I need to keep decluttering. How do I know?
There are obvious signs.
A “Future Linebacker” Bears football jersey ornament has been hanging on the handle of my desk since last Christmas. (Why?)
My husband thinks it’s easier to park in the driveway than on his side of the garage. (He is officially now one of those people.)
No one has approached me to write a book about the way I Tetris my office supplies just so in my desk drawer. (Maybe I should be more vocal about thanking them.)
There are so many other indications that I’m not done decluttering. The fact that I still feel the need to tidy up or search for things is most noteworthy. As far as I’m concerned, any time spent looking for anything is too much wasted time.
Truthfully, I have made a lot of progress. I just got back from trading two boxes worth of stuff for $17.71. Not to mention all the things I’ve given away on Freecycle this week. But I wanted to really get a pulse on my progress. So I decided to jot down everything I said for a week that might be a sign I’m not done decluttering.
I’ve got miles to go on this journey.
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“Where is the green pen that I had when I started writing these cards?”
Don’t worry, it gets worse.
The follow up went something like, “Not that green pen. The dark green one.” Because I am a pen consessouir and nothing will do other than an excessive amount of Paper Mate Flair pens.
Apparently, I have so many writing utensils floating around in my drawer that I was able to start writing a batch of thank you cards, get up momentarily, return to resume writing…and misplace my pen all in a matter of moments.
“My favorite nail polish is gone!”
I rounded up eleven bottles of nail polish to list on Freecycle and OfferUp (for $0).
This was a hard one for me. I can’t quite put an unpolished finger on why, but there is something about holding onto these colorful bottles that makes me want to keep them always. Maybe it’s a sense of hope. Hope for a brighter tomorrow where I have time to slow down and actually paint my own nails again.
Or maybe it’s because I’ve secretly always aspired to be a nail polish name copywriters. (Yes I Can Can, Who the Shrek Are You?, Glove You So Much! How fun is this world?)
I started to console myself with the fact that I could keep Fiji. Otherwise known as the absolute perfect polish color from Essie that is a cross between white and pink that dries in a delightful matte finish.
It wasn’t until I made it to the back of my nail polish organizer that I realized Fiji is gone. I must have left it at the nail salon at my last pedicure.
That’s right. I had so many other bottles of nail polish and I use them so infrequently that I didn’t even notice one was missing. FOR. A. YEAR.
“Wait! He can’t touch that.”
I read some bananas statistics that boil down to the fact that even though homes have nearly doubled in size since the 1980s (a fine decade to be born if there ever was one), the demand for storage units is increasing at an alarming rate. Like “Danger, Will Robinson” alarming. There is 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space in the United States.
It’s not that our houses are too small.
It’s that we fill them up with things we don’t need or won’t let anyone use.
Case in point? I found myself getting all panicky, shouting a variation of an MC Hammer line, when I realized my son might accidently break the grand piano music box…that sits on top of our upright piano as he scooted into the other room to go tickle a few ivories. SOLD. You had better believe that music box helped me hit that $17.71 mark.
“Didn’t Amazon drop something off yesterday?”
I scratched my head and looked at our front step. Another box? Why?
No, I didn’t actually buy something and then forget about. Though, if we were talking about a day in my life just a matter of years ago, this would have been well within the realm of possibility.
Instead, it was another birthday present that arrived for my son. We are fortunate to have so many people in our lives who want to turn him into a little bookworm, but I am quickly realizing that there is such a thing as too many books.
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“The cleaning lady is coming. We have to clean.”
This is the kicker. I refuse to stop decluttering until this isn’t something I have to utter anymore.
Before you tell me that canceling my cleaning service would solve all of my problems (You’d be a big fat liar if you said that anyway, so don’t.), please note that I could insert any human being besides my husband and son and feel the same amount of excitement and panic. And this is not a two-minute tidy a la Good Housekeeping. This is full-on mad dash around the house that still takes more time than watching a TV show. Or doing anything productive.
Final Thoughts on Decluttering
I don’t know that my house will ever been entirely clutter free. But my goal is to find a way to get rid off enough things that I no longer feel overwhelmed or anxious when I look around my house. Ever.
So Tell Me…How do you know when it’s time to do a clean out at your place?