I’ve always wanted to be a tidy, organized person.  I hope my mom doesn’t read that, she has often informed me of my slobbish habits and could never believe I don’t enjoy clutter.  She would probably die from laughter.  But periodically I get the urge to organize, and I spend all my free time organizing until I’m done.  And then it goes to pot, until my next frenzied attempts to get all my stuff into some kind of order.  Lately I have been really wanting to get my house organized, because now I am a wife and part of being a wife (in my non-politically correct opinion, anyway) is creating a comfortable atmosphere at home – which can’t really happen amidst piles of papers and books, no matter how much I love them.

But this time I want it to be different.  This time I want it to last.  And the only way to do that is to get rid of stuff.  FlyLady says you can’t organize clutter, and it’s true.  So I have set about the daunting task…and have come to realize that I have a lot of stuff.  Worse, I love my stuff.  I get emotionally attached to it.  Little trinkets that someone gave me when I was 8 become a symbol of their love for me – I can’t throw it out!  It will hurt so-and-so’s feelings if I get rid of that whatchamacallit they gave me years back, because they will think I don’t appreciate their gift!  When I was little I couldn’t bear to get rid of any of my stuffed animals because it would hurt their feelings.  I knew in my head that they were inanimate objects but in my heart, I felt I was betraying their trust.  (I admit I still have a few special ones hidden at my parents’ house.)  My mom got me new pajamas, lovely soft ones, when I had chicken pox, because I had a horrible case of them and everything else was torture.  (I am not exaggerating.  I had them EVERYWHERE, including internally – under eyelids, in my throat, and other places it would be horrible to have chicken pox and inappropriate to discuss on the internet.)  I kept those pajamas as long as I possibly could…getting rid of them, even after I’d long outgrown them, was heartwrenching.

Why do I love my stuff so much?  I wouldn’t even really describe myself as materialistic – I’m not trendy, I don’t drool over cute shoes, I hate shopping.  But the stuff I already own…different story.  I have tons of papers I will probably never get to read – but they have information on them, I loooooove information.  And I might need to know those facts someday!  I have scraps of various materials, because what if I ever become crafty?  Never mind that I have had nary a crafty day in my life.  I have more clothes than I can wear, because oh!  That one has been a trusty, faithful shirt since I was 10 (I am not joking) and I looooove it!  This one is so soft, I loooove it!  I haven’t worn this in ages, but Mom made it for me and you just don’t get rid of things like that!  I have 4 coats and a bunch of sweaters, even though I live in Texas, because it actually gets cold once every 10 years and I would hate to go buy sweaters when I have perfectly good ones right here, wouldn’t it be just awful to waste money like that?

What?!  How can you be emotionally attached to ITEMS, which don’t even have emotions?  But getting rid of them makes me feel like I’m getting rid of part of myself, or getting rid of whoever gave it to me.  I don’t even know where I learned to think like that; my mom is the least sentimental person I know.  I would have no remnants of my childhood if an aunt hadn’t salvaged them from the Goodwill sack and stored them for me.

So, I begin a process of reform.  I’m trying to follow FlyLady’s system, which involves slowly building cleaning/decluttering routines into your life, and using little 15-minute increments to get things done.  This is good for me.  I was taught if you’re going to do something, you should do it right – so I put off doing something because I don’t have the time to completely declutter my house, or deep clean every square inch all at once.  But I have already found that I get a lot more done when I use those extra minutes on my lunch break or on the phone to be constructive around the house rather than sitting on my bum.  I just keep reminding myself that I didn’t accumulate all this in one day, so it’s ok if it takes longer than one day to clear it all out.

But I’m not getting rid of any books.  I draw the line there.