Hissy Fit - June 2016

Cancel My Subscription I Have Too Many Issues


I have lived in my home for 14 years. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I left home for college. The good news is I have the luxury of feeling settled in my home. The bad news is so does all of the stuff that has accumulated in 14 years.

This column is called Hissy Fit because it’s about things that bother me or make me mad. No one has made me mad. Well, they have, I’m just not writing about them…yet. What has me in a tizzy this month is stuff. To be exact: Too. Much. Stuff. I’m talking about clutter, piles, stashes, heaps and massive amounts of shhh…stuff. They are total energy suckers!

In the 80s there was a popular t-shirt that touted, “She who dies with the most toys wins.” Balderdash! What it didn’t tell you is the grotesque collection of said toys would be the cause of death!

I am at my wit’s end, mainly because my wit has no place to fit in my house, car, or life and I know I have a Ping-Pong table, I just can’t find it. I’m even using words like balderdash because the accumulation of stuff is making me nonsensical and also because I’m considering whether or not to keep or toss the game of the same name.

Which brings me to the New York Times bestseller, Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. I haven’t read it yet, but I read the back cover and already feel defeated. It is about getting your life in order by completely de-cluttering, based on a proven Japanese method, and only keeping things that spark joy in your life; I’m pretty sure my house would be barren if I tossed things out based on that theory, but I’m keeping a joyful open mind.

The book apparently has a how-to page on the proper way to fold t-shirts. I know how to fold t-shirts. Here’s my problem: I don’t know where to put them once folded because I can barely close the drawers as is. Thank God for closets!
Anyway, I’m not fully sold on following a Japanese method for de-cluttering. I’m just saying for the record, I am not willing to give up chairs around the supper table or forks. In other words, the Oneida stays.

I am super stressed out because it’s not just my house I’m thinking about. It’s my mom’s, too. She has lived there since 1967. She has Cool Whip containers older than my college degree…and she’s a saver. Yep. Straight outta the Great Depression. To top it off, she is convinced the one thing she decides to get rid of (if we can find one thing) will be THE one thing worth a million dollars. Inhale. Exhale. Very. Very. Slowly.

So the book says to have a ritual in getting rid of things. Hold what you are getting rid of, acknowledge it’s time of service, thank it and wish it well to now serve others. I actually told my mother this the other day. Did I mention she is 85 years old? Her response, “What are you talking about?”

However, I can envision the interaction: Mom and I in her kitchen. I pull out a stack of 37 disposable tin pie plates, which never were meant to be saved in the first place—they are disposable. A piecrust came in them. The pie has been gone for 17 years. The pie plate is still here.

Me: “Mom, we need to say goodbye to these pie plates.”
Mom: “Why?”
Me: “Because you don’t need 37 pie plates and they are taking up space, causing clutter.
Mom: “I don’t see them unless I open the cabinet.”
Me: “Yes, but you don’t need them.” You’re supposed to thank them for their service and let them go.”
Mom: “You want me to talk to a pie plate and tell it thank you?”
Me: “The book says you will feel better about throwing them out if you acknowledge they were good to you.”
Mom: “Were they good to me?”
Me: “They must have been. You’ve kept them a long time.”
Mom: “I’m not going to talk to pie plates, so just put them back and let’s move on.”

I’m determined to eradicate clutter in my house, because unlike Mom, I am not attached to pie plates. In fact, I wish I had saved pie plates because I would get up right now, throw them away and cross my arms because I am a de-cluttering badass. I can’t wait to plow through this house and the piles of stuff shutter in despair as I approach.

Goodbye old sheets and towels. See you later stacks of mail. You are so out of here old shoes. Hey paper…consider yourself purged. OK bundles of books… Wait! Not my books. I forgot about books, stationery, wine glasses and kitchen gadgets. They can’t go.

I know I own so many read and unread books that I never need to log on to Amazon again; but surely I will, of course, buy another book in my lifetime. (I am going to read them!) As far as stationery, I have enough note cards to thank the entire Academy. (They’re so pretty!) OMG…there are 70 wine glasses in the cabinet. (I seriously used them all a week ago…Party!) I’m keeping all of my kitchen gadgets. (I need them. I cook sometimes.) And, it’s official; I’m keeping Balderdash, too. (It sparks joy. Granted, I haven’t played it in 10 years, but when I do…So. Much. Joy!)

Oh dear! I definitely need the Japanese de-cluttering book. (Am I really buying another book before the end of this article?) Somebody please cancel my Amazon subscription. Obviously, I have too many issues!


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