Friday, November 11, 2011

Rambling: Decluttering and the whacky

The house is a mess.

Now, it's not the same kind of mess that our house used to be years ago, or the same kind of mess that my mother's house was when I was a child. I know this, because we expected guests at 6:00 yesterday evening, and I didn't start the frantic cleaning process until 5:00. Several years ago, guests would have called for a day's notice or more. At Mom's house... well, let's just not think about it.

However, when guest preparation involves making sure that I close more than a certain minimum number of doors, that means that the house is a mess.

I'm discovering that the house being a mess is a useful thing. I scanned a stack of twenty-four sewing and craft books, a stack that I considered to be the hard-core remainder of my sewing collection, after multiple thinnings. But, driven by the mess, I thought I'd have one more look at them and see if I can find one or two to put in the "sell to the used bookstore" stack.

I found nineteen.

It's clear that my customary strategy of, "Let's get this place tidied, and then let's do some decluttering" is flawed. This weekend's plan is declutter first, tidy second.

Drifting to another angle on the same topic, I've mentioned that I worry a lot, right? About everything. And my worries have an irrational tendency to make me doubt what I'm doing. I think thoughts like:

  • "If I get hit in the next round of layoffs, I'll be sorry I spent money on this hot chocolate."
  • "If I do something bad and get sued and go bankrupt, I'll be sorry I didn't buy every perfume I wanted beforehand. They probably wouldn't count as a seizable asset."
  • "If I get bad medical news at my next physical and promptly die, I'll feel silly that I had such a good time today."

Yes, I see the fourteen dozen different ways that these--especially the last one--make no sense whatsoever. But my point is that yesterday, I realized that there is no scenario where decluttering doesn't look like a good idea to me. If I get fired? It'd be great to have a cleaner house to update my resume in. If I get sick and promptly die, it'll be great to have all my stuff neatened and dealt with. If I accidentally do something really bad and get arrested... well, OK, there's no particular advantage to having a clean house, but there's no down side either. And, of course, if the world continues on its normal track, it'd be nice to have it continue with a tidy house.

A chunk of badness landed today--something happening to someone else, not me or Himself, but badness all the same. Decluttering tomorrow will be good.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.


  1. I have thoughts like these all of the time--I guess that makes me a worrier too. I worry about my lousy memory. If I get rid of all these (cards, letters, notes, programs, etc.) how will I ever remember the nice or interesting things that happened to me? Sorry about the chunk of badness thing...

  2. Just imagine if you get arrested though and the police want to come and raid your house. You'll feel so much better about it if it's tidy.

    The only thing that ever stresses me out is when the house is a messy (yes, I'm a virgo) and for some ridiculous reason I have to share my space with four of the most untidy teenagers that were ever put on this earth.

    It drives me to distraction that I spend so much time trying to get them to tidy after themselves!

  3. "If I do something bad and get sued and go bankrupt, I'll be sorry I didn't buy every perfume I wanted beforehand. They probably wouldn't count as a seizable asset."

    This sounded so much like the voice in my head, I laughed loud enough to scare the cats.

  4. Hey, Cupcake! Yes - maybe it's a good thing that my family isn't all that much for cards and letters; I have trouble getting rid of those. Programs and such don't bother me nearly as much, and I find that the existence of this blog reassures me that I'll remember things that happened since I started it.

  5. Jennifer, you're right! So, yes, even then it's a good plan!

    Ooh. Teenagers. That does sound like a housekeeping nightmare.

  6. Diana! I'm so glad that, judging by you and Cupcake, I'm not the only person that would ever have such thoughts.

    Please apologize to the cats for me. :)

  7. I think the sequel to this blog post could be the kind of mess that your mother's house was. ;) Decluttering is good. On the plus side, should you want to do a book giveaway on this blog, you're ready with 19 prizes.

  8. Yo, Melody! Hee. And more now; the living room is stacked with books on their way out.