I asked someone to come and help me unclutter my bedroom which I had lost the ability to be agile in. Translation: I could have easily sprained an ankle with all the crap that was in my room.
Asking for help was humbling
The initial organization provided me with the incentive to take on The Fifty Project. Still, I wrestled mightily with the most insignificant items. Is it recyclable? Will I have a need for it later? Should I try to sell it?
I also struggled with things that people gave me -- even if it was an object that I didn't particularly like. I found things that I had forgotten about including license plate covers that my brother gave me in 2003. I also spotted, in the nether region of my closet, the toes of a tall doll, a childhood present from my grandfather.
I didn't think that I would have has many mental throwaways as I did but once the ball got rolling, it really got rolling. I have the feeling, though, that it's going to take more than one trip to the trashcan for the mental throwaways. Throwing out non-mental stuff became somewhat infectious as well. I was searching for a place that might recycle photos and I came upon good advice: Sometimes you just have to throw stuff away.
Here's the big qualifier. If you threw out fifty cups, it only counted as one item and on and on -- 50 books = one item. And magazines, they belong to the same tribe as books. I thought I might never make it to 50 but here's the list:
1) Bath Sponge
2) Bedding (unused for nearly a decade)
3) Being verbally abusive to myself
4) Beverages, Old or Unwanted (Pimpjuice and Propel)
5) Bike (Old One)
6) Book bags and satchels
7) Books and magazines
9) Candlestick Holders
10) Cardboard Boxes (lots of them; what was I saving them for? plus, my friend has this situation below)
11) Catnip (G’ma gave it to me for protection from mosquitoes)
12) Christopher Gruver’s Flowers: A Universe Revealed -- 2006 Wall Calendar
13) Clothes (Goodbye to those of you that I outgrew)
14) Contact Paraphernalia (Expired -- in 2007 -- Rewetting Drops)
15) Cups (‘A’ cup, tiger mug, white cups with white tea)
16) Declarations of war i.e. getting my feathers ruffled over small stuff. (Bye bye)
17) Expired Food (Pomegranate Fruit Bars et al.)
Why do I still have crystallized ginger? Have not made cookies in over three years.
Makes 3 dozen
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
• 1 large egg
• 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
• 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, cut into 1/8-inch dice
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl twice. Add egg; mix on high speed to combine. Add zest; mix to combine.
2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, ground ginger, baking soda, salt, and crystallized ginger; add to butter mixture. Mix on medium-low speed to combine, about 20 seconds.
3. Using two spoons, drop about 2 teaspoons of batter on baking sheet; repeat, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake for 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
From Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1995/1996
18) Eyeglasses (Old Prescription; Donated)
19) Feelings of guilt (over throwing away food that I bought but didn’t’ like, of throwing away stuff that may or may not be recyclable etc.)
20) Graveyard Ribbons
23) Latex Swim Cap (Unused)
24) Old Dietary Supplements
25) Paper (Old Notebooks and Newspaper Articles)
26) Percussion Egg (Don’t Ask)
28) Perfume (Expired)
29) Photo Album
31) Picture Frame
34) Smiley Face Bank
35) Soap & Bath Stuff (Old)
36) Speedo (First One)
37) Squirrel Knickknacks
38) Stuffed Animal
39) The feeling that I’m this poor little girl from the wrong side of the river. (gone)
40) The feeling that I suck (because I forgot someone’s birthday or to pay a bill)
41) The feeling that I’m not good enough. (Throwing that out felt really good.)
42) The feeling that I’m not smart enough.
43) The feeling that weird things only happen to me.
44) The nagging feeling that I don’t belong. (out)
45) Tins (Altoid tin good for holding pepitas and peanuts but did I need two?)
46) Tweety Birds (gift)
47) Underwear (seldom worn back of the drawer rejects along with the need-to-be darned)
48) VHS Tapes (Biggest Loser with Helen, Sione and Tara; The Amazing Race)
49) Wall Décor
50) Wallets (Black and Green; I bought the brown replacement wallet a year and a half ago)
This whole uncluttering project that I have underway takes the burden off my friend Lori who was to come in, should I meet a sudden demise, and clean up for me so that I would not die again of shame.
Can I Recycle Old Photographs?
Can Used Photo Paper Be Recycled?
Stop the Souvenir Insanity
The mess he made: A life-long slob decides it's time to get organized
The Story of Stuff
Best quote: "It's rare that a sloppy person is made uncomfortable by another person's neatness," she says. "Part of being a sloppy person is that you just don't notice." Arlene Kagle from "To Clean Or Not To Clean, That Is The Question," O: The Oprah Magazine, March 2010