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Hats Off    |    by
Column dedicated to sharing news about community activities, service projects, and other events that are important to the life of the residents of our "mountain."

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published on 05/25/2007

Hats Off….to Getting Rid of Clutter

By staff writer

The other day I decided to re-arrange a room (or two) in my house. In the process of making this decision I realized I was going to have to get rid of some furniture. But I absolutely hate parting with things – or at least I used to.

Human beings are by nature gatherers. We collect things for fun, for profit, for need or by accident. I add the last because somehow I ended up with much of the little knick-knacks that belonged to many of the women in my family that came before me. A vase, a demitasse cup and saucer, a plate or two isn’t too bad but multiply that by dozens and you get a lot of stuff.

And what about the hundreds of old pictures and negatives stored in shoeboxes and drawers around the house? Those in albums are one thing, but extra ones stacked up in closets, for what reason? Am I trying to at some level keep a mental inventory of everything I own? If so then my brain will surely go into over-load or crash not unlike my computer did.

With thoughts of over-load and frustrations of not having enough room to sit my family down to dinner in one room (thanks to downsizing), I felt prompted to make the necessary changes in our house. The first thing I did was to sit down and think out the whole process and the attitude I was going to take while making the changes.

While flipping channels on the television one Saturday, I lingered on the HGTV Channel about a family whose house was a terrible clutter. Their clutter made my clutter look insignificant. I watched as the couple took everything out of the rooms getting the “makeover” and place the items into three areas – keep, garage sale, or throw away. This is an old philosophy that is taught in management and life-skills classes all the time. But as I watched the program, I realized that it was not just the “stuff” this family was getting rid of, it was the emotional attachment to these things that they were letting go.

Remembering the sense of relief and peace that came over the family on the television show, I decided to approach my makeover with the same enthusiasm. When working I put on some great music so there is joy in the air; when I choose to give away something I place it in the box with the knowledge that it will have a good home and the local thrift shops will benefit from my donation; and when I throw something out, I acknowledge its usefulness and the fact that it has done a great job in the past, but no longer serves a purpose; (For example a candle that has burned down to an inch or so….).

The end result is that I will have uncluttered huge pieces of furniture, cleaned out a closet or two to make room for the new things to be stored, and used some creativity in balancing the space I have remaining in the other pieces of furniture. And I know the pieces of furniture I give away will be loved and treasured and used by another generation in our family.

I’d like to say that I have finished the project, but I confess I have not. Old habits are hard to get rid of and so it is taking me longer than I anticipated going through my clutter. And then there is the issue of me being a procrastinator….but that’s another story.