I was so good when we first moved into our little house. I never let anything pile up on the counters. No more library books stacked on the floor next to the sofa. No more boxes labelled “Miscellaneous” parked in dark corners.
But over time, my old habits began to return. I had been putting Christmas presents that needed to be wrapped on the bed in the spare room; before long, other odds and ends that had no specific parking spot ended up there, and the bed became the parking spot for too many things. It was so easy to just set something there instead of making the effort to find a place for it.
Meanwhile, the closets began to get more crowded. I hadn’t taken the time to pitch something after buying its replacement. Repeat that a few times and pretty soon the lovely feeling of spaciousness in my little closets disappeared.
Then there was the garage. Last year we replaced almost all of our home’s windows with lovely new energy-efficient windows. But the old windows would make a terrific greenhouse in the back yard, so as they were removed from the house, we stacked them in the garage, where we forgot about them until winter came and we wanted to get the cars in the garage.
Combine these incidents with a few others too similar to mention here, and our little house began to feel snug. That’s when I realized I had fallen off the decluttering wagon. The feeling of panic that resulted was similar to the one you get when you can’t zip your pants after the holidays. Yikes!
I did not like that feeling, so it didn’t take me long to become motivated to declutter again. I spent some time going through our clothes, made a stack of items that we no longer needed, and put them in bags in the trunk of my car. I cleared off the bed in the spare room, finding places for everything (and getting rid of a few old things to make space for those new things). The old things were also sent to the car. Then I immediately took them to the local thrift shop and donated them.
Meanwhile, my husband and I discussed the windows and the likelihood that he would have time to make a greenhouse this year (answer: very unlikely) and decided to put them up for free on Craig’s List. They were gone by evening, and both cars made it into the garage. No more scraping off ice and snow before we could go anywhere!
I’m relieved to be back to our uncluttered state, but it kind of alarms me that I fell off the wagon after we worked so hard and got rid of so much stuff when we downsized. It just goes to show that vigilance is key; stay on top of your stuff if you don’t want to fall off the wagon.