Usually, whenever I declutter a space, I get the urge to purchase new things to replace the things that I’ve just moved out of my space. I tell myself “I need a new bin to hold these things,” or “It’s time for new curtains for this window.”
I planned to spend this weekend focusing on my novel. I’m in the home stretch of the first draft after over 2 years, and I’m so excited to finish the story and write “The End.” (Well, I’ve already written that, but it doesn’t sound poetic to write “The Middle.” Or “The End of the Middle.” Because that is what I’m working on.)
I didn’t do that. I’m not sure why besides the normal avoidance of hard work. I could blame it on the massive decluttering project that I started Saturday morning. It took on a life of its own and I became obsessed with it. And now it’s Sunday night and the work week looms before me and so there won’t be any writing. #amnotwriting
So anyway. I finally excavated Kyle’s room. He’s almost 12 years old, and he has accumulated a surprising amount of clutter. With his and Stewart’s help, I moved furniture, created space in the closet for his dresser, took almost all of his clutter out of the room, vacuumed and dusted, and pulled his bed linens and curtains out and washed them.
We realized he needed a real bookshelf instead of the wire organizer cubes I got at Target when he was a toddler to hold much lighter toys and stuffed animals. Now they hold heavy books, because like his mother and grandfather, he is a book lover.
I drove to a yard sale nearby and they didn’t have any bookshelves. I thought of ordering one from Ikea or swinging by Target to see what I could find. I surfed Craigslist for a few minutes because why add to the already overburdened world by buying a new one? And then I realized.
I have everything I need right here in my house.
In my office alone I have two bookshelves that don’t even hold that many books. In the closet: extra office supplies, papers that are “to be filed,” wires and gadgets and who knows what else? Next to my desk: sentimental tchotchkes, decorative boxes full of things. And some books.
So I asked Kyle to choose one for his room. He didn’t believe me at first, but I gave him his choice and he chose the nicer of the two, God bless him. So you know where this is going right?
I decluttered my office, too. I basically only took a break for Brady’s baseball game later in the day, and then I kept going when we got home, checking in on March Madness for some quick little breaks. I passed out around 9:15 PM, leaving a giant pile downstairs in the formal living room that was made up of garbage, donations, and things to put away. When I woke up this morning, I had my coffee and then tossed or put all of those things away.
Instead of buying new curtains I just washed the ones we have and put those back on his window. In the decluttering project I unearthed and freed up bins and baskets that I put to use elsewhere. I am proud that I didn’t have to buy anything to make the new organization workable. In fact, we have so much stuff that I suspect if we need something, we probably have just the thing, or a thing that can serve as just the thing, somewhere in this house.
Kyle is delighted with his roomier space. He rediscovered items he thought he had lost, or others that he had forgotten about. He tossed a lot of things that surprised me, and some that made me sad, but since I was trying to give him the power over his own things, I let him make those choices.
And my office is less cluttered now, too. I made sure to keep the items I use most within reach of my desk, and grouped like items together. I finally went through the giant pile of papers I was ignoring, and found that I could toss and ignore most of them. How funny that the monster I confronted wasn’t so scary after all.
I must have needed to declutter my mind, because now I’m exhausted, but my thoughts feel much more clear, and I feel my manuscript beckoning me. It was a weekend that I didn’t over-schedule myself or my kids, and I feel pretty good about how I chose to fill that time. We were all home and working together and enjoying each other and our home. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?