The Ultimate Issue

Since I started working on decluttering my house, about a month before taking over The Simple Year, I’ve made a lot of progress. When I hit a milestone of any kind, like finding myself with empty containers, or my recent attic success, I pleased and accomplished.

Then I see the spaces in my house like this one:


Catalogs, a Sharpie, the cat’s medicine, and craft supplies.

Everything I touch turns into clutter. It’s like the Midas touch, in reverse. In spite of what feels like my almost constant effort to keep clutter off flat surfaces, I’m failing. After I took this photo I cleared it all away, but I wonder if I will ever get to a place where these things don’t accumulate in the first place. Is it possible?

I don’t know. But I keep returning to the fact that we have too much stuff.


Here’s Exhibit A: a bag full of random items, mostly Emma’s but not all.

I think I could say I’m done with the attic, but I hesitate to give it that status right now. Over the weekend I reorganized it a little and will likely do more. We have more framed art than we have wall space for, but many pieces were painted by Bob’s dad so we’ll keep them. I like all our art and like to rotate what we have on our walls so I feel the space is well used. I moved some old textbooks from downstairs and organized them in old milk crates. Occasionally I do some educational publishing work so I kept the books I’d be likely to refer to and gave away the rest. There is some free space now, and while I still plan to label the containers, I have a good idea of what’s in each one.

But I filled the free space. Because of clutter creep, and the fact that all the stuff was going to make me nuts. Despite my signage, I found us dealing with stuff all over the place again. So I resorted to my old, preferred strategy of putting stuff in bags to deal with another time. It’s tempting to just put them all out for a donation pickup without even looking in them. I haven’t gotten any traffic tickets lately so I don’t have to worry about important papers. bagsinattic

Here are the bags full of stuff, including a half dressed Hello Kitty.

My neighbor told me she’s trying to donate or recycle three things a day, and often gets rid of more. I think I’m going to adopt her idea, because the fact that we still have clutter all over tells me we have to get rid of more stuff. And though I’ve freed up more space to store that stuff, I don’t want to store it. My bag-it-and-forget-it approach is just temporary, but it gives me a good place to begin.