There are two terrible things about this time of year: (1) The awful PSAs warning us that giving children baby bunnies and chicks for Easter is a way to enlist children in committing the murder of baby bunnies and chicks, and (2) the call for Spring Cleaning.
I’ve already come across several check lists and almost a dozen articles about the healthy ritual of cleaning your shit out as it gets warmer.
Listen, Women’s Magazines, I get it. If I clean out my junk drawers and my sorry-ass lingerie corner in my “delicates” drawer, I will have more creativity, better sex, and improved relationships with everyone on the planet. If I don’t do it now, soon it will be summer and I will have missed my window of opportunity to clean during the proper season.
But you know what? Every time I attack an area of my house, I have to deal with the emotional side of my detritus. Those old legal papers? Wait, if I throw those out, I have to confront my shifty (and shifting) relationship to the legal world. Maybe I’m just not up for all that when I finally get 10 minutes to myself.
And don’t even get me started on the truly emotional stuff. Take maternity clothes. Hey, Martha Stewart, you think it’s easy to box up those panel pants and give them to someone else who might actually grow a baby in her womb? It’s not. Giving that pile of stuff away may free up precious ounces of mental and physical space, but also? It means I am admitting to myself and to the Salvation Army that I am no longer accepting applications for boarders in my body. Please excuse me if I avoid this a little longer even though it violates the Spring Cleaning mandate.
The kids’ toys? Same issue. When I get rid of those baby board books, to you, Real Simple, it looks like creating flow and space. It will give me room to craft and preserve artisanal pickles for my neighbors. To me, however, it means that there are no longer babies chewing up books in my house. My years of mothering babies who never seem to remember what the Brown Bear saw are over.
Maybe I need a personal organizer with also has a psychology degree. Better yet, one with a medical degree so she can dispense medication straight into my bloodstream as I pack up my son’s overalls (size 9 mos) or my daughter’s 46 baby blankets.
Still, I’ve been casting around for something I would be willing to clean/remove/declutter. I am willing to make a start and to wade into those murky emotional waters and stir up the pot of nostalgia.
So, I’m starting with email. As you can see, that I’m a bit of an email hoarder:
I just deleted it all. My new inbox:
Now, if you will excuse me I am going to apply a cold compress to my head and try not to think about the hundreds of emails from Zappos, J.Crew, Facebook, and Twitter that I just flushed into oblivion. I can hear my therapist’s voice in my head asking me how I feel about this.
Quick, who’s got a great synonym for EMPTY?