Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mid Semester Mess

Piles of mess dominant my living space. 

On my desk, tables, garage, hiding in closets and even on the floor...stuff is piled up. A collage of papers, lesson plans and folders marked, "Pending, Pending Action Now, Important" are stacked in piles calling for my periodic review.

All the mess in our house has nowhere else to go. It can’t be cleaned out and is waiting to be recycled to other homes. Donation gifts for our charity donors, decorations needed for our fundraiser, papers that will ultimately go in a large plastic bag for the end of my academic career beach bonfire. Even the "dress up" school clothes in my closet must wait until May before going to the donation bin.

The overcrowded tables, closets, floors and desk and garage piles are playing tricks with my mind, I feel like mess. I absolutely hate clutter in my living space, it makes me feel bogged down, heavy, out of balance. 

Feng shui, I read teaches that clutter in the home causes depression and fatigue.  According to this ancient Chinese philosophy, any items that don’t belong on the floor will bring low and sad energy and if you want to boost your mood, move stuff off the floor. Yikes, no wonder I have been feeling stressed lately, there is a direct link between my mess and my mood.

In a world of pack rats and purgers, everyone that knows me would say I fall in the second category. My home décor is minimalist and I do my best to donate clothes, household items and just about anything that I don’t use on a regular basis. Two weeks after our nuptials, I recycled my wedding dress to the Goodwill. No need to hold onto material items if they have no future value. Some of my friends thought donating my dress was extreme, but I don't hold unto stuff just for sentimental value (most stuff anyway). I'll admit that in the attic I have a box of my old journal books and of these days I'll get around to purging that stuff, too.

William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Psychological attachment to stuff can be very strong, but I don't seem to have that gene. After my Dad died 12 years ago, I kept one item that was his, a red plaid flannel shirt that still hangs in my closet. I can honor my father's memory without keeping his things.

When I leave this world, I would like to exit with my personal possessions down to the bare minimum, like my friend Judy M. When she knew that she would not win her battle with cancer, Judy cleaned up her home and office and left town to live out her last days in another state. When her husband returned after Judy's passing he found only two brown papers bags in her closet. The bags were marked Goodwill; Judy had purged everything else.

The sheer volume of stuff in my living space right now is making me feel stuck. Somehow, I must manage to live with this cluttered chaos for a few more weeks. I also must remember what inspired all this mess in the first place. The clutter is a direct result of my charity work and assuming responsibility to host a fundraising event at our house. All the piles of stuff are for entertaining our donors and supporters and to recycle into donation dollars. Soon all the stuff will be distributed else where. 

In the meantime,  as a method of coping, I've decided to create two de clutter zones in the house.  In these rooms I will enjoy my welcomed order,  an oasis where no stuff is piled and the the space  is clear and the chi flows freely. 

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