I have come to a couple of conclusions lately: I have too much stuff, and I need to organize said stuff.
Possibly this has come to my attention thanks to my friend Molly’s posts about minimalism/simplicity. SORRY MOLLY, I’M COPYING YOU! But really, ever since moving into a pretty tiny studio apartment in July, I have been hyper-aware of my stuff, and how much of a mess it generally is.
Before I moved, I thought I was doing well. I have approximately no closet space in my current place, so I gave away or sold probably a third of my wardrobe before I moved in. I also got rid of a whole bunch of toiletries I was never going to use, and I even threw out a whole bunch of books and notes from school and past jobs that I’m definitely never going to need again.
Still, though, I have all kinds of crap I don’t use or need or even particularly want, and I’m having a lot of trouble getting rid of it. I’m most definitely not a minimalist by nature; as anyone who has ever been my roommate could tell you, my personality is more like that of a sloppy hoarder. I live in fear that I’ll get rid of something, and then at some point in the future I will need it and this will be the worst thing that has ever happened, obviously. I’m not sure where this trait comes from, but based on my otherwise impeccable mother’s disaster of a basement (seriously, it contains all her furniture from the last 25 years) I’ve decided it’s genetic, and I’m going to have to work pretty hard to overcome it.
I’m only kept in check because I have friends over sometimes, and I recognize that it’s not socially acceptable to have clothes all over my couch or garbage-covered counters (the regular state of my apartment). So yes, I can clean up, but essentially I have a whole bunch of storage receptacles where I throw crap and then forget about it until I need it and can’t find it. Seriously, I recently had an almost breakdown when I lost my passport…fortunately I eventually found it in a purse I never use for some unknown reason.
OK, so something needs to change, but WHERE DO I START? My inclination would be to do it all in one go, and just get rid of basically everything in one giant sweep. I considered this, but it filled me with feelings of exhaustion…and then I discovered this blog: Unfuck Your Habitat. I love the before and after pictures, but I also like all the posts essentially yell at you to get it together. I need someone to yell at me to get it together! I also like the suggestion that you just spend a few minutes working on small projects rather than trying to take it all on at once. This is the kind of common sense advice I need!
So, I started a couple days ago by clearing out my food cupboard, which was filled with half-eaten, stale products I was never going to eat. I should have taken before and after pics, but it all happened in kind of a sudden flurry, so I didn’t even think of it. Before, there were bags of corn chips, a whole bunch of pasta, crackers, and other stuff that I’m just not eating anymore. Now there’s pretty much just tuna, olive oil, some herbs, ground flax, applesauce, popcorn and guacamole mix. It looks so empty and it feels so good!
This is a very small step, and I have a lot more stuff to deal with, but don’t you worry, I will be blogging about all of it. This is because none of this will ever come naturally to me, and if I’m left to do what comes naturally, social services will eventually need to get involved, and they’ll find dead cats I didn’t remember owning under piles of 20-year-old newspapers. I don’t think any of us want that.