Hump Day: Long-expired medicine means it’s time to declutter again!

Hump Day 2 croppedHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016
Moncton Times & Transcript

In 2007, I wrote a number of columns extolling the virtues of decluttering one’s home. At the time, I’d just gone through a massive purge of stuff I no longer used or needed.

I was ruthless – maybe a bit too ruthless – but once I started, it was like a freight train going down the tracks. I could not easily be stopped. I would literally go through rooms with a garbage bag and not stop until it was filled.

I gloated. I told everyone how good it felt. If I went to your house and saw a piece of scrap paper lying around, I’d roll my eyes and lecture you on how clutter was destroying your life. To make it even more annoying, I’d lecture you using a fake British accent. I was unbearable in my snootiness – even more than usual.

Fast-forward nine years later to 2016. Little by little, the clutter has returned. After so many years, I guess it was inevitable, especially with my terrible habit of not reading books that I’ve purchased and my addiction to kitchen gadgets that get used only once and then tossed aside because they haven’t changed my life like I thought they would. To my credit, there are few hard-copy books coming into the house these days now that I’ve owned an e-reader for a couple of years.

Any books – read or unread – now reside next to my bed on my trusty Kindle device which gets opened every night when I read before falling asleep. Sure, I still buy some books that never get read, but at least they’re not contributing to the physical clutter since they’re electronic. For now, however, my nightstand remains a graveyard for hard-copy books which have never been read. There are three stacks teetering on the edge of collapse – one of which is more than two feet high. When the decluttering happens, those stacks will be the first to go.

Unless you’ve successfully kept up with the clutter over the years, I suppose it’s inevitable that things will accumulate after nearly a decade. If you’re a minimalist who’s rejected materialism, it would be easy to stop the growing mounds of stuff, however I don’t fall into that category.

clutter deskThe truly tragic area of the house is my office. There are files, boxes, books, piles of paper and just miscellaneous stuff in every nook and cranny. And as any office does over a number of years, old office equipment is stacked up here and there after it’s replaced. I always mean to sell it or give it away. I never seem to get around to it.

As it stands now, I must put aside my snooty fake British accent when admonishing others for the clutter in their homes. I feel a bit like an addict who fell off the wagon. Maybe I’m not a candidate for that TV show Hoarders, but give it another 10 years. At least I’d probably get professionals into the house via the show’s producers to clean the place up for free, eh? That’s an idea.

While I didn’t think things had gotten that bad, my ego was dealt a blow last week when I was rooting around my dresser for something when I found a bottle of some elixir meant to cure an upset stomach. For the heck of it, I checked the expiry date. June 2006. Yes… nearly 10 years ago. When you find stuff that expired a decade ago, you start to think that maybe you have a problem. Clearly, the time to purge has come again.

Every corner of the house – at least the upstairs for now – will have to be decluttered sector by sector in a methodical pattern. Closet by closet, drawer by drawer, room by room, I will fly in like a stealth bomber armed with a garbage bag and a few empty boxes. For my sanity, it must happen.

To my friends, I look forward to seeing you all again soon so that I can once again point out the untidiness of your homes and the useless objects strewn hither and yon. I’ll have to enjoy it while I can, because 10 years from now I’ll most likely have to hang my head in shame after the clutter returns and I must once again find the courage to purge.

Until then, though, I’ll have to speak in my normal, shameful Canadian accent since I’ve now returned to live among mere mortals whose clutter-filled lives lack meaning. I look forward to the glorious day soon when I earn back the right to use my snooty fake English accent.

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