Leaving this very real home today:
- a glasses case that came with my new glasses. If I’m awake my glasses are on my face – sometimes even in the shower. I’m just that blind. The only time I take them off is to sleep. Then they sit on my bedside tabletop. I don’t need a case.
- 3 bags of shredded paper – old, out-of-date business papers. There’s more to shred. The guest room is no longer looking as much like a storage room!
- a book already read and unlikely to be read again. It wasn’t that great.
- another throw pillow that was on the floor for the second time today
- the dust ruffle that I took off of my bed to wash two months ago and have never put back on.
I should get credit for a lot more today. I’ve been helping my oldest daughter clean up, sort and declutter the guest room (which is her room when she’s not working.) She keeps trying to give me things and I keep saying “no”. That should count, right? She says no. I’m proud of her. She’s gotten rid of 3 bags of stuff and one of trash. That’s what growing as a person looks like. Letting go of the old to make space for the new!
One category of “declutter” that I’ve identified is what I’m going to call the magazine syndrome. It’s born out of my desire to live in a beautiful home that looks like all the ones in the decorating magazines. I saw a room that I loved once – it had a birdcage in it. I’ve ended up with five birdcages! Two have left so far. I’m a work in progress.
About those magazines – they aren’t real rooms. They’ve been staged and accessorized and professionally cleaned. Those photos are a moment in time – literally a snapshot of someone’s life. The photo doesn’t catch the shedding dog or the spilled juice, the remnants of a game night or the aftermath of an illness running through a family.
I live a real life – in a real home. I’ve been looking at that dust ruffle for several days trying to decide whether to give it away or not. It looks nice on the bed. It isn’t on the bed. I’ve never once walked into that room and thought, “Gosh, I wish I had a dust ruffle on that bed.” What I’ve wished, when I walked into that room, was that there wasn’t a pile of laundry on the chest at the end of the bed spilling out onto the floor. That dust ruffle has been crumpled in that pile. Now it’s in a bag. Going to the thrift store.
I’m not willing to spend my time taking a dust ruffle off of the bed to wash it and pulling the mattress off to put it back on. I don’t want to move a million things in order to dust. I don’t want a closet full of clothes that I might wear someday. I don’t want a bunch of books on the shelve that make me look smart and interesting.
I don’t want appearances. I want real. I want stuff that I need. Put away. Tidy. Relatively clean. I want to quit sorting out stuff. I want to quit rearranging things in an effort to make it all look better.
I don’t live in a magazine. I live in a very real home with very real people that I love all the time – and like a lot of the time.
I’m off to shred some more paper!