The Decluttering By Artemis McNeil

Well it’s that time again:
Fall decluttering season!
(First cousin to Spring cleaning)
With hands on hips I look around assessing how to prioritize
this foreboding task.
I contemplate the strategy of organizing drawers, emptying cabinets, revamping closets, and straightening up of shelves with a spirit vacillating between the “rolling up of sleeve with unfettered zeal” and “hailing a cab for the airport to catch the next flight to Miami trepidation”.
So here I stand -about to tackle the cumbersome inventory-already sweating a little at the armpits. “I need chocolate.” “No Ari.” “What’s on TV?” “Nothing- focus.” “Ooh a meme!” “Ahem -put the phone down Ari… Focus!”
“Okay okay!” I roll up my literal sleeves and take a breath.
One thing I have come to know for certain is why the cleaning up and clearing out of one’s personal belongings is a not so easy (damn laborious) undertaking.

It takes time and effort to accumulate these prize possessions: The searching, the trying on, the dreaming of how these items will enhance convenience, beauty, wellness, eduction, life.
Then comes the commitment; the purchase. We’re married to it now.
We bring it home (carry it over the threshold) -The honeymoon stage begins. It’s the “perfect” thing.  It’s an amazing, usable, comfy, helpful, practical, enhancing, relevant “go to”.
So when did the “loves of my life” turn into (gasp) clutter? (If only I maintained them better. I feel so alone). Yet it happens to the best of them; falling from the “I can’t live without this” category to the “Where do I stick this until I can use it again?” category.
Sigh (stuff it under the bed).
 Yeah, the more we put into obtaining, the harder to rid. So we hold on; turning these once useful items into dead weight- baggage dragged and shifted from one room of the house to another: The slightly stretched out but outgrown favorite sweater (maybe it’ll shrink -maybe I’ll shrink). The belt with frayed loops that has special meaning (worn to my first Whitney Houston concert. It stays). The broken necklace (I can upcycle!) The one earring (I’ll find the other!).The bought at a yard sale at a steal but never used -rickety inversion table; perfect for my aching back, ‘cause I lug this monstrosity from room to room (true story), the half full bottles of lotion, the empty containers, the shoulder pads, the sun dress with one strap, the missing socks (A conspiracy!), the stack of magazines from 2005-2017 (I really want to get to those articles). The cassettes, yes, I said cassettes. The jeans!


Eventually the overwhelming will to free up space and allow for peace of mind (and new merchandise) is stronger, surging renewed fervor that I will be victorious over this formidable love/hate necessity.
Now comes the tedious part; fully aware the space around me will get messier before it gets cleaner with a maze of random good memories and frustration, nostalgia and attachments strewn about (a temporary hoarder’s paradise).
The showdown begins.
I try on, hold up, listen to, tear up, tear up (two different things), cling to, hug, use, ruminate over, sniff, smell, put down pick up, put down again, pick up again, then after straightening up, reorganizing and feeling good about what I will keep (yes I kept the cassettes), I finally release from my possession with finality the non-essentials by either donating them to charity (tax write off), or trash (faster). Simple really.
Hours upon hours (days) later- the same cluttered areas where I walked away and came back several times- are now items either organized or bagged like trophies (they’re even labeled-pats self on back).
 I’m done. Freedom.
I sit in peace slightly smug with satisfaction.
It doesn’t escape me how the clutter versus cleanup tug of war is a profound metaphor for life:

The slightly stretched relationships, the frayed self-worth, the broken beliefs…
Prioritize, organize, then get rid of the non-essentials.

“Okay Okay!” I roll up my emotional sleeves and take a breath.

“I want the dash between my date of birth 

and death to be a pulse not a flatline.”

Artemis Skye McNeil ~

Quill Fated Scribes Bio!il “I

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