All posts tagged: Clutter

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Death of a Salesman’s Samples

Back when I was growing up, we didn’t call it clutter. Or hoarding. It was just “the basement,” and most people thought of it as our subterranean treasure cave. When relatives came over for holidays or my friends visited for play dates, they’d be delighted to be invited downstairs. They’d make their way down the matted, pastel-colored rainbow steps to the lower level of our New Jersey ranch house. This was where my salesman father stacked his towers of cardboard sample cartons. My father would ceremoniously open one of these boxes with a utility knife. The thick strapping tape unfurled and revealed a mind-boggling array of wholesale items wrapped in brown butcher paper. He sold miniature antique dollhouse furniture. Cloisonné jewelry from Taiwan – necklaces with miniature scaled fish in every color. Almost everything came by the gross, which was not gross at all but, rather, the magic number 144 – a dozen dozen. My friends and I dove into grosses of faux birthstone rings, a dollar a dozen. They winked on our fingers, glass …

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Ovarian Rhapsody: The Routine of My Dreams

Sunday morning. Tea. CNN muttering in the background. My husband has made eggs with pesto. I’m going through old mail and sorting it into “recycle it” or “shred it.” The cat is snoring on the couch. It’s a lovely boring day. Finally I have energy. My brain feels clear and crisp; I can do mundane physical tasks, even multitask. Ah, doing too many things at once. I feel like I’m back to my old semi-healthy self — yippee! The reason for my vim and vigor is in part due to a new chemotherapy routine. What was once every week is now every three. My doc decided to switch things up because I wasn’t tolerating the chemo well and the side effects were mounting. More importantly, she was acting on a report in the New England Journal of Medicine — released only two weeks prior —that had determined that my every week “dose dense” treatment wasn’t as effective for ovarian cancer patients as getting it every three weeks. Say what? This is how fast cancer research …

tuenight clutter valerie ravelle medina divorce

Cluttered Apartment, Clear Mind

Most people pare down when they move. Not me — I just move my stuff to an entirely new place. The bright side to my separation was that it decreased a different kind of clutter, the kind that lived in my brain. The kind that questioned me every day: “Will today be the day that he foregoes late night TV and comes to bed with you?” or “Will today be the day that you grow a pair and tell him you can’t go one more day without being touched?” Seven years is too long to live in a comatose marriage. I tried envisioning my future if I stayed in this marriage and my future as a single mom. I could see the former very clearly — it was more of the same. The latter, although fuzzy in its composition, showed a riskier but much more rewarding path. I did all the analyzing I could possibly do until I finally felt strong enough to make the decision. I walked out of my old claustrophobia-inducing house and …

tuenight clutter annette earling memory

The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mom

My son hands me a form and tells me he needs $10 for a field trip. A client requests a change to their website. The tulips are coming up and the flowerbeds need to be raked. One of my volunteer causes has been patiently waiting — for weeks — for a new logo. We’re out of toilet paper. And milk. And, oh yeah, food. Ten years ago, my 40-year-old brain would have remembered it all, categorized the demands in a mental list and multi-tasked the crap out of them. But over the course of the past decade, I’ve found myself relying less on memory and more on strategy. You know, the little sticky notes, the smart phone apps, the piles of paper strategically placed near the front door. Like most other people my age, I simply can’t remember things the way I used to. Thing is, I’m happy about it. I’m clearing the clutter from my overloaded mind, and it’s such a relief. The decluttering began when I hit menopause at age 47 — and …

Margit’s Note: What a Mess

Spring cleaning! One of my favorite times of year — no joke. It’s when I go all Kondo on my apartment, roll up my socks, fold them ever so nicely into drawers, parse out items designated for donations or the annual stoop sale and generally de-clutter my world. Of course this year I haven’t exactly felt up to the task, but I’ve enlisted a friend Stormy (aptly named — to tackle a whirlwind of mess) to help me out. Stormy’s been coming twice a week to help me with some basic tasks as I go through chemo (making freezable meals, running to the post office and dry cleaners etc) but on the weeks I feel better we’ve been organizing. It’s truly her strength and something that genuinely gets me focused on the future – and excited. Watching stacks of old magazines get the boot. Witnessing a pantry filled with expired cans of beans get transformed into a thing of useable beauty. “This shelf is for cans, this section for cereal and snacks, here are your towels” …

How I Cleared Out the Clutter in My Heart

Last spring while I was in a yoga class, the song, “Hearts A Mess” by Gotye came on. And it struck me that I was right there with him: my heart was literally a junkyard of broken bits. When people talk about tidying up, immediately thoughts fly to the home: desks cluttered with unopened mail, drawers filled with messy receipts, closets that seems to vomit forth clothes you can’t remember ever wearing. We buy magazines that tell us how to de-clutter our home to help keep us sane and happy. They tell us we’ll breathe easier after hauling 20-gallon trash bags worth of useless items to the curb. We’re better people now that we’ve rid ourselves of all that physical clutter. But what we rarely stop to consider is the wreckage of our past, as it remains cluttered in our hearts. The relationship that never quite died, the rejection letter that told you your work was not good enough, the person who told you your love was not quite right for them. Whether it’s hardened …