Hump Day: Nothing is safe in house possessions purge!

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017
Exclusive online edition

Late last year, I wrote a couple of columns about getting rid of clutter. Good for the mind. Good for the soul. Must do it. Will do it. Promise.

Well, promise turned into “maybe” – which never came. The clutter continued to dominate my thoughts. There was so much of it. Office papers and files everywhere. A disastrous pantry. Kitchen cupboards full of stuff I’d dragged along with me for years. Clothes I hated 15 years ago and which were still there. A dining room table that had turned into a ‘junk drawer’ for unwanted stuff. Piles of read and unread books. CDs I’ll never listen to. DVDs I’ll never watch. One word: overwhelming!

If some of that sounds familiar, I feel your pain. Let’s not judge each other, OK? Do we have a deal?

Yes, I know we should tidy up as we go. And don’t get me wrong, some of us do! To you, I say, “Congratulations! I’m jealous!” For many others, though, myself included, we wake up one day after years of managing messes and piles of stuff only to discover that it’s not doing us much good. In fact, it’s driving us completely bonkers.

I would walk into other people’s tidy houses and seethe with admiration at how everything was in its place. Well, maybe not everything, but a good 90 per cent of everything. If you’d seen my house lately, that’s pretty good, actually! I would never bring a client over to my office. Just the thought of them seeing the international headquarters of Brian Cormier Worldwide Empire and Cat Hair Inc. would cause me great anxiety.

Indeed, it got to the point where I couldn’t stand it. It was affecting me. I bought an audiobook called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo. She has a very precise order of cleaning up. Now, to be honest, I didn’t exactly follow it faithfully, but just listening to the audiobook got me incredibly motivated.

Motivated? You tell me. In the past 10 days, I’ve discarded or recycled at least 30 bags of garbage. Keep in mind, this is from my office, bedroom, kitchen pantry, refrigerator and the deep freezer downstairs. Actually, a good friend told me that my deep freezer isn’t actually an appliance – it’s a tomb! Yes, he is accurate on that. Anything that goes into that freezer never comes out – including the three garbage bags full of containers of homemade soup I’d stored in there several years ago. My intentions were good. Don’t waste! My follow through, however, was lacking.

Tack onto those 30 bags of garbage: two trips (so far – there will be many more) to Habitat for Humanity’s Restore; a number of trips to Encorp Atlantic’s very convenient re-centre with a number of bottles that had accumulated in the basement, including a bunch of cardboard boxes and e-waste; six boxes of shredding; nine (yes nine!) boxes of books, CDs and DVDs; three garbage bags of used clothing to charity; and six grocery bags of unneeded canned goods from my pantry to the food bank.

I donated where I could. I recycled where I could. I threw things out if necessary. I was merciless. I was vicious. I was unkind. I was an emotionless decluttering zombie. Like the book said, if you don’t love it, toss it! Bye! That went, as well, for a number of household decorations which had served their purpose. My dining room table is now empty. Empty!! I can’t believe it!

This week, I just have to go through my kitchen cupboards and drawers which are chock full of gadgets, dishes, glassware and other stuff that will be culled back massively. Do I really need all that? I can only use one plate and glass at a time. And how did I end up with six bread pans? For the love of all that is holy, I don’t even bake bread!

Thirty years of accumulating stuff has caught up with me. My legendary (at least to me) 2007 purge was pretty impressive, but it will pale into comparison to this one. As the book convinced me, just simply buying more storage containers to stack on top of each other in an orderly fashion won’t solve the problem. That’s my 2007 purge in a nutshell. Much was discarded, yes, but also many storage containers were purchased. Wrong.

This time, I mean business. I’m no minimalist, but being able to walk around my house and feel good instead of cringing at the clutter is such a fantastic and liberating feeling. I don’t regret the effort for one second!

4 Responses to Hump Day: Nothing is safe in house possessions purge!

  1. Inspiring. I too have the same issues. Every time I think of de cluttering I get overwhelmed and nothing gets done. Hopefully I can get at it. Thanks Brian