Thursday, January 20, 2011

Magical Moment 350, "Out With the Old, Un-used, and Forgotten"

"The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your 
state of mind." -Wayne Dyer

When we moved from our beautiful, North Carolina, 4-bedroom home (with 2 car garage, huge backyard, and swimming pool...sniffle), into our New Jersey, teeny weeny, 2-bedroom apartment where all 3 closets equal the space of 1 regular sized closet, I knew we would have to make a lot of changes in order to fit. In preparation of the move, we had a massive garage sale and emptied a large portion of our "stuff." When we pulled up in a U-haul to this old, brick, 2nd floor apartment (with a staircase so narrow I have a hard time carrying a laundry basket through), I realized there was even less space than I anticipated. The kitchen was no bigger than a hallway. And the second "bedroom" was barely enough to cram my keyboard and desk into. Undeterred, we made the best of it and excitedly unpacked our belongings, anticipating our new life and careers in Northern New Jersey.

I concluded that if it was important enough to pack into boxes, drive a thousand miles, and unload, then I would just have to find a place for it. As a result, I used every nook and cranny for storage space. I have stuff crammed under our bed, between the couch and the wall, and beware should you open the cupboard above the refrigerator - you may come away with a concussion when the "space for misfit items" comes tumbling onto your head. But after a year and a half of dealing with the frustrating chaos, I now realize, we don't need all this stuff. When it gets to the point that you say, "Let's just go buy a new cooler because it's a dangerous game of Jenga to retrieve our own from the closet," then maybe it's time to do a little de-cluttering.

Today I began the daunting task of going through every single thing we own and making a decision, to keep or to toss. In one day, I managed to sort every single item of clothing Eddie and I own (down to each mis-matched sock and decade old baseball cap), every book that sits on our never used bookshelf (which includes how-to manuals of appliances we no longer own), and extra linens that includes bedding for 2  guest bedrooms. Our 2 guest bedrooms now consists of a fold out couch, and recommendations to nearby hotels.

I sit now in my living room, surrounded by several cardboard boxes and 6 large, black, heavy-duty garbage bags. In the morning the VVA (Vietnam Veterans of America), will come to my apartment, pick this stuff up, and take it somewhere where it can be used again.

I know I have a long way to go, this was only 1 room! Being surrounded by dust-bunnies and out-of-date, high water jeans may not sound like a day of magic, but it feels good to make progress. I already feel lighter, more productive, less materialistic, more like myself. My dream of one day using the kitchen cupboards efficiently, and not tempting injury when getting into the front closet may soon become a reality!


Teri said...

Wow! Sounds like you did a great job of it! I'm purging my kitchen this month (not as slow as it sounds as I'm not home a lot). But it feels fantastic as space opens up and things are put away in a better system.

MaggieGem said...

Great post... I am in desperate need of a decluttering myself! Sounds like you tremendous progress, great job!

Anonymous said...

oh my!!! why did you change your life like that to such a small place?

Lori said...

I love purging of unneccessary things that we really don't need. My motto is if we don't love it and want/need it then it really doesn't need to be here. Simplying and minimizing really does make like easier and gives freedom to do something besides clean.

Anonymous said...

I love the Vietnam Vets organization; they come and Get the stuff! My annual event is to "spring clean" in January when things are cold, gloomy and boring. Somehow, it helps my mood and frame of mind. I crank my tejano music really loud and people leave me alone and I get lost in my own thoughts. It's cheaper than therapy! xo

Steve Gravano said...

Yes I agree with you, it does feel good to clean-up and donate unused items.

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Teri, good luck with your kitchen! It's quite the process isn't it? Can't wait til I'm finished, it'll feel so good!

MaggieGem, Thanks. Probably everyone could use a little decluttering at times. Thanks for reading. :)

Anonymous, life is the answer there! Just gotta roll with it.

Lori, I completely agree with your motto. The hardest part is just making the decision to deal with it! I'm looking forward to the freedom when this project is complete!

Anonymous, yep! Thanks for the VVA tip!

Steve, absolutely. Thanks for reading and the comment. :)