One of the most frustrating things about tackling big projects is knowing where to start. Everyone knows how to spot the big picture end goal. Lose 50lbs. Earn xxx in sales this quarter. Remodel the kitchen.
But where to start can seem overwhelming, and the temptation is to kick the can and 'start tomorrow'.
One of my big projects at the moment is reducing the clutter in my apartment. I've never been a terribly neat person. My room as a kid was always cluttered with clothes on the floor. My desk rarely had room for me to do my homework on.
Shows about hoarders scare me. While my home is nowhere near as bad as these horror stories, sometimes when they talk about why they do it, I hear eerily familiar echoes.
I saw a show recently where a woman hoarded food. She had 7 refrigerators filled with rotting food. This isn't something that I do, but when she showed a mountain high pile of empty food containers, I gulped. She said she saved these food containers because they could be useful for storing things, but she never used them.
This was a little too close to home. I've saved empty plastic containers and jars thinking I could use them to store leftovers, and be thrifty. But the reality is they just take up space in my cabinets.
I went and threw them all out.
Because I like to cook, my kitchen is the cleanest place in the house. I wipe down my counters after every meal. I am actually a bit OCD about the cleanliness of my kitchen. My drawers are organized in ways so I can get to things quickly. Since I've decided to work more on food blogging, this has been more important.
But other areas of my apartment are more cluttered. I know that I should tidy them up, but it seems overwhelming, and I kick the can. It's such a big task, and it's not especially clear cut. "I want a clean, neat house." What exactly does that mean?
My clothes drawers are full of clothes that I don't wear, but I cling to and don't want to throw or donate away. Many of them are still in good condition. Some I bought and have never worn. I'm loathe to give them away because I feel like I've wasted my money.
And yet they sit there, just taking up space. That's not very utilitarian value.
There are a lot of things in my house that aren't used, but I cling to and don't want to give away. My husband has been very patient all these years, gently trying to get me to let them go, and yet any time he mentions it, I panic. What if I need them later?
But I never need them later.
And then I watch the hoarding shows where the people talk about panicking when they think of throwing something away. It's a little more familiar and recognition then I'd like to admit.
So just like in various other aspects of my life when I needed to make change, I've decided to just do it. No excuses, just get it done. Even if I don't want to or don't feel like it, just do it anyway. I'm not a little kid, I'm an adult, and I need to do it. Whether I 'want' to is irrelevant. It 'has' to get done, so do it.
I've been doing a little at a time. Straightening up just a drawer or two a day. Folding, organizing, and throwing things into bags to take to the charity shop.
Here's what my bedroom looked like before. Only the cat enjoys the clutter. She mocks me by sleeping on my clutter instead of her cat bed.
After it is done, it wasn't so bad. And it didn't take that long either to sort things for laundry or charity. In moments where I thought to myself, "I should keep this, just in case...", I tossed it in the charity bag. If I thought that, then I probably didn't need it. The truth is, after the space was clean and I could vacuum, I felt better. A tidy space lifts the mood.
In the end, only the cat is unhappy with the declutter. But she still won't sleep in the cat bed. She preferred the clothes pile.