Tuesday, July 1, 2008

STEP 1: CREATE A NURTURNING ENVIRONMENT. In other words, get up off your ass and clean house!

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

--William Morris

I’ve decided to begin my quest for a life by cleaning, organizing and decorating my apartment so I can enter without tripping over anything, relax when I’m there and even actually invite people over from time to time without feeling embarrassed. I’ve been looking into the practice of Feng Shui and it seems I’ve violated pretty much all of the principles. Perhaps this explains my life. Even though I have no intention of hanging wind chimes in my apartment for any reason, having a clean, organized home makes practical sense to me. Chaos in my surroundings is anxiety provoking. I am an admitted germaphobe, but I am not a neat freak. A certain amount of clutter is fine with me. At some point, however, my apartment has crossed over into the chaos zone. Since I’m rarely home—work, school, internship, volunteering, rare social engagements—I’m surprised by how insanely disorganized my apt. has become. On the other hand, since I'm so busy, when I am home I barely have time to do laundry and clean the bathrooms, let alone anything else. Plus, when given the choice between cleaning and sitting on my ass, I'm likely to choose sitting on my ass. Wouldn't you?

I began clearing out the clutter last weekend and am hoping to make even more progress this weekend. Once my roommate moves out, I’ll have extra storage space as well so by the first week of August, my apt. should be thoroughly clean and organized. As you can see from this "before" picture, I've mostly been using my bedroom as a storage unit. A rather poorly maintained and disorganized storage unit.

I have a tendency to keep things just because they were a gift, or I think perhaps someday I will have a use for them. The emotional connection to objects is one of the biggest road blocks to getting rid of clutter. If Aunt Tootie gives me a blue widget, I will feel guilty getting rid of it even if I hate blue widgets and have no use for them. I realize now that if I don’t really love or use the item, then it really is just part of the chaos. If I give it to Goodwill there is a chance someone who really needs or wants it will find it there. This idea has freed me from feeling guilty about letting go of many blue widgets. And I think Aunt Tootie would really rather the widget were put to good use by someone else rather than collecting dust in a corner of my apt.
I also have quite a bit of sentimental stuff from my EX that I’m not yet ready to part with. I packed the majority of it into a storage bin after our break-up. This time around I was a little more ruthless and I was able to actually throw out a few things I knew I would never need and that wouldn’t be useful as Goodwill donations. I had a few pangs, but in my heart I knew it was the right thing to do. I’m sure as time goes by, I’ll be able to get rid of most of the stuff in the bin. I may not be entirely over the relationship yet, but I am aware that it is impossible to embrace the future if you continue to cling to the past. It is time to move on.

After a weekend spent sorting and organizing, I took the photo below. Not yet perfect, but a great improvement. Phase two happens this weekend and I will report back on the results. Wish me luck!

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