Time to clean out the clutter…
I’m not sure if it’s some innate, nesting-like, one-with-the-phases-of-the-spring-moon need-to-clean, or a general clearing out phase of my life, but recently I find myself on a decluttering binge. It starts with my dating relationships – that is, I make a promise to myself to spend time only with people that I really want to spend time with. No more going out from loneliness, boredom or guilt. On the home front, I have the same good intentions, just to organise one room. To live more simply. To live with less clutter in order to have more time to do the things I love. I go through my home office, donate books, clothes, buy some organisers, clean the area rug, reduce the clutter on my desk, and choose a lovely bright color scheme. In the space of clearing out, I find myself enjoying my many nights at home alone in my new, less cluttered apartment. What could possibly go wrong from here?
Then something happens. Either from having too much time on my hands or from the numerous amazing organisation resources, I find myself fantasizing about an ideal world where everything has a place. And there isn’t a junk drawer anywhere. Before I know it, I’m perusing Pinterest organisation photos like an addict in the wee hours of the night, after the rest of the city has fallen asleep. I have, it seems, inadvertently traded in a date with the wrong girl addiction for an organisation addiction.
Between the loads of blogs and other web resources I stumble on, I realize that I’m not alone in the pull towards ultra organisation. There’s even a term for all the hyper organised, color-coded, labeled and decluttered rooms – orgporn. If ever there was an addiction I favored, I quickly realize that in my orgporn addiction I have hit the mother load.
I join the ranks of the orgporn addicted and make decluttering plans for each room in the rest of my apartment, and begin to notice that I am unable to walk through a room without reaching for an item that might go in the “donate” pile. Nothing in the house is safe. Even the cat shuffles out of the room when she catches my eye these days.
I share my newfound love of decluttering with anyone who will listen. I begin recommending books to friends, and dragging friends to IKEA and The Container Store in pursuit of the next best organiser. After one container-gathering trip, I unload bags of organisers from my car and stop in my tracks, giant plastic bags heaping with goods in hand. I realize that my goal has been to remove things from my house, from my life. I wonder: does it make any sense at all to declutter by bringing in more stuff to hold my stuff? Or worse, have I become an org pusher?
In the end, my apartment ultimately looks better, neater and fresher. While I feel calmer within all this simplified living, I realize that my pursuit wasn’t really about my apartment. When I really sought was a decluttered mind. The ability to be present in each moment, rather than getting spun out over the past or future. The willingness to hold my worth high enough to spend time only with quality people. Is this what we all really want? The kind of inner peace of mind that can’t be found in the right room decorations, closet organisers, or pretty containers. I can’t help but shake my head and laugh at myself in the awareness that I approached getting rid of stuff with the same vehemence and OCD with which I bought the stuff to begin with. So spring clean, organise, declutter, and simplify away this spring. But you may want to prepare yourself for attending a 12-step orgporn meeting. Maybe I’ll see you there.