Finding joy in decluttering
Updated: May 27, 2012 8:12AM
My room is overflowing with stuff. Both things I’d only acquired a week ago (an orange purse) and things I can’t remember a time without (my quilt and glowworm) lay all over.
And whether you find messy rooms cozy or hard to breathe in, there is no denying that I am a Pak Rat. You may not think that there is any rhyme or reason to who gets the Pak Rat habit, but I think there is. Looking around my room, I can tell you a story about practically everything I own.
The Raggedy Ann vase on my desk I got on my birthday from a great friend, the exotic salt shakers on my shelf remind me of my grandparents, and how when my grandpa answered the phone (he didn’t say hi, he said “Hey, Aunna!”). The weird plastic mask on my wall was from second-grade passports and the day I got paint all over my face when I put it on wet. I could go on, but my point is that I am not a Pak Rat because I love the stuff, but because I love the memories that go with the stuff.
If being a Pak Rat were a good thing, I wouldn’t care a bit about the ridiculous amount of junk in my room. Unfortunately though, the excessive clutter causes all kinds of problems. It’s hard to clean my room because I have too much to put away, and even when it’s clean you can only sometimes find what you need. And of course, the mounds of stuff makes it hard to walk, use my desk, start a project, even think and sleep because you are always short on space and overwhelmed.
So last year I made the decision to get rid of 100 things, which may not seem like a big deal to a naturally tidy person, but made a difference in my space. I had the most trouble getting started, because unless you want to start the decluttering, you’ll just end up with lots of reasons to keep your stuff and nothing in the Goodwill bag. However, the benefits are immense: more space, less time cleaning up, and knowing that someone else really loves the junk that had been crammed under your bed for two years.
Perhaps the best example of this was the devastation and fury I felt at age 6, when my mom insisted I give away my beloved, but outgrown, Powerpuff girl pajamas. Moving forward to last winter, I was babysitting two little girls down the block. As we trouped upstairs, the older one was telling me all about the great clothes Kellie-Across-The-Street gave her. And there, lying on her bed were my old Powerpuff girl pajamas!
Everyone’s has always told me that it’s not stuff that makes people happy, and right now, it’s just the opposite. I find more joy getting rid of stuff then I do getting new things. I know I’ll be decluttering a long, long time, but as I bid you goodbye, I wish you all a happy decluttering.
of Western Springs is a
high school freshman.