This was almost a non-post (or a ‘not yet’ post) but for one small detail, which I will get to shortly.
Although my husband and I moved in together a year and a half ago, I still had crates of stuff I had never unpacked lying around. The worst area for this was the master bedroom, where I had just lined everything up against the wall and left it there. Now, I’ve been chipping away at this for the past four or five weeks, so the ‘before’ picture doesn’t nearly give you an idea of how bad it initially was.
Here’s an “artist’s impression” of how it looked beforehand:
How Disney or Pixar haven’t snapped me up as an animator, I’ll never know. 😉 It was actually even worse than that, because it was two crates high AND two crates deep, so there was barely any space to move between them and the bed.
Anyway, as you can see, I was already quite a ways through the mess. Unlike my previous habit of trying to completely de-clutter an entire area all in one go and getting burned out and fed up quite quickly, I decided that this year things were going to be different. So I tasked myself with just de-cluttering one crate a week. So far, it’s been going well.
Yesterday, I had that same task. As usual, I was dreading it. Until, that is, I actually got stuck in and realised, as always, that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d built it up in my head to be. So, instead of getting rid of just one crate, I ended up emptying two (plus some extra bits). Isn’t that always the way! Here’s the ‘after’:
Now I realise that there’s still some work to be done, so it’s not the OFFICIAL ‘after’ picture, but I left it at that for various reasons:
1. I had already accomplished more than I set out to.
2. The dust was starting to irritate my sinuses.
3. My back was beginning to get sore.
4. I was hungry.
5. I had other things on my ‘to do’ list that I didn’t want to neglect.
But here’s the thing: of all the stuff I emptied from those crates, about 95% of it ended up either in the bin, the recycling, or the shredder. In other words, it was totally useless junk that was just sitting around gathering dust and stressing me out for no reason whatsoever. Here’s the pile of papers (mostly old college notes!) that I was able to recycle:
Yes, that’s about a 12 inch stack of paper that was serving absolutely no positive purpose in my life. Good riddance! I can’t tell you how good it felt to finally be free of it. I’ve been hanging on to old college notes with the age-old intention of going through them again someday… until I realised that day was, realistically, never going to come. And would serve absolutely no benefit even if it did.
What I did keep was the folders they were stored in, which now saves me from going out and buying more, which I had intended to do for work stuff. So, by de-cluttering, I’ve literally lifted a weight off, and saved myself money!
So if clutter made up about 95% of the mess, what was the other 5%? About 4% was useful stuff that was re-distributed throughout the house (for example, the folders went into the office); the other 1% went to the ‘memories‘ box – the big storage tub I fill with things that have no practical, day-to-day use, but are of sentimental value (tickets, letters, gifts, etc.).
And here’s the small detail I mentioned earlier that was the icing on the cake: among all the mess, I found a page that my ‘then boyfriend, now husband’ and I had scribbled notes on back and forth to each other during a college lecture. It was so lovely to read back over those memories from so long ago, particularly as yesterday marked six months since we got married. And the real clincher is that the page ended with these immortal words:
Me: “Imagine how much fun it’ll be tryna figure out what this is in 20 yrs time.”
Him: “Imagine what kind of loony tune keeps this dross for 20 years.”
Eight years and counting, my love. 😉 x