Friday, June 1, 2007

A Place For Everything...

Nature abhors a vacuum; and so does my house.

No, this isn't a rant about appliances (though that's a thought for the future. Where's that scrap of paper?). It's a rant about clutter.

I've had these rants before, but having spent most of yesterday decluttering the master bedroom, and facing the reality that I'm not done yet, I find it necessary to ask a few questions:
  • If we are facing an energy shortage, why do I receive enough catalogs in a six month time period to fill two small boxes?
  • If we've signed up to pay bills online, why are we still getting so many paper bills in the mail?
  • Why are two people who both have the incredibly bad habit of jotting important things down on scraps of paper and then leaving them on any surface that isn't already six inches deep in paper allowed, legally, to marry each other?
  • Why did those same two people buy a really great shredder to help with the whole decluttering process, only to discover that there isn't a clear surface anywhere in the room to put the darned thing?
I vaguely remember removing clutter from my house just before Christmas, so that instead of being cluttered with stacks of paper and miscellaneous toys my house could become cluttered with Christmas decorations and toys left under the tree by a jolly old elf who utterly fails to hear my plea for a pan-dimensional closet to be left in the living room along with all those toys. But between removing the "Ordinary Time" clutter and putting up the "Advent/Christmas" clutter, we never actually achieved a state of clutter-free existence.

And since Christmas things have gotten worse; I've made halfhearted attempts to clean things out, and actually got quite a bit done when my DH was home for a whole week, but somehow things kept piling up from that time to this, so that once again I'm making tidy little piles and putting more stuff in bags to be donated. The weirdest moments are when you decide to donate something you don't use, and the more you think about it, the more you have no memory at all of ever using the object in question, or even buying it, or being given it as a gift; it's as though spontaneous combustion is real, after all, and involves plastic serving trays and mismatched coffee mugs.

Now that the girls are just about done with school for the year (yay!) I'm finally starting to get a handle on things again, but it's definitely slow going. Still, there's a real sense of accomplishment in looking around as clear surfaces emerge again, and bookshelves stop looking like a frowsy housewife who opened the door in her stained housecoat, and you can see actual carpet in places where odds and ends have been stacked, waiting for a good going-through.

Simple tasks have simple rewards; but that's good. If the rewards were tangible I'd have to find a place to put them.

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