Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Overwhelming tasks, like filing

Do you ever set yourself a task only to be intimidated by it when the time comes to actually do it?  Organizing my house is my favorite.  It never actually gets done, because it scares me. I can face the insanity of jumbled museum collections without breaking a sweat.  Give me several thousand old photographs to scan, organize and file, and I'm pretty happy. A drawer full of mixed up fossils to reconcile with a master inventory list, no big deal.  Attempt to sort out my personal paperwork? I cry. Don't even ask me to make my craft supplies look presentable.

Given all those glimpses into my psyche, it probably seems strange that I've set myself some summer goals that all revolve around organization of my stuff. I don't like this apartment we're in.  The upstairs neighbor whines when I listen to my music at what has always been considered a reasonable level during daylight hours, but she likes to stomp around all night long.  The management leaves snotty notes everywhere: the pool furniture has individual stickers on each piece demanding that they not be moved; the laundry room has a list of stupid rules post up in different locations, and regular reminders of the rules show up taped to all the doors.  This place probably demolishes an entire forest each year between the 40 page lease and all the notices.  It's also in a neighborhood where nobody gives a crap about anyone else. We thought we'd be out of here by now, but it's not happening.  We are now faced with finishing the unpacking and dealing with all the stuff we have that doesn't really fit here.  In order to feel like my life is not stagnating, I'm trying to go through everything and get rid of all the excess.  We've already burned an entire box of records that we no longer needed (they made great fire starters during the winter months), and hauled two trash bags full of old clothing to the clothing recycle bins, but it hasn't made a dent.  That was really eye opening.

Now, I've convinced myself that I need to go through the kids' clothes and donate all of the stuff they don't wear or have outgrown.  I'm ordering envelopes to store our 1000 plus DVDs, CDs, and computer disks without their cases.  I've begun to weed through my craft supplies, and I'm researching ways to inventory my books, movies and electronics to make sure I have enough insurance to cover them if something happens to our home.  It's also an exercise in letting go of some of my fears.  I have this weird fear of not having enough bedding, so over the years, we've ended up with enough blankets and sheets for a family of nine.  I attach memories to items and so I save things like my favorite skirt from my freshman year of college (yes, it's pretty, but even if I lost 100 pounds, I couldn't wear it because I'm too old for miniskirts). I try to remind myself that getting rid of objects doesn't delete memories. I don't have to keep ALL of my kid's artwork, so I'm going to try to pick a couple of items that they were really proud of and scrap the rest (maybe after some pictures), because when I die, my kids really won't care to inherit all their kindergarten craft projects and third grade reports.

As sit and write this, I'm torn between laughing at myself (Who gets this scared of cleaning?) and breaking into a nervous sweat (Have you seen how much stuff I have? I could be killed if it falls on me!), but I'm determined to not see some of this stuff ever again.  It'll be good for me, as I keep repeating, and less stuff means less cleaning and moving it later.  Of course this much easier to say than to do, but I think it's time to do something that really scares me, and deal with all of it


  1. I just recently moved into an apt. which I'm lucky because I love it but the whole process of moving and organizing had me filled with anxiety. I also dread sorting out stuff but I managed to get rid of a lot of things that I don't need. There's a few things I wish I hadn't thrown away but for the most part it was wonderful to part with just "stuff." Remember to take it easy on yourself and try not to think you have to get everything done by yesterday.

    1. Thanks, Wendy! I'm glad your move went so well.


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