The inside of my fridge is a snapshot for the apocalypse.
There are jars and containers of foodstuff (as opposed to food) in there from five years ago, which have not grown mold – so they have not been discarded. I have no doubt, these are the things the lucky few (or unlucky few, depending on how you look at it) will be eating post-ka-blooey. True, a five-year-old jar of pesto may not be technically “bad” but it sure as hell is not good.
You know how in the classic novel, or most movies, the hero always rejects the first call to action? Well, in my case, I possess a far more stubborn nature than your typical hero. I’ve managed to ignore a good, solid dozen calls to action.
It’s not that I haven’t been able to recognize them for what they are, it’s that cleaning and tidying are not my bliss. And de-cluttering is, quite frankly, my nemesis. I was talking to a friend about this topic last week. I admitted I am a bit of a pack-rat. Her response was, “Oh, that’s such a cute word for it. Most people just use ‘hoarder.’”
Before your head fills with visions of me being crushed one day under mountains of National Geographic back-issues, let me assure you – it’s not that bad. But again, “not bad” sure as hell is not the same thing as good.
The same friend also suggested I buy The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Which, in the spirit of de-cluttering I downloaded instead of buying a physical (potentially clutter-making) paper copy. On page 52 good-intention-inertia set in. Which inside my head always sounds like “Yeah, this is good, I’ll do it later.” Call to action, unheeded.
Even the “hoarder” comment was not enough to get me to bite. Neither was my husband’s loaded question of “Did you put more stuff in my bathroom drawer?”
“Define ‘more stuff.’”
“More things which are not mine… in my drawer.”
“You use the the stuff in that drawer. They aren’t my Band-Aids, or my Q-Tips. That stuff is ours.”
“Oh, you’re right, honey, I must have forgot about that time I used our straightening iron to straighten my hair.” (He’s secretly a comedian, my husband.)
Equally not compelling was his request that since I’m working on my book, instead of working on design contracts, that maybe I could do more around the house. Nope, I completely duck-water-backed that one too.
Fast-forward to the morning paper. A lovely article on the latest life-style trend: leading a curated life. You know what I’m talking about. The stark-white backdrops, the precisely aligned coffee cups or lemons or what-have-you on re-purposed fir timber shelves. Everything is pretty, carefully chosen, and perfectly arranged. And I mean EVERYTHING. My life looks like that like my ass looks like it can twerk. As a glute-challenged, Scandinavian, pasty-white girl, that is to say, not remotely.
But I secretly want it.
And still, a deep-seated yearning for neat shelves and household-photo-ops was not enough to spur me into action.
Nope, not even that. It was that damn five-year-old jar of pesto. And my husband’s question of “Do you think this is still good?”
No. No I do not.
So, the pesto, two identical open jars of tomato paste, the last three baby gherkins, and some really nasty, what was once costly, organic cauliflower went into the compost bin. But I didn’t stop there. When I went to empty the dishwasher and put away everything, the little bits of shmutz that drift, over time, into the kitchen drawers suddenly and vociferously called to me to deal with them. I grabbed the vacuum cleaner and cleaning supplies and I tidied drawer after drawer.
It dawned on me – this is kind of satisfying.
I decided right then that even though cleaning, tidying and de-cluttering are not my bliss, that having a project, making things nice and telling a story are.
And just like that, Project: Get Your Sh!t Sorted was born.
You’ll have noticed that “curated” does not appear in the title. I figured I’ll start with the basics – walk first, then run, Grasshopper.
I did forget to take before and after photos of the drawers, but fear not, I have plenty more drawers to go through on my journey to unclutter. In the meantime, I may take a photo of strange things in my office for your visual entertainment.