Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Pursuit Continues

I have not abandoned my goal of achieving perfect happiness via well documented photo albums and Rubbermaid containers, I have simply allowed myself to become a bit sidetracked from time to time. The Zen bedroom is still the dream, though the path is a bit more windey than I imagined. I have rededicated myself to organizational nirvana (mainly because I quit smoking and this keeps me distracted). Taking a deep breath and going against my base instincts, I made the Sophie's Choice of housecleaning. I have disposed of ten years' worth of National Geographic magazines. I don't know why we are loath to get rid of these magazines in particular, I have no problem dumping Good Housekeeping or Newsweek, but something about NG stops me dead in my tracks. It seems so wrong to throw away, recycle, or otherwise reject these lovely, intelligent and so responsible pieces of current events. Deep breaths and rhythmic chanting got them into the recycling bins and off to the curb. No last minute waffling, no middle of the night rescues, they went and I felt only residual guilt. I did save all the maps, though. Small steps here, people!

The other items I struggle with throwing away or otherwise purging are books, keys (see early entries for reasons on keys), Christmas and birthday cards and dishes.

Books: There is something inherently wrong about throwing away books. We do everything in our power to avoid getting rid of them. The excuses are legitimate and wide ranging:
  • I'll read that one again.
  • I'm saving it for the kids.
  • It's a classic.
  • I loved it.
It's rather like pulling off a Band Aid, you gotta just grit your teeth, pull quickly and get it over with. There is no completely painless method, so you're going to have to man up and get the "Donate" boxes and the packing tape ready. It's best to do this in the company of a less passionate reader than you. My beloved is not a reader, so he's a good one. In exchange, I accompany him when it's time to get rid of useless tools, unknown electrical bits and non functional hardware.

We have already covered the key issue, never throw them because you will find you need them after the are rusting away in a landfill somewhere.

Christmas and Birthday cards, I have no idea why I always balk at throwing them away, even several months after the commemorated event.
  • The sender might stop by and see that their card is gone.
  • The sender put time and effort into picking the perfect card and I am obligated to appreciate that.
  • If I throw it away and the sender never sends me another one, I will have blithely tossed possibly their last written communication with me.
Last but not least, old sets of dishes. I have no earthly idea why I insist on keeping the previous set whenever I get a new set of dishes. I buy relatively inexpensive dishes because I like to switch up from time to time and not feeling like I'm wasting money. Plus, with the grace-impaired people that live in my house, cheap dishes and glassware are really the best idea. I have several partial sets of dishes packed carefully away in the basement, why I have no idea. But there they wait, someday, someone is going to want a set of dinnerware that's chipped and missing a soup bowl and two luncheon plates. When that day comes, I will be ready.

I have managed to get rid of a lot of stuff including:
  • the kids' baby tub (I think we're beyond needing it now)
  • 23 socks without mates (they're gone and not coming back and we have to accept it)
  • VHS tapes of Rugrats (I'll buy the DVDs if they ever come out)
  • 10 years worth of National Geographic (I had to go to confession afterward, and was absolved)
  • 5 decks of cards missing more than one card each (and none I could blend to complete one)
  • 4 board games with missing pieces (you can't really play mousetrap without the ladder or the cage part)
  • 37 items of clothing that no one in the house has worn in more than a year
  • a size 4T snowsuit (the youngest member of the household is now 11)
The fight continues, the Zen bedroom and organizational heaven are both possible...eventually. I will stay the course and fight the good fight and...oh look, new catalogs came in the mail today!