Every six months or so, I get in a crazed minimalist mood. It's nothing short of a rabid snake searching for prey. (To help the visual of a rabid snake, think of a viper foaming at the mouth and whipping its head in search of offending items.) Garbage bags are stuffed with clothes and are dropped off at the local thrift store. Facebook ads go up for used and well loved furniture. I read articles on becoming a minimalist, and ask myself deep soul-searching questions about "But why do we have two of the exact same spatula?!" Then I chuck the second one and pat myself on the back for being trendy and environmentally-friendly.
Life is busy though, and I don't have time to sort through all the things. This is where piles are birthed. The piles have one of three specific uses: Official papers, Recycle, or Sort Later. The "Sort Later" piles always go in cardboard boxes.
As of now, we have approximately 7 cardboard boxes of things to sort. Seven. These are not your classic child's-shoebox-remade-into-a-treasure-keepsake box either. We are talking about boxes you'd use to pack all your fine china and dinnerware during a move. That's a lot of stuff. Then there's the other little piles of Official Papers, or dirty dishes, or wet towels, and it adds up to astronomical numbers. Especially after living for three months out of our suitcases, we feel that anything that takes up more than 150 lbs of space is just a crap ton of stuff.
Usually the condemning boxes are tucked away in the storage room or under the bed. (Naughty habits from childhood). When I see box corners sticking out, I flinch, and I push them farther into the dark recess of dust bunnies and go back to normal life.
Taylor and I been wanting to really change that, because it's no fun to live in a private-hoarders home. Now, I just need to spotlight my man Taylor here for a second. Because he is wonderful. He is also a clever man. He unintentionally made the change happen.
It started with this BIG pile in front of our bed. The cardboard box was pathetically spilling over. I hardly recognized any of the things, since I hadn't been reminded of them in the past three months. We sat down one Saturday morning and started to go through the pile. True to form, littler piles were made: Official papers, Recycle, Sort Later. All but the recyclables went back into the cardboard box. The box returned to the normal state of laying in ignorance.
One night, I came home to find the bedroom completely cleaned. Completely! The bed cover was crisply laying on the mattress. Pillows were fluffed. The carpet was bare. A cup of water waited on my bedside table (I always get thirsty at night).
And the box was gone.
To make up for all the empty space in the room, my heart swelled up with love and admiration for my husband. Our room had been fairly messy before, and to take on that box, well, only the brave-hearted could have gone through with it. I told myself as soon as I put my shoes away in the closet (I couldn't just leave them laying on the floor now), I was going to give Taylor the biggest hug in the world and maybe suggest his name for the Nobel Peace prize or Grammys or any fancy ceremony to get the world to applaud for him.
Shoes in hand, I opened the closet door. I step inside to reach the shelf, but then my foot hits a stumbling block. I look down.
There, the box lay, in all its worldly glory, full of crap and untold wonders that the Earth couldn't handle to see.
Well, dang it.
Don't get me wrong, I was still super grateful for Taylor and his hard work to clean up the bedroom. Currently, his name is still pending for all the awards, and Taylor Swift agreed to serenade him at the next fancy ceremony. I think she probably digs they have the same name.
But dang that stupid box and our bad habits of piles.
Over the next couple weeks, I attempted to ignore that ugly box. The experience was a lot living in a bad dream, where you know the monster can see you, but you happily pretend that everything is all right, and no of course there's no monster and no he won't try to eat you. Or you could say the experience was a lot like having an annoying coworker, and when you're not in the same room as them, you forget they work there too. Both somehow make sense and apply perfectly here. Despite my attempts at ignoring the problem, I couldn't help but notice that the box would somehow birth its own paper children, and create more mess as I stepped over it to reach for my clothes. It was getting worse by the day, and finally, I just had to do it.
The era of boxes in my closet would end now.
It took days, kids. Days of figuring out where to put stuff, and shucking the rest. I threw away the box first, to stay away from temptation. Arrow happily crawled in between papers and random objects, and picked her favorites to be entertained while I cleaned. Would it surprise you if I said I caught her sucking on Double A batteries? After tossing those, and a thousand other things, the carpet eventually cleared. I had a closet floor again. Peace and prosperity abounded within our home.
Taylor is super humble, and doesn't brag about his cleverness. He probably doesn't even realize how strategic his plan was. As his wife, I'm literally left with no choice but to brag for him and publicly thanks him.
Taylor, you are awesome. Thanks for accidentally tricking me into clearing up one of the seven boxes that haunted our dreams. I probably won't dream about monsters or annoying coworkers for a while.
Now only six more to go.
Please share any organization/minimalist ideas you have. I feel the minimizing craze starting to come around soon...