Thursday, March 3, 2011

February (et al) Declutter Update

I started following along on the Declutter Challenge last, um, year, at Amy's Finer Things. I was hoping to make it to 730 ft cubed exported in 2010. I made it to 113.8, 15.6% before I was distracted by shiny things the rest of the year.

So, I was happy to see that Nony at A Slob Comes Clean is a) a woman after my own heart and b)continuing the Declutter Challenge link-up.

Full disclosure, I haven't paid much attention to decluttering since last year, when I made it to the 113.8 ft cubed. (Yes, I did in fact measure everything and that kind of complusive behavior may have had something to do with my loss of momentum. Merf.) The bulk of that material was purged from items we'd brought back from my Mom's house in Ohio. Divorced parents + sparse long term memory= a lotta crap. "I don't remember this but it says 1984. Maybe if I keep it, I will remember something from 1984?"

Lately, though, I've been focused on the ways my life has stagnated. (I am a recovering grad student. I finished my research and coursework two years ago, life and a mental breakdown intervened, and I haven't quite put the finishing touches on that thesis and defense.) I want to clear out everything that's been staring me in the face for the past few years, big and small, mentally and physically. My declutter steps have made a small impact in terms of what we see in the house, but have really lifted me mentally.

~Returning my Sbux uniform, a year after my last shift. Now it won't be in my closet sparking dreams of being late for my shift. I am grateful to Bux. They are a good company and gave me a job when no other jobs were to be found. However, it wasn't a good time in my life. Booker and I were fighting; anxiety and insomnia had put me in a very desperate and scary place. I was no longer a full-time student, so my loans were due, and when you've invested $60,000 in your education, working for minimum wage is a huge hit to your self-esteem. I'm not being snobby, just honest. So the sight of the green apron doesn't bring a flood of happy memories.

~Took a bagful to Goodwill, including the book American Taboo: a Murder in the Peace Corps. My friend sent it to my 4 years ago. I've been waiting this whole time to be in a mental space to handle Deb Gardner's story. I finally was able to admit to myself that I'll have to find other ways to honor her.

~ I realized that Lowes recycles CFL lightbulbs. It's not so much that we are early adopters, and have run through them after 5-8 years of use, as it is that one of us is very impatient. CFL's have a slight lag time when you turn them on, and I- um, one of us- had a bad habit of flicking the switch off and on, which just makes them burn out. "Is it broken? Oh. Shit. It is now." We had a collection of 9-10 sitting in our closet, that have led to a few bickerfests. The issue:

Me: These contain heavy metals, which are bad and wrong. Our city does not recycle them. We can't afford the $30 kit to mail them off. Throwing them out is not an option. So let's hold on to them until we figure it out.
Booker Phase 1: What? Heavy metals? I've never heard that. Are you sure that's right?
Booker Phase 2: O-KAY. Fine! No, I believed you. Yes I did. Yes I did. Yes I did. Since they have heavy metals, we shouldn't keep them in the house where they are subject to breakage. It would be great to recycle them if it were easy, but it's not, so let's just throw them away and try to do better next time.
Booker Phase 3: Yes I did. Yes I did. Yes I did. No, I care about the water supply. Yes I do. Yes I do. Yes I do.

Seriously, it's been YEARS that we have held onto these lightbulbs. At one point I even hid them. 50 points goes to the winner who guesses which of use was more invested in the idea of recycling these mofos???

And this whole damn time, we could've just trotted off to Lowes. Which I did this afternoon, and it felt great.

Small things physically, big psychologically. Let's see if I can make the thesis deadline of April 15!

I'm linking this up at A Slob Comes Clean for the February Decluttering Update. Stop by to cheer us on and join in!


Nony the Slob said...

Those kinds of lightbulbs stress me OUT! Too much hassle to get rid of something, when it's hard enough for me.

THanks so much for linking up!

Texas Sugar said...

I totally can understand the comment about going along well, then getting easily distracted by other things. That is so something I struggle with. And then what ever I was working on sits there for ever just waiting for me to come back to it.

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