What No Longer Serves You


I got hit in the head with a pair of four-inch Manolo heels last night.

One week after we were speeding to the hospital after Mom's ambulance, something new has come over me: The incessant need to organize and clean. What?

All of the sudden, all of the clutter around me can be no more. I can't look at anything out of order. In the morning, before I went to my parents,  I tore apart our bedroom, purging books I'd never read and never would. I ripped into my closet, mercilessly tossing items that I bought for that potential visit to a Wyoming dude ranch or that Yacht off the South of France. (Not saying I won't go there but I don't need a crumpled cowboy hat or ill fitting sequined skirt.)

This is not the first time I've launched such an initiative. Earlier this year I started a blog about streamlining, though in my heart I knew it wasn't a priority. What's happening now comes from a part of me that I've never had before. There's enough messiness in life.

In between the purges, running to the laundry machine to make sure every piece of our clothing is cleaned. Scrubbing the kitchen counter tops. Folding the clothes. Putting them away minutes after they are dry. Piles will no longer do. 

"There are rooms in this house that I don't open anymore
Dusty books of pictures on the floor.
In this mess I have made." -- Ben Folds, "Mess"


It doesn't take a therapist to figure out what's happening: In a time of chaos, making sense of the world by ordering its physical contents. The urge started almost instantly after the incident, and it wasn't just about clutter.

When I returned from spending time with Mom yesterday, I tackled the purses, not giving a second thought to pulling out and tossing any one that I no longer love. (Some teenager will be very happy when they get to the Salvation Army and find a trove of metallic bags.) Going through the stray contents, reading the remnants of 1,000 trips. Why hasn't I thrown out the ticket stubs, postcards for art openings long closed, fossilized Vitamin C powder? (Ew.) 

Organizational gurus say that if you choose to get rid of a sentimental but no longer functional object, that you aren't getting rid of the person who gave it to you -- you still hold the memories associated with them. But what would they say about someone who keeps cheap ear plugs from a Beyonce concert and a clipping from SkyMall about teaching cats how to be toilet trained? (I thought it was hilarious at the time. And I don't even like cats.) 

It's gone, it's all gone. Well, some of it. There's much more in this house, boxes I haven't wanted to open. Until now.