Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Promise and Sparkle

I was in a world-class funk last week. It happens, periodically. Everything feels heavier, and life loses its promise and sparkle for me.

On Friday, I went to Target, killing time before picking Owen up from a field trip. To combat the sparkle issue, I purchased four dollar earrings---three of them actually. Fake diamonds, fake pearls, and fake studs.

I also picked up The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.  If you're not familiar, it's a woman's attempt to uncover some of the secrets of happiness by field-testing theories by philosophers and experts. I'm not done yet, but I'm finding a lot of practical advice.

One thing she mentioned was energizing your space by reducing clutter. And so I organized a drawer.

And another. And another. I mercilessly tossed the clutter, and learned that nobody, not even a Marylander, needs four cans of Old Bay.

I bought file boxes, and made a hanging file for each year of my sons' lives. I finally have a place for the certificates and assorted crafts that their wives will appreciate some day.

There is a joy knowing, with absolute certainty, that an item is home. That it belongs. That amidst the highs and lows of hormones and serotonin---those chemicals that can humble a person---at least the markers all have caps. The colors will still sing on the page.

When I sat down to write this, I spent a few moments looking for the camera cord to download the pictures I took of my new clean spaces, so full of promise and light.

I couldn't find it anywhere. It was lost.

And instead of crying or stewing or just giving up, I took blurry photos with my phone, and laughed. What are ya gonna do?

I guess there's something to the whole de-cluttering thing.. Empty spaces, surprisingly enough, can fill a person right up.


Matty said...

I'm the organizer in this house, and everyone else de-organizes it. Dang.

I like to know where things are, and they just mess it all up. Half the time I can't find anything, and neither can they. I have to laugh when my wife can't find her own pocketbook or car keys.

Formerly known as Frau said...

I know how you feel.....last week I was walking on sunshine.....this week with day 5 of rain I have lost my sparkle big time! Maybe I'll find answers at Target...I need totes....I think the bright lights and bulls eye have magic in them!!

Misfit Mommy said...

What a brilliant idea! I just emerged from a 'situation' myself, and I think that getting better organized may just keep me 'out of the blues'

Thanks for this great post!

Jenny said...

I admire your spunk Nancy.

Ms. Moon said...

Nature does abhor a vacuum, doesn't it? But it sure feels good in that tiny amount of time when the space is neat and tidy and holds only what we truly need.

Caution said...

Okay. Fine. I will declutter a room today. I'll get right on that at noontime. I promise.

TKW said...

Please come de-clutter my pantry. Puh-lease?? It's sad, sad news.

Kim said...

I've been wondering about that book. I always need a solid testamonial when I'm unsure. Also, I'm stealing your hanging file idea. Brilliant! I have a keepsake drawer for the two kids but it is a disaster.

Cheryl said...

I so agree. Clutter makes me crazy, and my house is completely cluttered. We totally cleaned/organized Sage's room this past weekend and it makes me feel so. much. better.

Hugs to you, mama!!

Julie said...

Oh, Nancy - I never feel quite so "full" as when I'm "empty" (so to speak).

I love the power of purging, cleaning, organizing and DE-CLUTTERING.

My family doesn't get it.

I try to explain that the noise of life sometimes gets to me and I just need tangible quiet.

To me, that's a straightened drawer or a closet that's been overhauled.

Out with the old.

And no new brought in.

Simplify, simplify. (Because I kind of want to be Henry David Thoreau.)

So glad you are full again.

Erin said...

Can you come organize all my kids crafts? And I have this one drawer.....let's just say it needs help!

I am the only one allowed to declutter in my house because my husband keeps all the crap and throws out the important stuff!

Anita said...

Sunshine is on the way, and I am eager to see it, too!

Also, like you, I hope this is the summer that I can de-clutter a few more areas in my home.

Best wishes to you. :)

Coby said...

I LOVE decluttering! I can't tell you the peace and satisfaction it brings me.

Of course, you might not know this if you were to take a look at the closet in my loft...but I've got 3 kids - these things take time!

Gretchen said...

Gretchen Rubin has a blog called the Happiness project too. btw, I don't have any Old Bay. What do you do with it?

Erin said...

please come over and help me de-clutter? all my kids' art is in a giant box. not organized at all. just thrown in there. ugh.

i've been thinking about getting that book, too!

formerlyonlyamovie said...

I love getting rid of stuff. I never had this much insight about it. :-)

LB said...

I am sooo borrowing the idea of a box for each year. I have tons of little happies that I hate to part with but have no place to store.

Uuugghh...I seriously need to declutter as well.

Kristin said...

I cleaned out my linen closet the other night at midnight and found unopened 500 thread count sheets!

Ms.Wasteland said...

I LOVE a good purge. (And no, I'm not bulimic.) I'm getting ready to do a major one on the basement as we're getting ready for some home repairs.

Joanna Jenkins said...

There is something about organizing that picks a person up and makes them feel good for a nice long time. I've been doing a lot of organizing lately while I helped my friend move. I unpacked her kitchen and was thrilled when she called to say everything is exactly where she thought it would be :-)

Happy cleaning! xo jj

Cat said...

I'm finding a lot of organizing in the moving process. But I'm also at that point where i organize so much I can't find anything... oops.

tulpen said...

I've been in a similar head space.

Cleaning rampage in basement resulted in car load of of crap that I donated.

Then tackled my closet.

Then cleaned and organized kitchen cabinets and threw out tons of outdated crap.

Felt divine.

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Dude. Your writing is so good, it always gives me chills. Even when you are writing about something as simple as decluttering, your words sing:

"There is a joy knowing, with absolute certainty, that an item is home. That it belongs. That amidst the highs and lows of hormones and serotonin---those chemicals that can humble a person---at least the markers all have caps. The colors will still sing on the page."

Minivan Lover said...

Organization and productivity make me swoon. I love the hanging file things!! I'm so doing that :)

tsonodablog said...

Nancy...that sounds so freeing! I must read that book. And I must de-clutter. I have two rather large boxes of photos from forever-ago and through all my lives. Sometimes I have a wine-induced evening where I dive into one of those boxes and reminisce over one or two of my past lives. And I'm not talking about my reincarnated lives. I'm talking about this one...and those many past chapters of me. Those pictures carry me back to places I'm now very proud of. I wish I would have appreciated things more as they were happening. I think you are very wise and realize the importance of memories. Kudos for the de-clutter. And for making sure you save memories files of your life. (gosh I sure do get long-winded...but you inspire me!)

Bekah said...

Always a freeing experience. Kudos!