It usually begins in a quiet moment with my eyes surveying my castle, and suddenly, like an itch with an overwhelming urge to scratch, I get this strong feeling—I have to clean, get rid of clutter, get rid of stuff NOW! I usually start slow by subtracting a few things from my mantel, kitchen table or coffee table. This is the warm up part of de-cluttering. I gather steam and move on to the junk door, my clothes closet or my crafting storage. This morning I was compelled to organize my yarn and crochet thread and to store them in the same spot. I have a shitload of yarn! This is very obvious when I can see it all together. I pick up a lot at the thrift store, and just recently I figured out that if I buy a bag I can take out what I want and give the rest of the yarn bag back to the cashier to re-donate. This is a small step for me to cut back on what I bring home. After all who needs 3 balls of yarn the color of vomit green? Apparently I do!
The amount of clothes and the number of shoes I have is embarrassing. So now my thinking is is, “If I die and my possessions need to be sorted and gotten rid of will my relatives think it is obscene how many shoes or clothes I had. Will they think I may have been a little weird?”. Sure that both of these questions would be answered with a resounding yes, last weekend I set out to purge my closet by 50%. Bags and bags of clothes and boxes of shoes, purses and hangers left my house and were donated to the thrift store. The number of hangers was testimony to my addiction to always having the perfect clothes for every occasion. I don’t have “casket” clothes anymore, but I am going to be cremated so why should I care?
I survived without going to the thrift store for over a year during the pandemic. I had enough yarn, crochet thread and craft supplies to keep me busy for the entire year. I lived in sweats and comfortable clothes during the pandemic. Just when I was feeling good that I had conquered my need to have more and more, the stores began to open up. Once I set foot in the thrift stores again, I was off and running on my path of consumption. I was disappointed in myself because I thought I was resolved to live simply and frugally. I needed to remember what I had learned during the pandemic, and my mindset needed to be enough is enough —or wait for another pandemic to make up my mind for me.
So what did I learn during the pandemic? I learned there is a real difference between need and want. I need food, water, shelter and human contact, but I don’t have “to dress the part” even though I want to. I lived fashionably with my “pandemic clothes”, using just one tenth of my usual wardrobe. Walks and long talks with my friends filled my “social calendar” and my heart and soul. All the “stuff” I had couldn’t protect me from a deadly virus or from myself. All the things in my life didn’t stop my worry about those I loved. I was thankful that I was able to crochet my way through Covid because of my yarn stash, but I barely made a dent in my mountain of yarn that was in danger of an avalanche. I’ve decided my clutter is the rubble caused by my life falling apart. The falling apart is what needed to happen for me to create my post pandemic life. A life without excessive consumption and clutter.