Marla Cilley, AKA The FlyLady, has a wonderful website, full of encouragement on keeping house, decluttering, loving your family, and loving yourself. She offers daily emails to help you take control of your laundry, hot spots (clutter spots), dinner plans, and housecleaning. There are clever names, like “5 Minute Room Rescue” and “Weekly Home Blessing Hour.” You can check her out at http://www.flylady.com. Somehow, I heard about this lady and jumped right on the FlyLady bandwagon, drinking in those daily emails, thinking there was someone out there who UNDERSTANDS and was ON MY SIDE in trying to keep track of all the details of running a home.
One of her cute titles has to do with clutter: “The 27-Fling Boogie.” You are supposed to take a trashbag, walk through your house, and pick up 27 things you can throw away right now. I was able to do this, like, once. After that, I became effectively paralyzed as all my anti-de-cluttering mental recordings turned themselves up LOUD in order to be heard.
“You may NEED that some day and you won’t HAVE it anymore.”
“Your CHILD made that, for crying out loud. HOW could you even THINK about throwing it AWAY?”
“Your MOTHER gave you that, for crying out loud. HOW could you even THINK about throwing it AWAY? Don’t you LOVE her?”
“You can’t throw THAT away. It’s from that SPECIAL EVENT that you attended when that SPECIAL THING happened! What are you THINKing?”
“You know you will throw that away and then wish NEXT WEEK you had it!”
“Remember that thing you threw away 15 years ago and wished you had later? That will probably happen again if you throw anything away. Beware!”
“It’s perfectly good and can certainly be used or fixed.”
“Ooo. That might be worth some MONEY. You better keep it.”
“They just don’t make ’em like this anymore. You’ll never be able to get another one as good as this.”
“That cost WAAAAY too much money to get rid of.”
“No, it doesn’t matter that you don’t like it anymore. It cost WAAAAY too much money to get rid of.”
“Someday my children will want to read this letter from my friend.”
“I know they never knew her, but it will be meaningful to them just because it belonged to me.”
“So I can’t throw it away, or any of the other 100 letters from this friend.”
By the time I experience the slings and darts of these accusations, I drop my trash bag, slump my shoulders in defeat, and trudge back up the stairs, convinced I will never get rid of anything as long as I live.
In the meantime, FlyLady’s encouraging emails start to get annoying, so I switch to “daily digest” and then finally, “no email.”
In this phase, I have bravely gotten rid of about 8 ounces of clutter, mostly papers that I could trash because I don’t need them anymore.
Somehow, I don’t think that is what FlyLady is envisioning when she talks about “decluttering” your house. Sigh. How will I ever get rid of this junk?