Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Whoops! I Forgot!

I got a little ahead of myself with that last post. Before tackling my clothes, I actually went through my desk first. I have a boring desk. Its one cool feature is that it has a small bookshelf underneath it - just enough to hold an array of journals, novels and books on writing I like to have handy. It was buried under a sea of stuff. I took everything out and put it on the floor:

I couldn't count items this time, so I eyeballed things and got rid of half of them. It took all afternoon. I hate it when housework gets like that - when you can feel your skin crawling with impatience, but everything you touch demands some action. I found slips of paper with phone numbers on them that needed to be put in my address book. Journals, notepads and other scraps with scrawls of writing relating to three different novels I'm working on. A list of names from countries around the world that mean "stone". Each thing needed to be sorted, transcribed, or brought somewhere else in the house where it belonged.

My seven-year-old daughter walked in. "Mom, can you watch me ride my bike in the street?"

"Not now, honey."

I found notes everywhere about my children's activities and put them into the family notebook I keep in a vain attempt to stay organized. I found sewing projects: what do I do with these? Toss some, save the rest.

"Mom? Can you watch me ride my bike?"

"Not yet."

Then there were the ten different packs of file folder stickers I inherited from my mother-in-law. I hate things like that - useful things that you never use. I put them in a drawer. I took them back out - saved about a fifth of them and tossed the rest. Next came sheets of those little circles you use to strengthen three-ring-binder pages. Grrrrr! Tossed all but one of them. When am I going to actually take the time to apply those things to pieces of paper? Never, that's when!

"Mom? Can you..."


I surfaced some time later. Here's what was left. I have the feeling I could have tossed everything into the ocean (if there were one handy) and it wouldn't matter one little bit:

I called for my daughter and stepped out into the front yard. The sun was shining and a breeze was tossing the wine red leaves of the maple tree next door. It was that kind of breeze that's just brisk enough to swirl the ions in the air and make you feel alive with possibility - fresh, but not cold.

This is the reason I'm tackling my stuff. Because I refuse to be imprisoned in my house, a slave to the objects I've bought. I'm trading in my possessions for freedom. I think when I'm done halving, I'm going to go back and halve it all again.


Stacy said...

I haven't read this post yet (no time) but I will be back later to do so. Wanted to let you know that I LOVE your experiment and your blog has inspired me more than you'll ever know. My goal for the year was to declutter, but I barely worked on it. I now have renewed energy to achieve my goal. Your blog is one of my Top 3 and I check it daily, though I don't usually comment. I may not be halving everything, but I'm hoping to get rid of a whole lot. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me!! All the best!
Stacy :-)

Jennifer said...

Thank you!

Now you inspired me! It's rainy today, which is a sure-fire way to make me depressed and question everything I'm doing. Nice to know it's helping someone.