Notes from a bitch…taking time for some spring-cleaning…

Ever been so busy…so booked and scheduled and over-committed…that you just let the junk that accumulates from living this thing called life pile up and tell yourself you’ll deal with it when you get a minute?
Yeah, me too!
Well, a couple of weeks ago I was accused by my roommate of cluttering up our living space.
I was pissed until I realized that I was indeed cluttering up our living space (damn it) and then realized that, because I was cluttering up my living space, I couldn’t issue the comeback to my accuser that she wasn’t exactly clutter-free her damn self (damn it again!) without sounding like a brat.
With those realizations my personal festival of spring-cleaning began.

I quickly realized that I haven’t done an all around spring clean in forever and a day. I had accumulated tons of what nots, most of which I can’t even remember from whence they came…oh, and then there are the mountains of paperwork that should have been shredded years ago and clothes in need of donating. I spent one day sorting and the other day hauling (I live on the third floor of a 115 year old Victorian, so the stairs are narrow and steep…translation – brutal on the body when hauling stuff, but hey at least I got a pretty solid work out.)
After the initial sort and haul, I moved on to my books.
I love books and my living space reflects that. As a matter of fact, it was the multiple piles of books (I tend to read several at one time) that triggered the accusation of cluttering that got this whole spring clean started! Going through my books and trying to decide which ones to keep and which ones to donate was painful…I didn’t want to let any of them go! But I knew deep down that some of my books could be put to better use at a local shelter than gathering dust up in my lair.
So, I sorted and hauled books down those steep and narrow stairs (damn Victorian architecture!!) until the task was done.
The last phase of the spring clean involved my online clutter.
I have a bad habit of saving emails and replies to emails and replies to the replies. Cleaning out my inbox was both embarrassing (I really could do a better job responding to folks in a timely manner…my bad) and refreshing (online clutter is distracting as hell!). I organized my documents and created folders…I sincerely hope I can remember what I put in them now that this cleaning bitness is done.
After the Great Spring Clean of 2010 was done I settled back to pause and reflect on the process.
De-cluttering makes is easier to see what needs to be done and to get it done. I no longer have to wade through a sea of emails I don’t need to find the emails I do need…and, after organizing my closet, I now know that I don’t need any more black pants (wink). My spring clean has also resulted in a revised to-do list now that I have a handle on all the stuff I forgot about that still needs doing!
Sorting and organizing is a great way to review where you’ve been and how you arrived at the present. I found it comforting and somewhat emotional to look through notebooks and read my thoughts over the past two years.
All in all, the Great Spring Clean of 2010 was a great way to hit the reset button on my hectic life.
As an activist I often find myself moving from one project to another with little time in between. I went from the 2008 elections to national health care reform (still not done with that one!) to working to defend reproductive justice on a state level and all without a pause.
Sometimes we’ve got to take some time…and I mean take it, because this world isn’t gonna hand it over easily….so that we can prepare for what’s next with work and life in balance and our roommates happy too.

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