Mr. Mezzo and I spent last weekend playing tourist in Boston–a long weekend scheduled ostensibly to celebrate his birthday. In all honesty, that was just a convenient excuse to take a day off from work and enjoy the city sights without having to worry about T schedules or keeping a designated driver to get us safely home from the T station.
Our hotel room had a windowsill-sized balcony–seriously, I don’t think it was wide enough for me to close the door behind me when I stood out there. Perhaps because it wasn’t the kind of hotel balcony likely to get a lot of foot traffic, a small bird had built its nest under the corner of the balcony awning.
Back when I lived in the heart of Philly, I remember being constantly awestruck by the continued preponderance of nature and wildlife in that urban setting, and the unending creativity shown by these creatures in building their homes among the asphalt and concrete.
The epitome of blooming where one is planted.
I’ve been thinking of that the last couple days, because I’ve been trying to capitalize on the potential of the three-day weekend to do some nesting of my own.
More precisely, my weekend goal, as of Friday night, was to attack those last 12 or so unpacked boxes in the basement. And to deal with all the new clutter/mess that has accumulated in the house after several months’ neglect.
Results have been somewhat mixed. Yesterday morning’s errands took much longer than I’d expected, and these last boxes are really, really messy with lots of chaos and miscellany. Which makes each box kind of overwhelming to face, and makes the whole collection of them more intimidating, still.
So it remains an ongoing exercise in grit (or just in teeth-gritting) to keep dragging myself back into “unpacking central” to confront another few items. And I do. Keep dragging myself back, I mean. But it’s only been for a few items at a time.
When I was Costco after work on Friday, I also picked up a copy of the latest “it book” of the decluttering movement, Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Yes, I know there’s something deeply silly about acquiring Yet Another Book when the ultimate goal is to lessen the number of objects in my home. The silliness factor (and sense of possible futility) is only amplified if one were to consider the number of books about decluttering are already cluttering up the bookshelves.
(Sing it, Alanis!)
Oh well, desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess. Or this was one of those moments of me calling in the just-right bit of guidance or resources at the just-right time. (I’m hoping for the latter.) Even without having read the book yet, I looked over this report on the approach that a friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday,* and have been trying to use my own internal “joy barometer” to help me assess the objects I’ve pulled out of boxes.
It’s helping a little, using that gauge and trying to give myself permission to set aside things that don’t reach the “joy threshold” but have other tendrils of attachment (nostalgia, guilt, felt obligation). Obviously, the sheer randomness of what is in these last few boxes works 100% against Kondo’s advice to deal with all of one type of thing rather than one geographic area of the house. But the “one type of thing” most pressing on my conscience right now are “moving boxes in my basement filled with random shit,” so there!
Also, I did spend a good chunk of time today doing some unscheduled closet purging a la Kondo. I was folding and putting away laundry this morning, which prompted me to realize it was time to swap summer and winter clothes, and then I realized that while I was in the midst of the wardrobe, I could deal with it.
So, I think I’ve fully unpacked only 1 of the “dirty dozen” boxes, but I’ve filled almost 4 bags of clothes for Goodwill. So that counts for something, right?
We’ll see how much more I can get done tomorrow. Mr. Mezzo’s going out of town for a yoga retreat a few weeks from now, so I’m mulling over the possibility of taking one of those days off from work so I can have another 3-day weekend to work on this stuff.
Maybe by then I’ll have read this book and be able to make some real progress….
* See what I mean about the way I can sometimes call in just-right info when I need it?
Image credit: “clutter” by Flickr user Sean MacEntee. Unaltered. Licensed via a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
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