A pile exists in the corner of the room that makes me feel a certain way. I know it’s there, but I have to ignore it at the moment. It’s part of my home life, my realm, my to do list. I’m fine with turning a blind eye to it now because I’m currently focused on something else. However, I am fully aware that it will not magically relocate or disappear at any point within the next few hours. This pile accumulated thanks to my effort to just clear a space for some other grouping of objects that were more important at the time.
The pile includes crafting ribbons, greeting cards, tissue paper, plastic wrap from a “surprise toy” and a pair of size 18 month baby shorts that may be fresh out of the dryer 3 days ago or may have been worn for 1.5 days. Same difference? If I push my peripheral vision any further, I will find another pile of unresolved daily life from 5 days ago. I think the other pile is in a bag of some kind. I hope there isn’t any forgotten food waste in that one. These burbs have a mouse population that is no joke. I also spotted a few scout ants not too long ago.
The piles are open time capsules that chronicle what I was focusing on until the next event occurred. Maybe the pile-ups are really evidence of some lack of focus.
Whether I have the focus or not, I am the superintendent of all inanimate objects in my house, my car, my classroom. I show them the way in, I assign them to spaces and bins, I pack them into backpacks and vehicles, and I give them the boot when I’ve had enough. I also guide the people in my house to said objects. For example, “Have you seen the (fill in the blank)?”. The answer usually includes some multi-step directions on how to access the all important thing that is located in the corner on the floor by the foot of the couch. It’s been there for a few days. No one picked it up. But I knew just where to find it. If someone is lucky enough, the location of an important item will be amidst one of the time capsule piles.
Friends and colleagues often tell me that my home and classroom are so neat and organized. Sure, there is usually a nice simple system in place that keeps floor, counter, and work spaces clear. I make a conscious effort so that piles don’t get too out of control, and the living and work spaces are safe and clean. SOMETIMES I get into organization systems that involve fun bins and containers if time and attention span allow.
I feel that I’m not being completely honest with myself or those who compliment my organization skills. I majorly shove things in drawers and cabinets. I use empty Amazon Prime boxes as “sort it out later” containers. I get angry at drawers and cabinets that become too stuffed because of that one extra pair of scissors. It got jammed and now prevents the drawer from opening.
My snail mail pile is now some kind of sick and twisted gift to myself because I threw it all into a previously used gift bag. Happy birthday to me. I get to spend time sorting, recycling, and shredding a bunch of tree-killing nonsense.
I have too many different types of sunglasses because I like to have cheap, stylish options, but I end up leaving them in different spaces and purses. Therefore, sometimes on a blindingly sunny early morning in the car, I am squinting across the freeway significantly under the speed limit because I don’t have a pair of sunglasses with me.
A goal setting storm is brewing.
My heart is full. I am honored to be connected to people who I love and who genuinely love me back. Everyday I’m living through experiences that I value and that I archive into the Fond Memories file in my brain.
Yet, everyday I am rifling through piles and bags and (garbage?) trying to find the one thing that will supposedly make the next few hours on the schedule even better. Not everyone in the family needs 3 different kinds of drinking vessels for the day. Maybe it’s also time to revisit the collection of hotel keycards that I have accumulated over the last decade or so. What about the Ziploc bags full of inactive writing utensils from previous school years? It’s time to let them go.
In an effort to enjoy even more time with the people who matter to me, and less time bargain-hunting, rummaging, organizing, spending money that I don’t have, and having a meltdown over the contents of a shelf, I am now on a mission to seek success with less.
My next series of posts will document the journey as I give the big send off to the stuff in my house that is nonsensical and “hella extra”. Did I use that phrase properly?
- Acknowledgement: I’m fortunate to have a lot in my life. Managing the inanimate means less time with the people and the experiences that matter.
- Goal for the Future: I’m hoping to post Instaworthy photos of the things that do not serve me anymore, and say goodbye. Big goals include saving money, earning time, and reducing my carbon footprint.
- Now: It’s 7:00 a.m. and I’m wide awake, but feeling dehydrated. H20 here I come. I’ll stick with using just one vessel today.
Extra Credit Question: How do you control the extra, and try to live life with less?
■ Elementary Educator for Equity & Cultural Responsibility
■ Collector of Small Moments & Thrifty Finds
■ Wife & Mother
■ Bay Area, CA