It’s Saturday. It’s just shy of 8 a.m. All week I’ve been looking forward to the weekend, knowing I would have two days to myself to continue my declutter decathalon. It is Saturday morning finally and IT IS NOT GOING WELL.
I made really good progress on the weekend before July 4th. And I’m going to be having company soon, which is happy and exciting so I was more motivated than ever (I thought?) but … I obviously wasn’t able to de-hoard years of clutter in two days. By Sunday evening the Captain was back so I needed to clean up a little. I couldn’t make the man tiptoe through a box minefield. And before I could blink, the holiday was over and I was back at work, long hours, etc. Then the cleaning gals came this week so I had to move the sorting boxes from the hall back into the guestroom and ugh. This feels like going backwards! Like anti-progress.
So everything is back in the guest room and now I feel like Sisyphus With The Good Hair rolling that big boulder up the mountain except my boulder is cardboard boxes of crap and wasn’t I just doing this same thing last week?
I am feeling super demotivated. Putting all the boxes back into the guest room felt like moving backwards.
This morning I have done a little weird routine about seventy times: walk into the room. Look around. Don’t know where to start. Want to start everywhere at once and also start nowhere because this shiz is overwhelming. Feel anxiety rise steeply. Walk out.
So now I’m going to drink a cup of coffee and calm by butt down and figure out WTF.
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Update: Noon o’clock
Um, I have done laundry. And fixed a CSS problem with the dateline text on this site, and walked into that room six more times so I’m leaving. I’m going to the grocery store. If I cannot be productive here I need to do something, anything, that feels like movement.
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OK. Grocery store done and I came home and cooked lunch and now I’ve walked in there twice and I cannot muster the motivation to dive in and that room makes me anxious.
Motivation isn’t just going to come today in a big jolt, clearly, so I’m going to have to push myself to start somewhere and then motivation will come afterwards. Have decided to sort through the DVDs. It’s easier because I don’t have too many and they are all contained in one place downstairs.
AHA OK PROGRESS! I didn’t get rid of too many DVDs — 14 total — but it felt good to simply start and finish a task and make some small improvement. Now I’m going to do a sweep of the downstairs bookshelves and make myself get rid of at least one item per shelf. There are six shelves total, should be easy.
Done and wow, I managed to put THIRTY books in the donate box. Pretty freaking awesome progress if I do say so myself. It has freed up space, too, so a lot of the overflow books which had made their way into the guestroom now have a proper place. I had a weird moment while doing this. I picked up a book I’ve had in my collection for probably ten years that I have never read. It was Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, and it was a really nice paperback version. It’s also huge. That book is like carrying around an Office Depot catalog.
At first I had moved right past it, keeping it on the shelf. Then as the process picked up momentum, I found it easier to discard things so I did another sweep and my eyes landed on the book. I picked it up and moved to place it in the donate box but then I froze. I didn’t want to let go of it. Mind you I have never read this book and therefore it’s not a treasured favorite or a reference book or signed by the author or anything notable.
But for some reason I was paralyzed. I stood there for a minute and started to feel a hot, creeping discomfort. I quickly placed the book in the discard pile and went outside on the patio for a moment.
Look, I’m not attached to that book. And I know it is well within my power to buy that exact book again should I ever need it. So what the actual F was going on?
I think that book represented an idea. It’s an enormous book, not a quick read on a Sunday morning. And when I bought it about a decade ago (ugh) I guess I imagined a time that I was very much hoping to create where I would have the unbroken stillness and pleasure of free time to dive into such a book. I associate that kind of experience with peak hygge, cozy long afternoons with a cup of hot tea or cocoa and curling up on the bed with this longass book and occasionally looking out the window at the rain. Not just for an hour but for a whole day, two days. Some luxurious space to simply read and lounge in pajamas.
Yeah that describes the polar opposite of my real life. So it’s a fantasy, one I hope to achieve by paring down in many aspects of my life both physical and existential. Letting go of that book felt like I was giving up on myself and the dream of free time.
Which is all nonsense. Doing this is to create space and space creates opportunity. So fuck that part of my brain that is trying to turn me into a hoarder.
Later (and probably finally?) 7 PM
It worked (kind of). Doing smaller, simpler declutter activities definitely sparked my motivation engine and I managed to get a little work done in the guestroom. I collected all my long-neglected sewing supplies into one pile, and sorted the knitting stuff into a general area, and did a culling pass through both. Tomorrow it’s time to get in there and pare down on books. My gal is to get down to 50% of what I currently have, so send Xanax and cookies because it’s going to be a wild ride to insane town but I am going innnnnnnn.