Tuesday’s Top Ten: Collections of Clutter
I’m still trying to clean up my mess. No, I have not yet read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I will, I promise. After Chuck Wendig, L.A. Witt, and Heidi Cullinan. I promise.
When searching for ways to declutter, I’ve noticed several collections that, over time, have become clutter. I thought I had done well by tossing my old crafting stuff, like candle gel, hot glue guns, and yarn. I just don’t have the time to screw around like I once did.
Unfortunately, other collections have also become clutter. Media, apparel, writing tools, and even organizational tools now clutter the corners, drawers, and back rooms. I admit, it’s going to be very hard to trash some of my top ten collections of clutter:
10. Note cards. The best part about writing research papers. One of my favorite tools in Write It Now 4. Oh, neat, I have digital note cards now. That’s how my collection of cards became USELESS CLUTTER.
9. Notebooks. Every back to school sale, I was there, buying 10 notebooks for $1. It got so bad I could stack more notebooks by laying them flat on the shelf than standing them up, so I did. When that pile overflowed, I knew I had a problem. The sheer physicality of filling those notebooks would scar me for life. I already have a writing bump the size of a pine nut. Writing a novel by hand is a thing of the past.
I still journal by hand, but I’ll probably never fill a whole 8 1/2 x 11″ notebook with prose again. When a friend asked us to donate school supplies, I gave away half of my stash. And if you can write in notebooks like the ones below without breaking their binding, making them looseleaf notebooks, more power to you. I would gladly ship you a box of blank notebooks if you would pay for shipping.
8. Pens/Highlighters/Colored Pencils. Once, I thought I was an artist. I took ONE CLASS. It was fun, but I’m no artist. I still have supplies, though. Tons of colored pencils and a sketch book. The sketchbook is priceless because it reminds me of college. The art supplies…they’re just pencils. I also have a whole box of Pilot G2 pens that I will never use. They’ve been through a winter. If you’ve ever let a G2 get below freezing, you know what I mean. Worthless. I can’t bring myself to throw them away, though. Maybe another school supply drive? (Yes, I am THAT horrible bitch, the one who donates shit that doesn’t work to school kids.)
7. Shoes. I used to wear nice things. I once had at least 40 pairs of shoes in my closet. I loved shoes. They were so pretty. Then, I met Lemur. In college, Lemur had no idea. I only had maybe six pairs at school. The rest were at home, waiting. He came to visit me one summer and said, “Wow. Is the floor made of shoes? You…might have a problem.” Shoes were not a deal breaker, but over the years, I’ve kept it to two pairs of running shoes (indoor and outdoor) and sixteen pairs of work shoes/boots. Yes, that still seems like a lot. I’m trying, okay? The worst part of the clutter is the boxes. We keep the boxes, so even if I toss out a pair of shoes, the box will be around for just the right fit for many Christmases to come. Lemur is just as bad, and his feet are twice as big, so this is what my walk-in closet looks like:
6. Christmas decorations. The other half of my walk-in closet is filled with costumes (YAY!) and Christmas decorations (boo). We are never home for Christmas. We are also that couple who doesn’t want to advertise. You know, so we don’t get robbed. I’m not saying we live in a bad part of town, but the cops drive down our street a lot more now that there’s been a murder-suicide and a huge pot-growing operation bust. (SOUTH SIDE FOR LIFE!!!) Hey, it could be worse. We could be this homeowner:
5. Books. Books are important. I’m a writer. Books teach me to be a better writer. However, I don’t reread books. Nothing against people who do, I’m just not going to learn anything new about my craft if I keep reading the same book over and over and over again. I’m going to learn about THAT writer’s craft, which could be detrimental to my own. So, I have a Kindle and two walls full of shiny paperweights. (Except for the top two shelves, which are old books from my grandma’s attic.) Some I keep for sentimental value. Some I keep because they are goddamn good books and I might pick them up to find a particular scene and reread it. But, let’s be honest, the only scenes I’ve reread are from A Song of Ice and Fire, or Sookie Stackhouse novels, to see if I’m just fucking crazy, or if HBO rewrote history.
4. Mc Donald’s Happy Meal Shit. I was the grill girl for four years of college. I knew I didn’t want kids, and I kept the happy meal shit anyway. I have plates from Hercules. All six! And beanie babies, still in their happy meal packaging. They weren’t worth anything when they were produced. They’re still worthless now. What the hell was I thinking?
3. Paintings, Wall Hangings, and Posters. I love wall art. Words and sayings. Movie posters. My grandma’s paint-by-number collection. The little Queen collage I printed on my bubble-jet printer my junior year. I love them all. So why are they sitting behind the door of my library, collecting dust? We have tons of wall space, but we also have a plaster-walled house. Lemur is afraid to hang anything on the walls, not because the frames would shatter, but because the wall would break apart. Okay, he has a point. But now I have empty walls and a collection of wall art that looks like it belongs in a home store bin.
2. DVDs. Remember the days of the VHS tapes? Renting a video was so passe. We had to own the movies we loved. And then we had to buy them again on DVD. And Blu-Ray. What a waste of money. Now, we have Netflix AND Amazon Prime. I’ve also grown out of watching a movie over and over a million times, too. Remember my comment about learning one writer’s craft? I am well-versed in the way Steven Spielberg makes movies, and in the way George Lucas sometimes fucks them up. I think it was the fifth or sixth special edition of Star Wars that completely turned me off of buying another DVD ever again. However, some television series are only available on certain carriers, like Hulu Plus, and some are just so good that we want to give them more money, like Game of Thrones, so never say never. Besides, more and more shows are going straight to streaming video, unlike poor Mia Wallace’s pilot.
1. CDs. Music, on the other hand, is available anywhere. Unless it’s Metallica, but FUCK Metallica. They were only good for two albums, anyway, and we fucking own them already. I fear the day that they get rid of stand-alone CD drives, because then I won’t be able to convert music to MP3s. Until then, I’m burning every CD I ever bought, and converting it to Prime. As I mentioned, not all songs convert, but when they do, they’re free! (ish. Prime costs money. I get that.)
The hard part is letting them go. I own Queen’s Crown Jewels. The CD covers are designed like mini albums. It’s a very cool collectible. Not to mention the fact that I also own four vintage Queen vinyl albums. Where does one without a record player store vinyl? They’re on a bookshelf. Seriously.
These are my biggest sticking points when it comes to clutter. What are yours?