The Ultimate De-Clutter

//The Ultimate De-Clutter

The Ultimate De-Clutter

“Who or what are you resisting in your life at this moment?” Andy Puddicombe on Acceptance,

Note that, when you ask yourself this question, don’t use the personal, “I”. Say “you” as though you’re posing the question to a family member, a friend, a frenemy. Why? Because when you have these little conversations with yourself, inside your head, you stay locked in your head, in an intellectual space. Throwing the question “out there” gives it some room to percolate. Perhaps the universe will provide an answer? At any rate, it gets it out of your head and allows your feelings, your gut, your intuition to participate.

Me? Or, should I say she? It feels like Rita is resisting everything at the moment. That “second book” her editor mentioned on the back of Long Climb Back? Well, two book projects died, one stalled. Consequently, her office is a chaotic mess of books, papers, ideas that needs to be reined in, organized, rethought, restarted. She’s literally afraid of it, so as she goes about the house doing the ultimate de-clutter in preparation for moving in two weeks it keeps getting shunted to bottom of the list. To make herself feel better, about writing, she reminds herself, “Well, at least you’re still journaling daily, still blogging weekly.”

Then, there’s resistance about her house. What? Actually walk (drive) away? Leave? For a final time? Never to come back? After 30 years?! She relies on notable quotes, all by authors, to feel better:

“Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” Sonia Ricotti

“A sunset is nothing more and nothing less than the backside of a sunrise.” Craig D. Lounsbrough

“Everything has seasons, and we have to be able to recognize when something’s time has passed and be able to move into the next season. Everything that is alive requires pruning as well, which is a great metaphor for endings.” Henry Cloud

She pays attention to the lasts of all things. The mist over the yellowing corn field in the still morning as she hauls the garbage to the curb on time. The kind way the house always greets her upon any return: pink, glowing, expectant. The roar in her ears, the wind on her face, the vibrations under her bum, the scent of cut grass in her nostrils, as she steers the Kubota on one more cutting of the huge yard. She’s counting trees, documenting species and their particular placement as she zips around.

And so, to “pruning”. Inside. She’s grateful she read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Knows the varieties of clutter, so that she can categorize hers accordingly, let it go:

*nostalgic clutter – Oh, dear. Recall from Good Old Days what the Scottish writer A.A. Gill said about the Brexiteers? “. . . snorting a line of the most pernicious and debilitating Little English drug, nostalgia”? Nostalgia is a drug, yes? Don’t over-imbibe. Said architect Peter Clewes on the negative reaction to his redesign of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa, “It’s a deep-seated human condition: yesterday is always better than today and the fear of tomorrow.” Rubin defines nostalgic clutter as “relics of the past I clung to from my earlier life”. Rita notes the giant yellowing pile of Track Times mags from the ‘90s – she was a regular contributor. Twenty years ago. Hmm. Time to toss?

*conservation clutter – things that are useful, but perhaps not to the people in possession of them. Rita and her husband B love conservation clutter, detest tossing perfectly good items. But does every household need seven camp chairs? A dozen umbrellas? Three dozen candle holders?

*bargain clutter – unnecessary things purchased on sale. Rita finds lots of those in her wardrobe.

*freebie clutter – gifts, hand-me-downs, swag. Do you hold onto an item because so-and-so gave it to you and it might hurt their feelings if they knew you tossed it? Have you noticed that you tend to have a better memory of what people have given you (because you see it on a regular basis) than what you have given to others? Rita finds lots of freebie clutter, of the swag type – mostly T-shirts – in her wardrobe.

*crutch clutter – Rubin describes crutch clutter as things she uses but knows she shouldn’t, like an old frayed green sweatshirt bought secondhand ten years ago. Rita can’t think of any crutch clutter of her own, but she cringes when B wears his holey long-sleeved black T with neon turquoise and hot pink triangles on the front from 1994.

*aspirational clutter – things you own, but never mastered the use of, like charting as taught in that pile of boating course books. Did you know charting a course on water would be a piece of cake if the world was flat?

*outgrown clutter – on the flip of aspirational. Knitting needles, crochet hooks.

*buyer’s remorse clutter – the absolute worst! It haunts, sitting there on the shelf. A constant reminder of money spent badly. Rita finds lots of those in her wardrobe.

Because most of Rita’s clutter problems seem to be wardrobe-related, she rereads this bit by Rubin: “I started to notice my dodges. When I told myself, ‘I would wear this,’ I meant that I didn’t, in fact, wear it. ‘I have worn this’ meant that I’d worn it twice in five years. ‘I could wear this’ meant that I’d never worn it and never would.”

In many ways Rita is happy that she’s being forced into this massive de-cluttering business. Without the pressure of the moving day deadline she would probably continue to resist and therefore continue to be weighed down by unnecessary material objects.

Who or what are you resisting?

Website photo: On the left, my granddaughters Naomi and Simone hang out in the Jazzercise studio – aka as the Bom Bom room (so-named by Simone after the Bom Bom song) inside their mat house. On the right, we now have boxes, boxes, and more boxes. It’s the Box Box room.


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