My (Mis)Adventures with Clutter
I need my car keys. I delve inside my handbag. No go. Not there? I open the handbag, along its length, and look inside. Which is kind of awkward because I’m in the middle of a crowded theater lobby, crowds swilling around me, and I’m sort of balancing on one knee, the other bent so I can place my handbag on it. The Yoga “Tree” pose – only more artistic. The whole balance pose thingy is further jeopardized because my son is clutching a handful of my voluminous skirt, and is tugging in the opposite direction; he has to go the bathroom NOW.
Inside my handbag I see a pen or two. There is even a snack-bar (when did I put that in there?). There are various bits of paper floating around in there, some small, some big. Then there is a wad of tissues, my wallet, my phone and a little note-pad, a small comb, and 2 pairs of sun-glasses (quite pointless really – I can’t possibly wear them both at once). At such moments I wish I could just squat down wherever I am, dump the contents of the bag out, there, down on the ground, find what I’m looking, pick it up, and just walk away.
At one point in my life, I carried quite a large bag. It looked like a nice, curvy, leather sack. And it was (became) heavy. Since it was such a large, voluminous bag – it seemed to have oodles of space; things fairly leapt inside of their own accord. Need hairbrush? In the bag it goes. List of groceries? Should be in there somewhere. Paperback novel I was supposed to return to the library last week? Yup, in there. Several expired checkbooks? Half-eaten bag of popcorn? That blobby toy the kids love? Bag of jelly beans? Store receipts from the past year, of things I might possibly return? If you couldn’t find it anywhere else, it was quite possibly in my handbag. That thing was a store-all.
Then I graduated to a really small bag, a mini-bag really. Life got simpler. All it held (could hold) were the essentials – keys, wallet, phone. And little pieces of paper, yeah? How much space do they take? Every time I fill up the car, I ask for a receipt. But where to put all these receipts? I dream of the day when for a pack-rat like me, cars will be equipped with built in scanners that will scan your receipts in a second, leaving you free to trash them (or we could have built-in shredders).
A friend once told me that she discarded useless receipts immediately, like tore them into a trash bag right outside the store. Me, a pack-rat – I can’t do that, because what if, what if, what if I need it later? I’m pretty sure I have shopping receipts from 2004 – I just don’t know where I’ve “safely” placed them. And you know Murphy’s golden rule – the moment you discard something as unusable, you need it right after.
For all the talk we have on conserving our resources and reducing the use of paper, it’s almost like once you open the front door, paper (mostly junk) comes flying in. We’ve long since stopped getting the printed newspaper – we just read online now. But the mail brings advertisements and junk mail. The kids bring home tons of paperwork from school. And we seem to be throwing away more and more paper. Some of it ends up in my purse.
Despite my misadventures with space, I’ve stuck to a small handbag; it’s not like tiny, tiny, it’s still average sized. It holds all the essentials, and some “extra” stuff that I’ll put in once in a while. However it’s not a carryall, so when the zipper refuses to close, it’s a pretty clear sign that I need to de-clutter. So I’ll open the bag and throw away the “extras” (mostly junk which should have been discarded two weeks back).
Now if only de-cluttering my life and my home was that easy!
My (Mis)Adventures with Clutter
- » Published on March 29, 2008
- » Type: Opinion
- » Filed under: