This is the perfect time to write about this topic, because I’m at my parents’ house in North Carolina, procrastinating going through some of my old stuff to determine what can be gotten rid of and what I want to take back to LA with me. It’s hard, because I desperately want to lead a clutter-free life, but then I discover things like the costume bin, with my old purple poodle skirt from 5th grade, which still fits, because my genius mother gave it an elastic waistband; a sensational 70s outfit; and the old purple crayon costume, which my mom made for my sister when she was in about 3rd grade, and which I later inherited. At some point, as I grew and the costume did not, it went from head-to-toe round crayon costume to short, tight, sexy crayon costume. And if you can think of anything sexier than a crayon, I’d like to hear about it.
So, what I’m saying is, it’s all going in the suitcase.
I have a weird relationship with clutter. I grew up among a lot of it. Not to go into too much detail, but there is a pack-rat lurking in my household, and when I was little, I was never made to get rid of anything. So I didn’t. Then I went to college, and since I only brought what I needed, a whole new world was opened up to me. A world in which it was easy to keep my room clean! It was clean, and spacious, and I had plenty of room to breathe. That began an insatiable desire to eradicate all clutter in my life. However, like most things, it’s easier said than done. It’s still hard for me to tell what I need and what I don’t. And I get attached to things (see: purple towels). And I kind of believe that anything with a face has feelings, and also, that some inanimate objects have feelings (see again: purple towels). So I want to make sure things get good homes and are appreciated.
It’s also complicated because of this:
My need to eradicate clutter extends beyond my personal space. It extends beyond my house and my parents’ house and my friends and family’s houses to the entire earth. Just knowing that any clutter exists anywhere stresses me out. I wish people would just stop making things. I get stressed going into stores, especially big ones with tons of stuff in them, because it’s all new stuff. Where is it going to go eventually? One day, are we going to drown in stuff? Will we send it out to space and clutter up the universe? It’s like, no matter how un-cluttered I am eventually able to get my space, there is no real escape from it. It’s everywhere. Why are people still making new things? So many things! So many cluttery, useless things! Have you ever been to a Big Lots???? Aaaaaaaaugh!!! And trash!!! Plastic going into the trash!!! And that’s not even getting into the clutter on my computer, or cyber-clutter (I would rather have fewer Facebook friends, because the ones I don’t really know… clutter.) And of course, mental clutter.
So, that makes things complicated. I can’t just get rid of something without thinking about where it’s going. don’t want to throw things away and let them clutter up a landfill. I don’t even want to clutter up Goodwill. I just want to wave a magic wand and make things spontaneously combust. I guess I could burn them, but I don’t want to cause pollution and toxic gases; that’s hardly going to solve anything.
Stress is probably a form of clutter, too, right? It’s a vicious cycle. A vicious, cluttered, cycle of clutter.
If I were Cathy from the Sunday comics section, I’d have little beads of sweat around my face, and I’d be saying, “Ack!”