Return of the Clutter Monster

21 Sep

“Less is more,” says me, “Clutter is the enemy,” says me, “Keep nothing you can find a reason to throw away,” says me. “Justify everything you keep, especially if it needs to be stored,”I say and I go into our storage room to grab a box.

And sorting through the boxes, I was suprised at how vehement I suddenly got. I just wanted to toss everything in the store room. Screw sorting, screw organizing and repacking, just pick everything up and toss it out. I don’t know why I was hostile, but God was I. It didn’t help that I have been spending my morning figuring out ways to rearrange the house to accomodate things like Zach, books, and so forth. And I realized that if I cleaned the storage room properly, I could set up all our bookshelves in there, fulla books, and have a nice library with some storage left over. I could put our DVDs in there, we use them so infrequently. I could use the space for productive things.

So I brought three boxes into the house and started going through them. One was easy, it was rubbish from my office from maybe the first year we were married. Sorted out the usefuloffice supplies, tossed things like USB 1.0 cables (too slow to be of any good now, even my phone wouldn’t know how to charge offa one)

The other two…

…The other two were full of bits and bobs from my teenaged years and before, notes from friends, pictures, pictures of me, pictures of Renee, piles of notes for stories I’d written and all my publishing plans for them (God, but I was confident, Christ, but I was cocky…and prolific too). I found interesting pictures and artwork tucked away, and I kept them to put up in my office. I found guitar picks aplenty and kept them too, because I can never keep track of ’em. I found my harmonica, much to my astonishment. I found my Alice Cooper statue and his guillotene, and a Spider-Man action figure,and I put them in my office.

What I didn’t expect was how hard it woudl be. I’m sitting here finishing some tea, having finished the three boxes. If it couldn’t justify itself, I threw it out. I threwout tons of stuff. Sentimentality was not an excuse. Realistically, what good am I going to accomplish crating my collection of karate belts around for all eternity? They don’t fit anymore. I probably don’t remember anything. No purpose. Gone, gone, gone.

I think it was the notes, and the pictures, that were toughest. Like Checkov said in Star Trek: Generations, “I was never that young,” and like Kirk said, “No…you were younger.” It’s just so puzzling to imagine that I was ever so young, fast, innocent, and generally optimistic about the world. I hardly feel like a scarred old crusty bastard, that would be a daft thing to do, but you look at pictures of yourself at fourteen (young and in love, writing so much and with the hot chick you’re gonna marry) and you do start to feel that way.

I finished repackaging four big boxes worth of stuff into a single rubbermaid tote (much smaller) and stood there, drinking tea, and realized, much to my surprise, that if I wanted to, I could cry. I didn’t, I’m not gonna, but I coulda’ done, you know?

I wasn’t expecting that. I’m not particularly nostalgic. But then, mostly, you don’t think about how very different you are from the person you were. And I’m nearly unrecognizable, mentally more than anything.

Ah well. It’ll wear off. Not least because I just cleaned up my harmonica, and now I can bother the neighborhood. And I’ve got Lapsang Souchong tea. And I’m cleaning, making room, and that’s a good thing.

“Everything in it’s place,” he says…


Posted by on September 21, 2008 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “Return of the Clutter Monster

  1. tjwriter

    September 22, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    It’s weird that feeling of discarding things. I suppose that a lot of times I’ve felt obligated to keep things, even if they have relatively little importance to me. Just because my mother would have kept it or it’s something all the other girls would have treasured.

    But I’ve never really been like the other girls, so I don’t have that attachment, yet I feel the obligation. So much of that is gone now that I have a kiddo run around the house. I’ll treasure the things that really matter to our house and discard the “have to” feelings as well as the junk.

    What I really need to do is get the proper equipment to store the things I want to keep. I need more bookshelf space, though I probably could use to get rid of some of my old college textbooks. I have a hard time with that because there’s knowledge in there for cryin’ out loud! That’s one of my real quirks. I have a hard time getting rid of learning materials or reference materials. I’m getting better about it, because most of it can easily be rediscovered on the internet, but that’s the biggest area to make me hesitate in discarding things.

    I really can’t wait to sort through more stuff and get rid of things we no longer need. Your clutter posts are making me want to declutter and organize. I hope your happy! 😉

  2. Pete Tzinski

    September 22, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Oh God, I know what you mean about the college textbooks. We have a LOT of them around the house. Tons of anthropology stuff, from when my wife was pursuing that more actively. And I never toss them out. I have a couple shelves of them. And I KNOW I found a massive rubbermaid tub full of more school textbooks, college-level ones. I can’t bring myself to get rid of ’em either, for the same reason. But I figure, if the subject sounds remotely interesting, I’ll hang onto them. I have a reference library, after all, which is seperate from my regular library. So they just go into that.

    I’m glad I’m making you want to declutter and organize. Hooray! 🙂 Er. Except that it’s exhausting and hard work, and if you wind up being on bed rest, then probably you don’t want to be lugging boxes. I’m pretty sure that defeats the point. 🙂

    I wish I had more bookshelves. I would LOVE to have a bedroom that I can just line with bookshelves. I wish we had three bedrooms, so I could do that. Someday, I says.

  3. tjwriter

    September 23, 2008 at 8:23 am

    If I hit the bedrest stage, I’ll think I’ll be okay. Most of the boxes of crap I want to take care of are already on the floor, so if I can get my big butt down there, I just need an empty box and trash bag to get it taken care of.

    Of course, I also need an industrial size shredder or something for all the extra stuff I have lying around. I have years of bills and bank statements hanging out in the filing cabinet. I have the fear of needing to reference something at some point. That’s probably my biggest issue with paper.

    Knowing your weaknesses is your best defense, so I hope I can use that to my advantage.


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