Boxed in

The image you’re about to see may disturb you. Viewing this image is not recommended for people sensitive to clutter, disorganization, and mess. Potential side effects include headache, shortness or breath, difficulty concentrating, and severe writer’s block. View at your own risk.

This is the current state of my guest room and, consequently, the current state of my brain:

Somewhere under this pile of boxes and junk there is a bed and a desk and even a floor. Sadly, you can’t see any of that.

This mess has been accumulating for the past six months. At Christmas, new things left a lot of our old stuff homeless. Of course, I should have been getting rid of things then. But a funny thing happens when I know a move is coming. I start putting things off.

“I’ll be going through everything in a few months when we’re packing. I’ll deal with this then.”

Clutter began to accumulate a little at a time. A few boxes here; a pile of books there. We couldn’t decide whether we should sell our old TV, give it to Goodwill, or bring it with us — into the guest room it went. We¬† bought a used TV, and it was shipped to us in its original packaging. We thought it would be nice to keep the box so we could pack the TV in it when we move — into the guest room that went. A co-worker kindly gave us a trunk load of good moving boxes. I’m sure you see where this is going.

Now this room haunts my nightmares. I just keep closing the door tight, trying to pretend that mess isn’t there. Unfortunately, it’s a symptom of a much bigger problem, though. The guest room is ground zero, but there are tiny little catastrophe zones throughout our apartment. Closets, drawers, cupboards, shelves — all piled with junk I’ll have to sort and pack.

We’re moving in about 6 weeks. During my least anxious times, I tell myself that’s plenty of time. But then I open that guest room door, and I’m reminded of just how much I have to do.

What I mean to say is I have a lot on my mind right now, and a to-do list that’s a mile long. I do most of my writing on the weekends, and unfortunately that’s also the only time I can focus on decluttering, packing, and planning. My brain looks a lot like that room right now, and sorting out the mess to find inspiration is becoming harder and harder. Something has to give.

Since I started this blog almost two years ago, I’ve updated most weekdays. For the next 6 weeks, I will likely be posting every other day. I don’t plan to disappear for days or weeks at a time, but cutting down a little will help my sanity immensely.

I can’t guarantee that this will be the last time I whine. Please be patient with me as I attempt to navigate a lot of stress.

How are you doing? I’m happy to join your pity party if you’d like to whine a little. :)

6 thoughts on “Boxed in

  1. Kacie

    Oh, it’s not that bad. Those are huge boxes so visually they’re scary. I can still see the bed!

    Advice: Since the room is visually stressful, don’t do the bulk of your decluttering in there. Take a box and an armful of stuff and go to another room. Deal with all that stuff until it’s done-did. And then repeat.

    Small bites, lady!

    I think blogging a little less is a smart move.
    .-= Kacie´s last blog ..Homemade peanut butter =-.

  2. M

    Maybe you have mixed feelings about moving? That’s when I procrastinate on things, when I have conflicting feelings.. sort that out and you may find it easier to take action.

    or maybe you should ease up on your to-do list. Give yourself a break, go have a fun saturday day..

    or invite a group of friends over for pizza, brunch etc. but part of the deal is that they have to help you throw some stuff out..

  3. Bobbi

    oooo, i like the pizza idea. That would be fun and sometimes others can make you ‘see’ that some things really aren’t that important. I wish I lived nearby. I love to organize! Good luck!

  4. Margot

    Here’s the thing: Often, we expand our stress and how busy we are to fit whatever time we have. For example, I a friend with 1 child and a nanny who is just as stressed out as my friend with 6 children and no nanny, because the one with 1 child chooses to be stressed out and expands her limited daily responsibilities into far longer than they need to take. (There is interesting research on this, btw.) So, you’d get your moving-related tasks completed almost equally well if you only had 1 week to do them in or if you had a few months to stretch it over. So, instead of filling your life with needless stress for 6 weeks (and many weeks before that), I wonder if you could try to shove moving thoughts out of your mind other than pre-scheduled days or weeks that you decide to focus on the moving tasks.

  5. Jennifer

    That’s how I get with decluttering sometimes. I have a spare room that I open the door to often and mentally strategize about how I should “attack” it. I, too, anticipate moving in the coming months and really look forward to downsizing and moving; starting a new life and adventure (with my husband and daughter).

    My favorite way to declutter when it’s overwhelming is to take everything out of the space (yes, when I have a block of time) or just a section when I have less time. I’m ceaselessly amazed at how much I accomplish by doing this. Not only do you see more clearly to find new homes for certain items, thus getting them out of your home, but you are then able to put what’s left back more neatly. Even the same amount of stuff organized looks like less than when it’s scattered.

    It may only be a “round one” decluttering for that room (or not), but you can give yourself a huge head-start on your moving work load in just one good round. One day, don’t think about it too much, just start pulling it out and going through it. :)

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