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“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

January 27, 2013

After all this time, and all the things that have happened, i’m going to come back with the most boring post on earth.  I have been working on decluttering our house, and i feel the need to document (i think that means i am beginning to feel overwhelmed again).

I have been working on working on purging our crap for ages, but now i am really doing it.  I mean, we have been getting rid of things, but it never seemed to make an impact overall, and now i am doing it systematically, which either works better or is more obvious and makes me feel better.  I think the big difference is that i just became unafraid of the trash.  I have a deep fear of throwing things away; i am terribly offended by wastefulness.  My breakthrough has been along the lines of “sunk costs” – that it is just as wasteful to leave crap unused as to throw it in the trash.  In the same vein, the crap is already here, so i just have to let go of my guilt over having things that are waste.  Better trash in the trash than trash in the house.  And in the future we can try to create less of it, but what’s done is done.  This is the category of stuff that has always frozen my cleaning efforts: the stuff that can’t be donated, shouldn’t be kept, but isn’t really trash – it’s not food wrappers and dust bunnies; it’s underwear and socks that no one wears, things that are only a little broken, that pillow the dogs started sleeping on that, really, is beyond cleaning.

The other major improvement is that i think i’ve finally found a filing system that we will actually use.

(I think this entire process is actually about admitting your weaknesses, recording them in great detail, and tricking yourself into functioning despite them.  At least, i’ve tried the “admitting your weaknesses and fixing them” route and it has always been an utter failure.)

Anyhow, filing.  The main point of interest here is that i finally realized that having a filing system in your office is for organized people.  It is not for people who create mountains of paper inside their door.  So we have taken the filing to the mail, because clearly we do not take the mail to the filing.  So, we have a file box and a recycle box directly inside the front door.  i have also realized that file folders that tell you what is in them are also for organized people – mine need to tell me what the hell i’m supposed to do with all that paper as well, so everything is labelled not only “dogs” or “house” but also “scan” “replace” or “keep”.  It’s a bit embarrassing to get direction from inanimate objects, but it seems to be working.  Oh, and anything that we need to deal with stays on top of the table (because, really, how else are we going to remember that it exists?).

Other than that, it’s just a matter of doing it.  I’ve been taking the house piece by piece with a pile of boxes and bags – “donate” “trash” “recycle” and then “stuff that has a place and needs to be put away” and “stuff that i don’t even know where it goes”.  The first four categories are easy to deal with.  The last so far just serves the purpose of getting all the place-less stuff in one place instead of all over the house – well, that and not sidetracking me trying to figure out what to do with xyz doodad.  At some point, though, we will have to deal with it.

Overall i am really pleased with how it’s going – noting that i am terrified to deal with our craft supplies, and i have resigned myself somewhat to the kid shit (As foster kids, everything of theirs goes home with them – an important rule to keep shitty foster parents in line, but a bit excessive also.  That and we are storing things like outgrown clothes and toys they’re too young for for future kids, and we have a lot of kid stuff just sitting in boxes.)

-Lady Brett

don't know where this is from, but it feels true.  it's a good thing our kids are cute.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2013 2:24 am

    “Better trash in the trash than trash in the house” – I’ve had to contend with that fact several times over the past year, and it remains true. Also, I might stick it on a note for myself somewhere. Maybe in several places, because I always forget. A hard one for me is all the fragments of fabric I’ve cut up that aren’t even big enough for an apron pocket. No one can use them! Especially not me! They went in the trash because that’s exactly where the thrift-store sorting staff would have put them. Future you will thank current you profusely for doing this work now instead of continuing to let stuff-guilt overwhelm you. <3

  2. February 11, 2013 1:53 pm

    Can you come over to my house? ;) Happy V day to you and Jamie! xo SF

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