Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Squeaky Clean: Tackling The Clutter Within

Last weekend, we had some new furniture delivered.  We have been sleeping on the same mattress for fifteen years, and the sagging sides and mountain in the middle that it had become meant that our old mattress had passed the point that a new foam topper could reasonably fix.

When we started looking around the house, what we realized was that it had been a long, long time since we'd gotten anything new.  And that the condition of some of our old furniture meant that it was well past time for something more functional and workable in both our living room and bedroom.

The fact that we found a local store that was doing a five year same as cash and no penalty for early payment deal made it all the more workable for us.  And so?  We spent the weekend moving old things out and new things in and getting them (mostly) arranged.

If I ever decide that I'm re-doing two rooms at the same time again?  Please feel free to ship me off to crazy town, because I am utterly, painfully exhausted.

But getting new living room and bedroom furniture along with the new mattress?  That meant that we had to empty our old furniture and shuffle a dresser into our spare room and find a new home for several other pieces of furniture that were still serviceable but no longer worked with our new things.

What I've learned over the last couple of weeks of frantic cleaning and shuffling?  We have way, way, way too much crap.  

I don't like throwing something out if someone else can get some use out of it -- chalk that  up to my mountain folks heritage and grandparents who lived through the Depression and never threw anything away if it could be helped.  Happily, we managed to find a home for every piece of furniture that was still useful, with the exception of an armoire that I'm working on finding a home for this week so that it can get out of my foyer.

I've already made several trips to Goodwill and the Salvation Army and various other charity groups around town.  The local library has gotten several boxes of donated books.  And I'm still clearing out ill-fitted clothing and various and sundry bits and bobs that are taking up space in our house.

The sad fact of the matter is that I'm not nearly done yet.

Honestly, it is insane how much unwanted crap we just had shoved in little corners and baskets and drawers in this house, unnoticed and collecting dust.  I feel like one of those people on those hoarding shows:  even though outwardly things here looked fairly tidy, the sheer amount of crapola that I've been bagging and throwing out or taking to a charity for someone else to use is staggering.

This has been like spring cleaning pushed to its crazed edge.

But it has also been mentally cleansing in some way.  It is as if all this piled up crud has been quietly weighing on me.  I could see it out of the corner of my eye in rooms here and there, but never got around to making the time to deal with it, I suppose.

And now that I am?  It's been really freeing.

So much so that I think I may make this a monthly ritual -- walking through the house and clearing out corners and baskets and bins and all the other places wher unwanted detritus seems to collect.

It's also made me re-evaluate my purchasing habits.  Do we really need the thing I'm looking at?  Will we truly use it?  Or is it just some random impulse purchase that will eventually get thrown out in another round of purging?  When you start to really examine what you purchase and why, it can be an earth-shaking experience -- and one I highly recommend.

This has, in the end, been as much about me being willing to let go of crap I really don't need or want and all the emotional strings attached to it.  Figuring out why it has been so hard to let a few things go, or why I had any strings attached to random junky stuff in the first place has been really enlightening.

I'll be posting more on this in the days ahead, I'm sure.  But right now?  I have a couple of bins I promised myself I'd tackle this morning. 

(Photo via RolandasJ.  This picture is such an adorable one -- makes me long for summer.)

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