#OTR50 Day 37: Clutter

Today was a big day for adulting. I spent the morning shuttling the kid that is on spring break around to appointments and then the afternoon cleaning and waiting on a furniture delivery.

It is not so much “real” cleaning that absorbed the time. There was some of the traditional, sweep, swiffer, mop and vacuum of various flooring where old furniture was being moved out so that the new could be delivered. The “cleaning” was more similar to organizing. The kind of reviewing then determining if an item should be trashed, sold, filed, etc.

I did not hold any items in my hand and try to determine if they brought me joy. It’s more of the variety of “organizing” similar to this: I found a bag of make-up that I’d misplaced after returning from work travel about a year ago. I emptied the bag and spent time determining if any of the items inside could be tossed v. used. End result, 5 out of 7 items are now in the trash.  

The “stuff” in my house that piles up is a direct result of a constant internal struggle between frugality and reality. I despise wastefulness. It drives me nuts. I have memories from my childhood of re-using every container from butter for leftovers. I feel wrong putting something in the trash or recycling that could be reused. I am filled with a sense of wrongness about getting rid of something that I might use. I am driven to try and be sensible in the choices of purchases and careful to save things that could be used later. Frugality not wastefulness was ingrained into my being. To this day I have a hard time buying extravagant gifts or even expensive shoes. Even when I save up or put funds aside, I am sometimes filled with a sense of guilt at buying the costlier choice just because I like it a little bit better.

On the flip side, I am capable of splurging. It usually happens after a build-up of not doing so. I’m intrigued by my train of thoughts. . That I would bring all this to the surface in a post that started about adulting and new furniture. Yes, we indulged in a new sofa set. And yes, I hemmed and hawed in the store because sofas are one of those items where a little extra makes a big difference.

So there I was, about four hours ago, organizing when I found the make-up bag. I was putting the still OK to use powder and blush in my luggage for the next trip and I laughed at myself. The luggage was next to two bags of sewing and costume material that’s taking up space in my house because I *might* one day want it. The last time I made a costume was at least 4 years ago. 

I’ve been for years crazy frugal about a few bags of scrap material. They’ve been in the way of my old desk. The desk that I stopped using when laptops became something that it was comfortable to use as a laptop. That desk is covered in stuff that needs to organized.

Here’s why I laughed at myself. I’m tossing it all into the donate pile while I’m focused on making space for new furniture – a much larger expense. I will donate it. I will clear the space and feel better for it. Why do I torture myself in this way? Why do I keep items to stave off future guilt when the clutter also makes me nuts?

That’s an inner “me” thing – it’s not rational. It just is.

I am recognizing it. I am acknowledging that the guilt is based on a notion that is not needed in my current life. . . Recognizing it doesn’t mean I can just wish the feeling away!

But I can try.

328 Days to go.


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