Mess bugs me. Not all the time- sometimes my room turns into a tornado zone and I couldn’t care less- but other times too much clutter is like a ticking time bomb. I try to avoid thinking about it, I shove my mess into my closet so its out of sight, but sooner or later I will snap. I’ll go on a cleaning rampage, meticulously organizing all my t-shirts into functional categories and scrubbing every visible surface with Clorox wipes.
As much as mess gets to me, I have two major problems that prevent me from being an ultra neat freak. For one, I’m extremely lazy. Cleaning is a lot of work, and rather than continuously maintaining a clean room, I tend to let the mess pile up until its unbearable. As many times as I organize my t-shirts, they never seem to stay organized. Second, I’m a huge hoarder.
I’m that person that will never throw away a shoebox, just in case I someday find myself desperately needing one. I will never throw away a charger cord, even for old, outdated electronics that don’t work anymore, so I have an entire drawer dedicated to a tangled web of wires and plugs. That dress that doesn’t fit me anymore but might fit me in the future if I lose enough weight? I definitely need to keep that. That old, dirty snow globe I found at the park six years ago with my friend? Of course, that has sentimental value.
One of the items on my Summer 2016 Bucket List is to redecorate my childhood bedroom. Unfortunately, redecorating necessitates a thorough purging of all the crap I’ve managed to accumulate in 20 years. So, following the advice of Marie Kondo in her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I began to wade through the piles upon piles of random junk.
Marie Kondo recommends focusing on categories, so I started with clothes. At first I actually tried her method- picking up each article and deciding whether it produced a spark of joy. Soon, however, I became a clothes-separating machine. I ruthlessly threw out anything that I hadn’t worn in the past year (save a few fancy dresses), and forced myself to chuck any item that had a stain, rip, pull, or fray, no matter how much I loved the piece.
The end result was two garbage bags full of clothes that I never wore. And Marie Kondo was right- now I actually enjoy going into my closet and picking out what to wear, because I know that every single article in there is something that I love.
Next, drawers. I know this isn’t a category, but these things just really needed to be purged. I basically swept the entire contents of all the drawers in my room into a garbage bag. Old, goopy nail polish, a broken Nintendo DS car charger, a handbook from a high school Model UN conference, pens, tacks, old giftcards, a incomplete deck of cards- all of it unceremoniously tossed away. I ended up getting a bit carried away with my manic garbage bag spree- I accidentally tossed my Social Insurance card (but don’t worry I realized and snatched it back). Being able to actually use the drawers in my bedside table is a wonderful thing.
My day went on pretty much like this. I tackled my vanity, underneath my bed, the top shelves of my closet, and my bookcase. And I got rid of every single useless, non-joy-giving item.
As I dragged the six bursting garbage bags downstairs past my astonished mother, I felt a million times lighter. Who knew something so simple would make such a huge difference? I had been holding on to so much- letters from friends I’m not close to anymore, farewell cards from ex-coworkers, my name tag from my first sleep-away camp… I kept everything because I felt that these random knick knacks were sentimentally valuable. But I don’t care to re-read old letters and cards from people I don’t see anymore. My nametag from camp doesn’t spark a warm, nostalgic thrill. These things don’t have any meaning to me. They add nothing to my life but unnecessary clutter. And it felt amazing to let them go.
I came back upstairs and realized that there were still two very large items that were definitely not joy-giving. My ugly, princess-style vanity that I picked out when I was 10, and my too-big wooden bed.
So, the next logical step was getting rid of these too. Ignoring the stares of my confused and slightly worried parents, I shoved the vanity out into the hallway, dismantled the bed, and tossed the huge, uncooperative headboard that I have slept on for almost fifteen years out of my room. (Although I didn’t really toss it, because my parents would have aneurysms if I were to ruin an antique bed).
My room is now empty, save for two bedside tables and an armchair. Its a blank slate, and although I’m not really sure where I’m going to sleep tonight, it feels good knowing that I can fill it up with anything. The only things left are the items I actually love. And I feel lighter and happier because of it.
Stay tuned for Part 2- now that I’ve purged my room of everything negative I need to build up the positive. Read along as I try to paint and find furniture with a college-student budget (aka broke af).