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Cashew Lou's Yukon Annex

I've got Pop-Pop in the attic.

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De-cluttering my life
As some of you may already know, 2010 was a really rocky year for me. This post is not in any way meant to expound on that point, but to discuss something that has indirectly resulted from it.

In a recent session with my therapist, he asked me an interesting question: How cluttered is your apartment? I consider myself a very organized and tidy person, so his question took me by surprise; I essentially asked him what the hell that had to do with the price of tea in China. His response was two-pronged:

1. Physical and visual clutter can actually intensify depression; most human minds desire and demand order.

2. Job searching can only take up so much time in a day, and tidying up and removing unnecessary clutter from my life helps imbue me with a sense of accomplishment--something badly needed to offset any desperation and depression I may feel.

So, over the past couple of months, I have taken a really, really hard look at my surroundings and possessions. I set some criteria for myself; I eliminated anything that did not have any current use or strong sentimental value. I have never been the "pack rat" type, but I was astonished at how much junk I have permanently removed from my life:

* Five very large boxes of books, DVDs and CDs I haven't even looked at in years
* Six large Hefty bags of clothing and bed dressing
* A mountain of no-longer-relevant documents and receipts
* Two large boxes of dishes and glassware
* Two large boxes of outdated electronics and software
* Two more large boxes of just random and unneeded stuff

I gave every item I got rid of very serious consideration--and I know I will not miss or need any of it. I got to thinking, and one big question came out of all of this: why did I keep and move so much junk so many times over the years? I think a good part of it is fear or guilt of getting rid of something I may need or miss in the future. Part of it is just laziness, too; it takes effort to bag and box stuff up for Goodwill or Half Price Books--or to have paper shredding recycled. And all of this was a lot of hard work! But, very much worth it.

I look around myself now, and I really like how my apartment looks; as a matter of fact, I would easily be able to live quite comfortably in an apartment with fifty square feet less space than I have now. It is as if a psychic weight has been lifted; that nagging feeling that I need to take care of all that clutter is completely gone. Best of all, I know now that when I do eventually get myself back on my feet, I can come home to a nice, comfortable, tidy and uncluttered home. It will take some discipline to keep it this way; clutter can pile up so quickly--but with a little luck and work, it will never again be the chore it was over the last couple of months. And I also can rest easy knowing my next move, whenever that may be, will be much easier than the last.

I can look forward to an uncluttered and useful life to follow; I have the living space for it now.

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Isn't non-materialism wonderful? ;-)


Oh, it isn't to say I don't still have stuff; I have just whittled away a cubic acre or so of crap. o(:o)

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For me, a lot of it was looking around the room and asking myself, "Seriously, why the hell do I even have that?" Any item I asked that question about got the boot, of course.

Your mentioning advances in technology is a very strong point, too; I just love my flat-screen monitor and TV, not only from a technological viewpoint, but also because they don't weigh fifty pounds apiece.

I wasn't even aware of the Tiny House movement; I will definitely have to give that further study.

I only brought a truckload of stuff with me to Iowa...I haven't really missed the rest of my stuff, apart from my HD TV, though I've been getting by just fine without it.


Who needs HDTV when you have all the glorious whites, browns and greys of Iowa in winter? o(;o)

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What you described there is exactly how my Big Purge(TM) got started: I got all the superfluous clutter off my computer desk first. Then it slowly but surely became an all-encompassing outward spiral, until not a single room or closet in my living space was spared.

I love that "light" feeling; it's like I have trimmed all the excess off my life. o(:o)

I'm job searching now, and am very very discouraged. Maybe I'll do some cleaning, then. Couldn't hurt!

You and I both have way too much company when it comes to that, unfortunately.

I am not suggesting that tidying up your living space is any solution or replacement for a job search, but it can at least serve as a beneficial and momentary distraction.

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