Hissy Fit - August 2020 - Milk: It Goes In the Fridge

...because everyone needs one every once in awhile


August 2020 Issue
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen

In the midst of Covid, which in the privacy of my own mind I am certainly having a hissy fit about, on paper I am having not only a hissy fit, but also a conniption, about clutter. Specifically, the clutter in my garage, my home office, my work office, my closet,
my mail…ok, let’s just agree to say my life.

Clutter and I do not get along, though it follows me everywhere I go. We don’t get along because I am a Virgo, and Virgos demand order. In fact, according to parade.com, “Virgo energy focuses on control, purification and organization. Imagine a bookshelf that needs sorting, and you’ll find a virgo categorizing by color, book title and author, usually just for fun.

Obviously, I’ve been gypped, and I feel a little taken advantage of by my astrological sign. I have the inner need to be that Virgo who organizes a bookshelf like a boss, but somehow my innate Virgo skills have eluded me. Now I sit looking at a pile of books on my desk, of which I want and plan to read them all, but in the meantime, where do they go? I am crazy good at throwing things away, as well as putting things away if it is obvious where they go—for instance, milk goes in the refrigerator. However, the clutter which tortures me is the ambiguous stuff that can be stored in a multitude of places. These possessions get put into piles and move around the house like a nomad.

And then there is the stuff that I really don’t want any more, but it’s too good to toss or donate, or I may need it one day, even though I haven’t used it in five years. This dilemma is the main cause of Analysis Paralysis, which is another affliction Virgos are blessed with. Parade.com explains the condition as, “Virgos want to make a million decisions down to the last little detail but are sometimes unable to move.” I call this being overwhelmed—plain and simple. To me organizing is a it-has-to-get-worse-before-it-gets-better job. The only way my brain can process it is by pulling everything out, going through it, and putting it back in.

But The Flylady (flylady.net), a master organizer, clutter conqueror and finder of peace in a mess, advises that the gradual approach is easier for us to stomach and offers more long-lasting results. “We teach you to declutter for 15 minutes a day, clear out a hot spot and do a 27 Fling Boogie to release your clutter in baby steps. We don’t tell you to back a truck up to the front door and start pitching. That is very difficult. Even the thought of it tears us up on the inside. When we take the gradual approach it gives our eyes, brains and bodies time to adjust to little changes. The clutter got there a little at a time, and you can and will get rid of it one bag or box at a time.”

The beep-beep-beep sound of a truck backing up to my front door is my dream. I thrive on the all or none approach. But maybe the 27 Fling Boogie is a way to avoid analysis paralysis.

The FlyLady explains this on her website: “We had clutter everywhere. I needed a fun way to get rid of it. With some fun music to energize me, I would grab a bag and gather up 27 items to throw away. Then I would gather up 27 items to give away! The one rule you have to remember is the bag of trash has to go into the garbage can immediately. The give away items have to go to your car immediately. As the clutter left our home, it made it easier to do my simple routines.”

It's funny how analysis paralysis never applies to going out to buy organizational supplies. Oh how I love matching containers in all sizes, cute labels, a label maker, drawer organizers and the like. I say this as I sit looking at five matching containers, four empty and one with three miniature American flags in it—on top of those aforementioned books. My plan was to put small holiday stuff in each container—hence the flags—and stack them neatly in the cabinets in the laundry room.

I ran into a couple of problems here. First, I realized the three flags for July 4 are the only holiday items I have that aren’t in the attic, which means I’m naturally perplexed, a.k.a. analysis paralysis. The other problem is the containers—all five of them—don’t fit in the cabinet where I was planning on putting them. What I have here is a failure to operate. I don’t know where to put all this shizza, which rhymes with pizza, which goes in the freez-a!

There are substantial benefits to decluttering, including reducing anxiety, seeing yourself as competent, freeing your mind, saving money, finding lost treasures and even reducing family/relationship tension. For me the biggest benefit will be overcoming my overwhelmedness. My inner Virgo is thrilled at the possibilities, especially my ceasing to tarnish the Virgo mantra—Do it right, or Don’t do it at all! Well, so far, at least lived up to half that.

And by the way, if you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop by and do the 27 Fling Boogie with me. Anything with a name like that has to be fun.

Source: Parade.com; FlyLady.net; Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley, The FlyLady