Sunday, December 11, 2005

Goal #1: Simplify

I've always been something of a clutterbug. I think it's genetic as my grandfather was the same way. Or maybe his came from being a child of the Depression when you didn't throw anything away of necessity.

In 2001, we made a crosscountry move from Texas to Ohio. Our Uhaul was positively stuffed and even then we left stuff behind. I had lived in the same 3 bedroom townhouse for almost 12 years. I was good at accumlating and justified it by being incredibly organized at it. Boxes were labeled and lists indicated which box everything was in. Oh yes, I was good.

When we moved, we went from a fairly large place to a somewhat smaller place with no storage. We could almost get our Miata in the 2-car garage if we parked really carefully. If you got up in the middle of the night you had to be careful to step around all the boxes. It was getting pretty bad even if it was organized.

One day at the library, on a whim, I picked up a copy of Clutter's Last Stand: It's Time to De-Junk Your Life! by Don Aslett. I still remember reading it: I went to bed early on a Friday evening (J was at work) and started reading. I finished about 10pm. I got out of bed and started de-cluttering. Man, that book changed my life. I worked until the wee hours of the morning, took a nap, went back at it, slept a little more, and finally finished late Sunday night. I went to work Monday exhausted but with a huge sense of accomplishment. A friend came over Monday afternoon and three times we packed up (and I do mean packed) my Xterra to the gills and made a run to three different Goodwills to drop it off. I was so embarrased by the amount of accumlated stuff that I didn't want to go back to the same place!

J came back after his trip and was absolutely astonished. We could now fit both cars in the garage AND not have to trip over boxes in the house. It was great.

In the 4 years since then, I've slipped back into my clutter habits. I still justify it by being very organized about it. Old habits die hard. I can't really blame it on the Little Miss. She has a lot of toys and I do buy clothes and things for her in advance that I store up. But that's small-time compared to my clutter.

So, one of goals for 2006 is to declutter and simplify again. I'm hoping that we will stay in this house for a very long time and that once I get it under control I can keep it under control. Or maybe I should just schedule myself to re-read the book every 3 or 4 years.

I'm off to the library to get that book again.

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