Monday, January 24, 2011

Purging the Clutter



 
Husband returned a few days ago from a two week trip to Ireland. There were some plumbing problems in our Irish home caused by the unusual inclement weather that needed attention. So flights were booked and off he went.

The house was quiet after his departure, yet lacked serenity. I was unable to put my finger on the cause of the uncomfortable, stressed aura that surrounded me. Putting on the kettle…because this is what I do when deliberating about most everything. With tea in hand I walked from room to room  trying to determine the reason for this atmosphere of unease. It obviously wasn’t husband. After two mugs of tea and two visits to each room, inspecting closets, cupboards, refrigerator and drawers I came to the conclusion that house was burdened, weighed down and moaning under the clutter collected over the past months.

I was shocked at the volume of unorganized stacks of paper stashed in just about every corner. I gathered all the paper piles and placed them on the kitchen table. The purging had begun. Seven hours later I had wadded through the mountain of paper. I shredded four binfuls, sorted, filed or recycled the rest. My next area of attack was the refrigerator and freezer. Best before dates were carefully scrutinized. As I tossed things into the bin my surroundings began to feel lighter. I emptied the freezer finding things at the bottom I was hard pressed to identify. Deciding this was one mystery I had no desire to unravel, the unidentified frozen objects joined past best before dates in the bin. Now the freezer is neat tidy and all its contents are identifiable and usable.

My next target was the pantry. Again best before dates were examined. I am not a stringent best before dater. Call me cynical because I consider these dates a marketing ploy. I am meticulous about dairy product dates though.  All except yogurt that is. After all what is yogurt? Getting back to the purging. The pantry was now sorted. Each shelf had its theme and all products on the shelf were repackaged if needed, sealed and labeled. Closets, drawers, sideboards etc. were all subjected to the same. After two weeks of moving through the house like a bat out of hell, filling the rubbish and recycling bins along with boxes and sacks for Goodwill I took a breath  and put the kettle on.   With  mug of tea in hand I moved through the house to observe my handiwork. To my surprise and slight disappointment everything looked the same. I had to open doors and drawers to see the results of my efforts. The house looked the same and yet it felt lighter. As I moved quietly from room to room sipping my tea I was sure I could hear the house say thank you. Then husband arrived home and the dining room table  once again sagged under travel debris. I began to feel  restless and uncomfortable again. Thankfully the table was cleared within two days and calmness restored. 

There is still much purging that needs to be done. I didn’t have the time or the energy to tackle the basement. But it is on my list.



28 comments:

Theresa Milstein said...

It's so nice to live in an uncluttered house. If it weren't for my husband, my house would be worse. LIving in a small place with a family of 4 makes it difficult.

I've heard a clutter-free home makes a clutter-free head. Better for writing. Do you find that to be the case?

Ann said...

I am hoping that is the case Theresa. Wasn't able to write with all the paper around the place. At the moment I am knitting like crazy. Daughters baby arrival is scheduled for next Monday.

Old Kitty said...

Seven hours of paper purging!?!??! OH wow!!! That deserves a medal alone!! Wow!! Good for you!!!! Glad your home feels lighter and extremely de-cluttered of excess!!

Good luck with the basement - but reading how thorough you were here the basement should hold no fears!!!!

Take care
x

Bess Weatherby said...

Oh! I did that yesterday. Mine only took a few hours because my room is the size of a postage stamp, but it still manages to get SO crowded. It's a little early for "spring cleaning" but it just feels so GOOD to get things cleaned up.

"I had to open doors and drawers to see the results of my efforts. The house looked the same and yet it felt lighter."

Perfect way to describe it.

~ Bess

walk2write said...

Good for you! Now that I see you're awaiting grandbaby's arrival, it's all very clear: You're cleaning the nest and feathering it (knitting) for the little one. Best wishes to you, Granny!

Al said...

I'm pleased things feel lighter now.
I am trying to purge the garden of weeds, a bit of sun and a lot of rain and I have a jungle on my hands.

Ann said...

Hi Kitty, Yes 7 hours of paper sorting and shredding. I hang my head in shame!

Hi Bess, It seems no matter the size, clutter accumulates. How annoying is that.

Hi Walk2Write, I shall be referred to as Nana once the young sir makes his appearance amongst us! Will be showing off the little matinee coats I have knit at a later date. Feeling rather proud of them!

Hi Al, Weeds are as irritating as junk mail. I feel for you.

Brigid said...

Ann, you make me feel slightly guilty, I need a big spring clean here.
The baby is due next Monday ? if it's a girl your daughter will have to call her 'Brigid' of course if she delays till Tuesday. What a lovely month for a baby to be born, my son is a February baby too, great time to get out and about.

Susannah said...

Ann I SO understand, if I get that feeling I start decluttering and purging too! The local charity shop gets a box full of things every time! It really helps. :-)

Then I clean and if the energy still feels off I walk around the house ringing one of my little bells (my partner rolls his eyes every time! lol) but the beautiful sweet note ringing out especially in the corners seems to move the stagnant energy and re- aatune the place!

Find yourself a nice little bell with a clear sweet note and try it sometime...perhaps best to make sure that no one can see you though! lol

Ann said...

Ah Brigid, the baby is a boy! She won't tell us the name they have picked out. February is already an overladen month is this family. Husband, Oldest Son, Daughter, Son-in-law, and future Daughter-in-law all February birthdays! Wallet chokes as it has not had time to recover from Christmas!

Ann said...

Hi Susannah, I never heard of the bell. I will give it a try. Doesn't matter if anyone sees me. They are already of the opinion I am a bit different, to put it politely. LOL!

KarenG said...

I just posted on this topic yesterday on my other blog. It feels terrific doesn't it? And thank you so much for the sympathy card, Ann. It was a lovely gesture and greatly appreciated :)

Brigid said...

Apologies, Ann, I didnt see the 'boy' reference, you can still make him a little 'St Brigid's cross' for his crib, happy days for you!!

Christine said...

Clutter is oppressive and getting rid of it makes us feel more in control of things.

I enjoyed your description of how you went about the task. Good luck with the basement!

Jules said...

My heavens I understand! My clutter is traveling from you to room in front of me trying not to get caught :) I'm on to it though and it is "I'll get you my pretty," sort of thing :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

catdownunder said...

Sigh, I wish. Our house is over-cluttered. We are untidy people. I do get rid of things from time to time but my father is a jackdaw with respect to everything ("it might be useful one day") and I am with respect to books and yarn.
Decluttering is a very slow process around here!

Áine Tierney said...

I'm terrible for clutter. Never throw anything out - always tell myself I'll declutter, but can't bear to put things in the bin in case they come in useful. I hope the house in Ireland got sorted.

Áine Tierney said...

I never declutter - I'm a hoarder I'm afraid. Always tell myself I'll throw stuff out but when it comes down to it, I find it so difficult. I hope the problem at the house in Ireland got sorted.

Áine Tierney said...

I'm afraid I'm a hoarder - I need to learn the skills of decluttering. I hope the problems in your house in Ireland got sorted.

Talli Roland said...

I love decluttering! Throwing things away is such a nice feeling for me. My desk is like Siberia - there's hardly anything on it. I can't write with clutter beside me!

Hope you've found it uplifting, throwing things away. More head space!

Ann said...

Hi Karen, Glad you got the card. Decluttering is a wonderful thing. Just wish it didn't take so much energy to do it.

Hi Christine, Ahhh the basement, it makes my head reel when I venture down there. I will need to spend quite a bit of time psyching myself up for that task!

That's the attitude Jules...Catch it before it gets you!

Hi Aine, You would think by all the stuff I cleared away I was a hoarder too! And yet I do major clearing on a regular basis. House in Ireland is all sorted, Thanks.

Hi Talli, Like you I can't write with clutter around me...that is why it gets shoved into dark crevices and often forgotten!

Words A Day said...

Congrats on imminent arrival of the new baby! Thats wonderful! Maybe you were nesting by proxy!(i hope that means what I mean it to mean!)

The Words Crafter said...

I'm wondering what it would take to convince you to come to my house.....

Good for you on accomplishing so very much! And congratulations!

Lola Sharp said...

It's the new year/fresh start syndrome...and nesting by proxy, indeed! :)

I admit, a freshly organized and clean house is a freeing feeling.

Hugs,
Lola

Jen Daiker said...

I love a clutter free lifestyle!!! So free and uplifting! Like you can conquer anything!!!!

I really need to take that into consideration for the coming spring months!

Colene Murphy said...

Wow! Serious de-cluttering! Good luck on the rest!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

You have my admiration. My clutter in my apartment is legendary. Friends say that they have spotted the flight journal of Amelia Earhart and the original manuscript for DRACULA in my clutter! LOL.

Madeleine said...

I once got serious food poisoning froma yoghurt so I never touch them after their sell by dates. I love the sound of your purge. It must have been so very satisfying. :O)