Monday, January 9, 2017


This weekend I went out with my friend Eric and he floated the idea of having me (and a couple other people) help him reboot his apartment. He needs some help purging and reorganizing what's left, and he thinks I have a pretty sweet deal going when it comes to organization in my own space.

I guess he's right. Everyone compliments me on my filing systems and everything-in-its-place home. My sister even gaped at my freezer over the holidays and commented on its perfect organization. I mean, it's not like the veggie burgers and frozen pizzas are in alphabetical order or anything, but yes, it's organized practically so I can reach and see everything, and there are no mysterious foil-wrapped packages that no one can identify. I am the only person who lives in my space, and everything more or less stays where I put it. I almost never lose stuff. I can almost always immediately find a piece of paper from 20 years ago if I'm looking for it. I really like it that way.

However, I don't tend to throw much away at all. I just organize it. I have sometimes done practical stuff like box up items I legitimately never use, but I still rarely throw things away. I've tried in recent years to become better at purging, and I can do it if I have to, but I prefer not to. some people acknowledge that even though I'm very organized, I also have a lot of what looks like "clutter."

Now that I'm leaving my job after ten years, my office is in a similar state. (And this is not a function of my personal organizing preferences. We keep a lot of stuff here that we don't really have to, by design.) I'm in the process of helping sort the files we have into "keep" and "purge," and I've got to say that while I'm doing it, I really wish we'd done it when we were still staying here. This place would have been so cool to work in if we'd purged like this and then gone on with our lives working out of this space.

Too bad.

I'm going through a lot of changes in my personal life, as you can imagine. I've worked at my current job since before I lived at my current apartment, and both it's been about ten years. Ten years of the same thing. Living in the same place, living the same way. I'm not tired of it and I wish it could stay the same. But now I have to change my job, and chances are very good that I will end up either living pretty far from where I'm working or having to move to be closer to work. (Most of the firms looking for a position like my old one are downtown, and that's almost TWO HOURS away from me by bus. ONE WAY. I do NOT want to spend FOUR HOURS of my life every day dealing with the public transit system.) So there's a possibility that if I get a job downtown, I'll end up moving to be closer to there, and will have to purge and pack up in my own home too. Yikes!

I'm getting a little ahead of myself, obviously. I haven't been offered a job (well, haven't been offered a job that I want to take) as such, so planning what I'll do isn't really practical yet. But considering the options, I will probably end up working downtown and will probably have to either move or get a car. Hard for a hippie like me to think about owning one, but it wouldn't be difficult for me to afford a car. There'd just be the whole logistics of getting one when I've never owned one before, and like, learning to drive it. Until then, I have dependable ways to get around but they aren't as desirable as either owning my own transportation or living close enough to not have to worry about that.

There's something exciting about a clean slate, of course. And I can appreciate it. But when you're actually going through it, it's very stressful too. I hate moving with a passion, and part of the reason I do is that I'm so organized. I hate things being in disarray. I hate them being in transit, in transition, in progress. So when I move, I tend to be really aggressive about unpacking, basically killing myself to settle in and get everything just so. I hardly slept when I first moved to my current apartment in 2007, and I lost a lot of weight because of the stress and distraction. I spent so much time and energy organizing for permanence--putting shelves into cabinets manually (like, I got out a saw and made shelves!), crying over stud finders to put up wall hangings, lining drawers with contact paper, getting my closets and drawers in perfect order, all kinds of nonsense.  

And I label my boxes obsessively so I know what to unpack first.
But sometimes, having change thrust upon you does help you take inventory of what you need and what you want to have going forward. It can make you take a more practical, realistic look at your material possessions and even push you into evaluating certain aspects of your life that you may not have realized were no longer useful to you in a less material sense.

I'm not sure how much purging I'm going to be looking at, but it will necessarily be at least some. We'll see how extensive it will be as time rolls on.  

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you're going through so much stress!

    I hate packing too. Haven't moved for a few years, but did do mini-moves back and forth between my dorms at university and home. Mini-stress everywhere.

    I'm sure if you do have to move, your new place will be as amazing as the last. Maybe more so! :D (too much optimism?)

    Wishing you the best of luck with everything. I hope a great job calls soon :D