You know the whole myth of organizing, that you can somehow make things orderly and clutter-free in an afternoon? What crap. Even the process of sorting and purging they explain as a simple decision-making feat. But everyone conveniently skips the time-consuming and irritating steps of what to do with all the stuff.
If you need money, you don’t want to give away what you might be able to sell. But there are kids’ consignment stores, grown-up consignment stores, sporting-goods and other specialty second-hand shops; there are bookstores that are nearby (well, okay, one, and it’s an hour away) and then there are bookstores further away that would do a much better job selling your grad school texts. There are things your friends’ new babies might want, but they’ve asked you to hold off until they discover at birth if it’s a boy or a girl, because if it’s a girl then they have enough already and don’t want all your boring blue and brown stuff (which is SUCH a pet peeve of mine anyway). Even for donations, you have to figure out who is most “worthy” — Goodwill’s CEO makes way too much money and they use sucky labor practices, I’m told, to underpay workers with disabilities. So — Salvation Army? I’m not crazy about their politics locally, either. Ugh. Suffice it to say, there are whole sections of the basement devoted to the storage and sorting of the stuff WE ARE GETTING RID OF.
I confess that the idea of less is no longer just a dream: there is a whole (small) shelf in my closet devoted to housing some interesting old jewelry boxes and family gifts that used to live on my dresser and annoy me daily. Now they look tidy and kind of funky in that little space, and my dresser is a much more peaceful space. Today, I even went so far as to sort the pantry, using some new lazy susans and some old baskets from Chi’s little-used closet set-up. It’s reassuring to know that nothing in the pantry is old enough to be truly toxic, and once I cleaned out the cabinet of plastic bags (yes, we had a whole cabinet of those), there was even a better place to put the large gear we don’t often use (electric grill; Romertopf; huge roasting pan and rack).
It feels important to note that my recent bouts of productivity seem to be backfiring on me, though — there’s a tolerance building, so that now just sorting and cleaning isn’t enough. If I don’t LOVE the result and feel that our lives are transformed in some small way, then it isn’t enough.
Or maybe it’s just having all the people around who are always in the way. Maybe that’s the irritation. Anyway, I’m hoping a glass of wine and a good book will fix it.