I love to organize, sort, and clean ...to an extent. A truly organized person probably would not have to do as much cleaning and sorting as I do, since I really only do in-depth cleaning when I get a prolonged amount of time off of work and plan on being home. I would say this happens about twice a year.
Now, in-depth cleaning is not just wiping the counters, vacuuming, and those daily chores. I am talking about pulling everything out of hiding and being up to your elbows in stuff that you haven't seen since the last time you did this activity. Now I don't really like that part as much as I like the results.
Even with my habit of sorting, you really don't truly know what you have until you are moving. Earlier, I wrote a blog about how we were selling tons of stuff at a garage sale. This did leave us with minimums. Kerry's new question has become, "Lara, have you seen..." and my response has been, "we sold it." But now I am boxing up what we have left to store or take with us. We have decided a second garage sale is not worth the time or money since we have no big items to sell. I am continuing with my pages of pictures that we pass around to friends who are interested in buying, but that is all.
So now we get to the core stuff, the things that define us and make us feel at home. For Kerry and me, the majority (90%) of this is books. We have 65 paper boxes (12x18x10) of books. The rest of our boxes are personal items (pictures, awards, wedding memorabilia, etc.). We relented on our "sell everything" mantra to store these things.
Then there came the other stuff: the stuff that you use, you don't think about, and toss it into a couple of boxes at the last minute when you move and never ever sort. This can be clothes, toiletries, knick-knacks, good watches with dead batteries, etc. It isn't like I never go through clothes, but there are certain items, such as the t-shirt from my youth group or the sweat shirt from my childhood that I never ever ask why did I keep it? This time I was ruthless. If I wasn't going to taking it in our limited luggage all the way to Scotland, it was going to Goodwill. It was so difficult of a task that I had to repeat the process until my wardrobe could perhaps fit in two large duffel bags. You may wonder why I don't just store the cloths I don't take. Well, I don't want three years worth of bugs, mold, mildew, change of fashion, or change of my weight to make these clothes that I will have paid monthly to store become obsolete. Better to be done with it and buy what I need when I need it.
In the end of all of this packing, sorting, and purging (all three are still going on), I have discovered the joys of simplicity. I didn't realize how much of my clothes I did not really like but felt compelled to wear it because either I spent money on it, someone gave it to me, or I have a fond memory of it from long ago. Before the purge, I often struggled with wearing things out of fashion, the wrong size, or just awkward. Now, I only have my favorite things (mostly winter things since I don't care for most summer fashions), and I feel like I went and bought all new clothes. Everything are my favorite pieces, so I no longer pair a favorite piece with an ugly piece. In fact, everything matches better, too. The new limited choices are advantageous in that I don't have to spend so much time in the morning trying to figure out what matches only to wear something dissatisfying in the end. I have to say that immediately after the first round of purges, I was dressing really great for work for a short while, but decided to tone it down so people didn't think I had wasted all the money they had given me (through buying more stuff). That might have been silly of me, but I don't want to seem wasteful since people would assume something without talking to me. I wonder if they would even believe me when I tell them that the black suit had been in my closet for over two years, and the scarf was my grandmother's, and the brooch had been buried under some funky beads in my jewelry box since I was in middle school. On the weekends, though, I dress how I like and feel fabulous!
After this discovery of freedom with clothes, I did the same with jewelry (though I will give those to family, or store them, or something) and watches. I emptied out my jewelry box and quickly realized that I often wore the same earrings because it was so much trouble to go through all the junk in my jewelry box, which contained priceless treasures like a pin that says "Birthday Girl", or random beads, or a fighter pilot pin that I loved when I was eight. In the midst of all of this, I discovered that I have nice necklaces twisted together in a knot and a mass of earrings that may or may not have a match. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the box of baggies. Then I divided it all into "sets" of jewelry that I would wear. I placed a pearl necklace, bracelet, and earrings in one baggy, then a set of black beads and earrings in another. I continued this with only the "sets" that were fashionable and something I would like to wear. I finished with ten sets and tossed everything, except what needed to be thrown away or stored somewhere else, back into the jewelry box for family members to sort through. These ten baggies have enhanced my wardrobe incredibly. You may own far more or far less jewelry than I do, but this is a recommendation I have for everyone. When I put on an outfit now, I look in the mirror and decide that silver is what matches. Then I grab the silver baggy and everything is in there that I would want to wear without digging, sorting, or trying to match earrings. It is one set all picked out the way I like it. Three of the ten baggies are bead jewelry I just made. The problem with the bead jewelry is that it would get twisted around stuff very easily, but when I would leave it on the table so it wouldn't get twisted with the other necklaces, the cats would play with them and knock them to the ground, earrings and all (do you notice a consistent earrings problem?). This baggy idea has cured all these problems.
Now with my stuff sorted, I even took the time to repair things. The ink on Kerry's trench coat came off beautifully with nail polish remover. We got the batteries replaced in our favorite watches, and trimmed some loose threads off of a few garments. Now I feel pretty and can tell time. What a novelty!
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