By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript
A few years ago, I wrote a couple of columns about how I’d decluttered my house and how good it was for the soul. I’d taken care of most of it. That pile of paper here was sorted. The pile of books there was either on a shelf or given away. The mountain of paperwork over yonder was filed, sorted and completely organized. The miscellaneous stuff strewn willy-nilly had found new homes either stored in a cupboard, given away or thrown out.
I felt unencumbered. I felt like standing in the middle of the street singing the theme song from that old movie, Born Free. And I was so smug about it, too.
You know those stories about a family going on vacation with their dog only to lose their pet and then the dog comes home two years later after walking across the continent? Well, all that junk walked across the continent and it’s back. I’m pretty sure some of it literally dug itself out of the dump and crawled back into my house when I was sleeping.
Actually, it wasn’t just a ‘few of years’ ago – it was more like seven years ago when I went on a major cleanup of the house. I was ruthless. Nothing was off limits unless it was nailed to the floor – and even then it had to be nailed down pretty hard.
So here I find myself seven years later having realized that it’s time to go on another junk-ridding spree. The unread books are stacked a mile high. My home office is a disaster of paper and files. And my dining room table? Well, I’m ready to have its photo put on milk cartons like a missing child because I haven’t seen it in a very long time. I know it’s there somewhere under all that junk piled on top of it.
How did this happen? I was so good for so long, but things just started to creep back in. When I don’t know where to put something, well, it just goes on the dining room table… or in the corner on top of something else. I need to take control again and go through the place with a flame thrower.
And don’t even ask me about my kitchen counters. With a sorry lack of storage space in the kitchen, the counters have become the depot for every small appliance I have, including the blender, coffee maker, coffee pods, mixer and a bunch of other things. I’m pretty sure there’s a family of possums living in the far corner of the counter. Do we even have possums in New Brunswick? I don’t think so, but if we did they’d probably be living in that cluttered nook that I can’t reach.
I own too much stuff. I think a lot of people probably empathize with that. I don’t plan on moving anytime soon, so doing a major triage is going to have to happen on purpose, not because I’m getting ready to move. Am I the only one who uses the largely unused dining room table as an open-air junk drawer? I would much rather see a nice, clean table that’s inviting. The thought of actually eating at my table is so foreign to me at this point that I can’t even fathom it. Somehow, it turned into a catch-all for stray stuff around the house.
I realize these are all first-world problems. ‘I have too much stuff. Oh woe is me!’ I shouldn’t be complaining, but having let my formerly organized kitchen – especially – get so far behind is maddening. I could kick myself. (I can see the line forming at my door now. ‘I’ll kick ya if ya want to get kicked!’ You’re all so kind.)
It’s time to commandeer some help here and hunker down and just do it. I’ll have to find a kind friend or two to help. In all fairness, it’s probably not bad as I think. If I tackle one room at a time, I could get most of it down in just a few evenings – dedicating one evening to each room, although the kitchen and office may take a bit longer.
Heck, if I don’t know what to do with half the stuff I need to get rid of, I’ll just store it for a few months – at least so I can stop feeling so smothered in clutter. Even the equivalent of a large walk-in closet would be fine – just to get it out of here.
The time has come and I’m getting pumped for another major cleanup. Sleep with one eye open, clutter.