still have to touch it and decide what is going to happen to it. It's a draining process, both emotionally and physically, but it's so freeing that it's worth every minute.

I guess it's kind of like exercise in that if you've accumulated a lot of fat/stuff, and have never exercised/purged on a regular basis before, then getting started is really difficult. There are so many experts out there, telling you how it should be done, that it can be confusing, leaving you not even knowing where to begin. Finally, though, you suck it up and head out/in and do what you can. You come back/out tired and drained, claiming you're never going to do that again, but the next day, when you feel better, you do it again. Eventually it gets easier and easier, until you realize that you can't remember life before, and you wouldn't dream of going back.

I'm finally into the part where I fell better after I do it but the process is still somewhat painful. I haven't yet reached the point where I can't remember life before I started, but the addictive qualities are setting in and calling me back whenever I take too long a break.

There's a light at the end of the tunnel, and I know it's not a train.


Mel said...

Wooo Hoooo!!! Go sis! I am so proud of you for taking this step and making progress!!

Alwen said...

It can be hard, can't it? I often have to remind myself that I am not my stuff.

Martha in Kansas said...

Go, go, go! I'm cheering you on! I have the urge, but not the energy right now, but I know the urge will overtake me in time so I'm making very small babysteps. Good to know that it can work. Thanks for reporting and giving me hope!