Clearing the Clutter

I am a self-declared “pack-rat” with a vast book collection, a vinyl record collection, and an assortment of stuff filling up my small 2 bedroom apartment.  Luckily I’m in a great place with tons of storage but the problem with having so much storage is my pack-rat tendencies can run wild.

Clutter out in the open sends my anxiety into overdrive but if I can tuck stuff away into a closet, “out of sight, out of mind” mentality sets in and that’s when mess begins to accumulate.  The problem right now is my impending move because even though I do not know where I’m going I know I need to downsize.  Even if I don’t need to downsize I don’t want to move junk so I’m trying to take 15 years worth of stuff and condense, which is some days easier said than done.

I’m a crafty person and sometimes I see something that inspires me…just not right at that moment, so I tuck the item away for another day.  Problem is when that day never arrives and I end up with shelves full of junk waiting to be made into something amazing so this last week I cleaned out old coffee containers, a giant bag full of magazines, random boxes, scraps of paper, etc.  If I didn’t have something in mind for it right when I saw it I had to let it go.

I was hanging onto piles of clothes for any variety of reason, mostly someone bought it for me, it was my favorite article of clothing 8 years ago, or I’ll wear it when I lose weight.  I finally snapped into reality and let go of most of my excuses.  I was associating many of my clothes with times in my life, as if wearing those clothes would take me back in time but I finally realized I needed to move forward.  I allowed myself to keep a small box of t-shirts, jeans, and my prom dress just because but I revisit my closet every couple weeks to see what else can go.

Downsizing is challenging because we can develop such sentimental attachment to stuff and rationalize the reasons for keeping everything.  I have to work when the mood strikes, some days I’m ready to drive all my stuff to the Goodwill, other days I want to keep every last paper clip in my apartment, finding a day in between these moods is ideal but rare.

One of my methods to help maintain momentum on my cleaning out project is setting a weekly donation appointment in my phone and keeping a box or two on hand to fill during the week.  I tackle small areas, working on organizing along the way, sorting what needs to go either in the trash or to another good home.

I’m not willing to give up any of my books (I tried) or my vinyl record collection but I’m really trying to scale down and keep only things I actually need, want, or use.  Sometimes I have to remind myself of the reason behind this major clean up. Cleaning out my apartment is just another step in making changes and helping clear out both the physical and mental roadblocks holding me back.


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