[Disclaimer: I am going to use the word ‘pregnant’ in this post. This in no way means I am pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or wanting to become pregnant. Mom.]
You know that instinct that surges in pregnant women called ‘nesting’? Where they wake up one morning and decide to spruce everything up like little happy birds, clean out every nook and cranny, and make sure everything is just so for the impending arrival of new life? Is there an equivalent instinct in non-pregnant women? I suppose we could call it “purging” or “decluttering,” or, following the current trend sweeping across social media, the “KonMari Method,” from the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Growing up, my mom simply called it, “throwing shit away,” and if you need a book to tell you how to do that, I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems but clutter ain’t one.
Though, recently, I’ve noticed that it kind of is a problem. I woke up one morning with the (admittedly totally-batshit-insane) thought that, “If we had to move to Paris today, we would have too much shit to bring with us, we couldn’t do it, how would it all fit on a shipping crate?” I looked around, and felt smothered. My house suddenly felt like a mix of the Collyer Brothers brownstone and Grey Gardens. Who needs this many DVDs anymore? Why do we have three mostly-empty bottles of shaving cream under the sink next to cough syrup that expired in 2014? Where did all of this stuff come from? How do I get rid of it??
So the past week has found me decluttering and non-nesting like a fiend. On Monday night, I had the totally normal urge to pull the stove out from the wall and vacuum behind it, as well as wipe down the sides. I’ve boxed up a ton of kitchen stuff (tiny coffee maker we bought at Walgreens but have never used? Buh-bye!) to take to a donation center, threw away a handful of old kitchen utensils (gross spatula in the back of the drawer that had partially melted? See ya!), tossed a Vanity Fair from 2003 I’ve been holding on to (I love JFK Jr. and Carolyn as much as the next person, but saving a 12 year old magazine isn’t doing anybody any good) and took a stack of DVDs to sell at FYE. I made a paltry $8, but it isn’t even about the money. I just don’t want it in my house anymore. I took some old purses and nicer clothes to a consignment store, and have another round ready to go next week. All those tiny samples I’ve accumulated from Sephora and Macy’s that I’ve never used? Gone. All those comfortable old underwear we keep even though the elastic is stretched or they’re starting to rip? (Admit it, you have these, too) Trash. Books? Books are proving harder to part with than I expected, but I have a small stack to take to a used bookstore, and my fiend Jess took a few, too. Borrowing books from the library has been an enormous help, too.
Am I alone in this? Is this just spring cleaning a season early? I wonder if there’s not some larger cultural shift, where, because we’re so digital these days (does anyone print photographs anymore? Or are they all stored on your hard drive?), it’s spilling over into other parts of my life, too.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I have some more closets to go purge.