Thursday, February 16, 2012

MONSTERS IN THE CLOSET

"Out of clutter, find simplicity." ~Albert Einstein

I grew up in a home that lent itself well to the imagination. Because of the sloping property it was built on, our home had four stories with three full flights of stairs. The places to play seemed limitless. Hide and seek took on new meaning at our house. A large closet on the second floor became a mansion for my collection of Barbie dolls ~ it had rooms and furnishings that my home today cannot compete with!

The features that made play so enriching had a down-side though, especially at night. When I was a little girl, I remember feeling with absolute certainty that there was something horrific that lurked in my closet and under my bed. I insisted that my mom open the accordian doors on the closet all the way and check behind every garment and box of toys to ensure that I was safe. My mom humored me time after time, peeking through my entire closet and getting on her knees to check under my bed so she could reassure me that there was no evil presence that would snatch me up as soon as she left my room.

Today I use my imagination in a more productive, healthy way through my writing. But I confess that I still have monsters hidden in our closets...under our beds...and in every cupboard and drawer. They are named "chaos", "clutter", "disorganization", and "accumulated stuff".

I can put up a good front. Outward appearances suggest that I have it all together in this area. But the places in our home that you don't see unless you do some investigative work are strong evidence that I live under the adage, "Out of sight, out of mind". What's the big deal? There isn't one, really. Except that I now face the daunting task of sorting through every single item we possess and decide whether to toss it, give it away, or hold onto it. The things I keep will be organized with like items, ready for a pending move in the coming months. That thought makes it easier to embrace the first two options ~ tossing and giving away.

How did I get to this place of disorder? Perhaps because it is easier to stuff things away out of sight than it is to deal with them head on. Honestly, I am quite good at stuffing, and not just things. I used to be quite proficient at stuffing my feelings... my opinions... my wishes. Over time I learned it doesn't pay to stuff them away and forget about them. They only accumulate until you reach the point where you are forced to confront and deal with them. Now I am learning this lesson on a more tangible level. Every item that is being held hostage in a closet or cupboard or drawer is being set free. Whether it remains in our company, moves on to another household, or lines our trash can is up to me. It's a little funny but true ~ everything I release through this process will inevitably free me up, too. With that thought in mind, I say a hearty farewell and good riddance to the stuff that I have been stuffing for too long.

"You can't have everything...where would you put it?" ~Steven Wright

 "The more things you own, the more they own you." ~Author Unknown   
          

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