Posts Tagged ‘clutter-busting’

Naming your clutter makes it easier to get rid of

This little number has my name written all over it.

I’ve never said I wasn’t slow on the uptake. So now, after God knows how long after the entire world discovered it, I’m finally reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

Oh my, j’adore. I love that someone could –  did – take such a methodical, hyper-researched approach to boosting her day-to-day cheerfulness and gratitude.

And the fact that so much of it requires elbow grease and self-discipline is so telling. I’ve always suspected as much, which is why I’m fairly addicted to self-improvement. But I’m overjoyed to have the validation that color-coding your sock drawer is a way more effective route to lifting your mood than that second or third margarita.

Full disclosure: I tried the second-margarita approach to happiness last night, at our neighbors’ Halloween party. But quite smartly, I’d brought along several cans of Mercy hangover-prevention with us (in lieu of a bottle of wine or some other type of alcohol-laced hostess gift), so I’m not feeling too down for the count today. Those 10,000 milligrams of B vitamins really work.

But back to the book.

I’m only on “January,” but I am completely digging it. It’s all about the steps the author took to hike up her energy levels, and one of the chief ways she did that was to clean and organize. Oooh, music to Momover Lady’s ears.

I’m impressed with the way Rubin labels the particular clutter in her life, and, in so doing, makes it damn near impossible to let it stick around. Some of it’s self-explanatory. Nostalgic Clutter, for instance, is carryover from ancient projects and previous lives, and Rubin cites a massive box of materials from a seminar she’d taught ages ago as an example.

In my case, I have clips of magazine articles I wrote literally 15 years ago that I’m still hanging on to. Insanity. Move on, little doggie…

But I was most impressed by a few new clutter categories Rubin identified for herself – and, by extension, so many of her readers. Like Crutch Clutter, which includes all the depressingly shitty clothes we let clog up our drawers. Recently, I’ve been zeroing in on all my less-than-stellar sleepwear. Why should I subject poor Hubby to that? So at least three times this week, I’ve taken something off my bod in the morning and tossed it right in the trash.

One pocket of gizmos and gew gaws – Aspirational Clutter – has always been my weakness. This is the stuff we hoard in the hopes that we’ll actually use it some day. For Rubin, it was a glue gun she never learned how to operate. For me, I think it might be the still-in-its-box, state-of-the-art food processor we got as a wedding present. In 2004. (Update: Oops, I got hitched in 2003. How time flies when you’re having fun!)

But then again, I only really started cooking about five minutes ago. So maybe I’ll eventually get around to using that food processor. See? See how I rationalize my Aspirational Clutter?

The only thing I can say in my defense is that I’ve recently resurrected several crafts projects – namely knitting and potholder making – that I’d let languish for years. And I now have several groovy new scarves and a tidy little pile of festive potholders to thank for my minor hoarding.

But I’m sure there’s a middle ground between extreme order and a secret stash of Aspirational Clutter. And I can’t wait to keep reading and find out.


It’s official: I’m the biggest mama-geek on the planet

Is the best use of my time? Really?

Recently, how much have I been whinging about not having any free time? A lot, right? Like non-stop?

[Sidebar: Don’t you love “whinge”? I think it must be a Brit-speak mashup of “whine” and “cringe.” Because whenever I hear myself whining about my manufactured Barbie Problems – when there is so much freaking misery in the world – I cringe along with everyone else within earshot…]

So yesterday, on my first day in about five weeks of not having to do drop-off and haul myself straight into the city for work, you’d think I’d kick back a little, right? WRONG! Yes I stopped for yummy pancakes on my way back to Casa Us, but once I arrived, I dove into a list of chores as long as the Mississippi.

Many of them were household-oriented, including ironing and starching my sheets. In one of my massive stacks of mags, I’d read this great tip about bringing your fresh-from-the-dryer 500-thread-counts to the cleaners and having them pressed.

Since I’m obsessed with hotels, and that whole crispy-crisp sheet thing, why didn’t I just do that? There’s a drycleaner literally in the bottom of our condo complex. No, I figured I’d attempt it myself – on the measly half-board that’s part of a California Closets built-in in the Wee Lass’s playspace. I can assure you, sheet-wrangling on a toy-sized ironing board is a tougher workout than P90X.

Later, I continued my geek-streak at the annual spring fund-raising auction for the Wee Lass’s school. Amid all these great prizes – harbor cruises, weeks at the Shore, dinner for two at Le Cirque – what did I bid on and buy? A three-hour house-cleaning and a private consultation with a clutter-buster.

Anyone with even a passing acquaintance with Momover Lady knows I’m counting the seconds until the all-powerful Clutter-Buster darkens my doorway. I have an even bigger fixation with organizing than I do with crispy-clean sheets.

I think it’s my way of tricking myself into believing that I have some degree of control over the chaos of modern life. In fact, I know it is.