Monday, February 26, 2018


At the risk of sounding oh so repetitive, I have been struggling ever so much.  There is just ... too much ... to endure right now.  As a result, I think, I have been on a bit of a tear around my house doing what I think might be best termed "micro-organizing/downsizing."

For several years now, I have been working on down-sizing my stuff.  In doing so, I discovered, as I have written before, the value of visual rest to me.  Chaos distresses me, and that includes the chaos of mess and the chaos of clutter.  When things are neat and straight and less, I am calmer.

Every night, before I got to bed, the last thing I do is straighten up the first floor.  I used to try have all the dishes done from the day, but I am, more and more often, too weary or too ill to do so.  When that is the case, I work to at least stack the dishes in the sink and clean the counters.  If dishes are still drying throughout the night, I put them away on one of my trips to fetch ice packs, so when I start my day, eventually, I start with a clean slate in the kitchen and elsewhere.

If you have less stuff, it is easier to straighten up.
If you have less stuff, it is easier to maintain a visually restful environment.
If you have less stuff, it is easier to achieve "a place for everything and everything in its place."

Distressed beyond words or even sensibility, I cleaned out a drawer and two small antique wooden boxes.  I've been through them before, but, over time, all organization and down-sizing needs to be repeated.  I've also not been at thorough as I could be, not carefully looking at every single thing in those locations.  I did that, finding things that had been given places since my last time round in this process.

One of the things that I found were business cards.  I seemed to have accumulated stashes of business cards in several locations instead of in one "place."  I collected them all together and put them into a binder that I had in the basement, one with business card holder pages.  But I also went through the pages I already had and organized them.  I came up with seven categories and created title pages for each, which I color-coded and then put into top-loading sheet protectors as dividers.  Since then, when I've discovered a business card that I wanted to keep, I've had a place to put it.

Since then, too, every time I've started to become overwhelmed with distress, if possible, I've looked for something to micro-organize/downsize.

I've also been tending to things put off.  For example, I've found three things long in need of gluing.  Is it even possible to use superglue without gluing your fingers together?  I have replaced batteries.  I have added labels.  And I have needed to do some sewing, especially on a pair of bike shorts that I wear when torturing myself on the treadmill for a few weeks now.  I also have had a scrunchie that needed sewing years ago.  Now it is tended to as well.

Of course, sewing meant that I took the opportunity to clean out my grandmother's sewing kit, something I've never done.  There was so much ... debris ... in the bottom of it.  However, I now have it all organized and clean and have a place for everything in it.

I've been through the bathroom cabinet and the two glove drawers (which I use for other things) on my grandmother's dresser.  I've cleaned out the top drawer in the servant's closet, which meant that I also fetched a few things that were out of place elsewhere and put them where they belong.

It is hard to really explain, but life has been a bit ... slower ... because I keep pausing whatever I am doing to put things in their place or to downsize or both.  Or I am tended to things long neglected.

When organizing, it is far too easy to have things that you simply leave in place for no other reason that you have no idea what to do with them. I would argue that that is a good practice.  You do not want to have anything stopping you from getting started or from finishing.  Only it is good practice to eventually get to the things that you skipped the first, second, or even third time round.  Gosh, I think I might be on my fifth or sixth time through my house, but I am actually thankful to have such organizing and downsizing labor for me, even if it is one thing in each place.

I often think of my dear friend Becky going through my house after I have died, for I very much intended to die here.  I think of her having to decide what to do with my stuff and want that process to be as easy as possible.  Sure, I am most certain she shall snicker at what she finds, but I am confident that were she to go looking for something whilst she is here, that Becky would be able to find it.  I have tried to be logical, for the most part, about my places. And I have also, in each peeling off the layer the proverbial onion that is organizing/downsizing, found stuff that I realized I no longer need.  Or is it want?  The line between needs and wants seem to get blurred when it comes to examining our stuff.

Mostly, I figure she'll gather up all my clothes, bedding, toweling, kitchen items, food, and office supplies and donate them.  And, hopefully, do the same with my books.  She'll toss out all my dissertation stuff that I just haven't been able to toss myself.  And, I figure, toss out all the stuff in my utility closet and garage, other than what can be donated there.

Then there are all my ... stuff ... that is merely decorative, such as my vintage camera collection, the small mementoes from my few travels, the bits and pieces of family history, my rocks and minerals collection, etc.  You know, the stuff that fills the void of memory for me and serves as reminders of memory for most folk.  In close knit families, there would be loved ones who might want those things, but in our isolated, fragmented family, there is little anyone would want.  Mostly, there are a few pieces of furniture and my father's clock that my sister would like.  Also, she would like the pieces of jewelry that are from my family.

It is hard, for me, to think that I have no one to pass on to the things that have meaning to me.  No one who will cherish the antiques I have the way that I have, who will appreciate their history and think of the lives they have ... witnessed, if you will.  SIGH.

Alas, I should not think of this, for it is just more distress upon me, adds to my loneliness.  What soothes me is that, in the past few weeks, my home has become more organized and less.  It is a splendid thing when even opening a drawer provides you visual rest!

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