Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Time Management Tuesday: A Merciless Purge

I bet you’re curious about what exactly I was doing this summer that required so much time and energy that I stopped working for two months. Well, one of the things I was doing was cleaning out an elderly family member’s house, one she’d lived in for more than fifty years. Now, this woman and her husband were not actual hoarders, mainly because they hadn’t bought anything since the nineteen-sixties. Superficially, the interior of their house looked normal. But they had accumulated a couple of generations worth of…ah…treasures. They never saw a family possession they didn’t think was a valuable collectible. I’ll spare you the details, because that whole mess is outside the scope of the time management feature.

However, this experience was intense and led us to initiate another purge of our own place.

Why Purge Possessions

This year we began with big stuff

I have written here before about:

The impact of our personal environment on our impulse control and our ability to control what we’re doing

How owning and caring for--or not caring for--a lot of things can take time and energy from work that means more to you than a bunch--a whole bunch--of knickknacks, bizarre dishes, old sports equipment, and the remains of every hobby you ever tried and tossed aside.
More big stuff
Working with that knowledge, in 2014 and again in 2015 here at Chez Gauthier we conducted October purges to make our environment more, I guess you could say, time effective. As a result of our experience this summer emptying that house full of things that should have been thrown away years ago, we decided to do another purge this year. And we couldn't wait for October. We started in August, and the plan was to be, as my husband put it, "merciless."

This Year's Purge

Side view of 2017 purged items

Front view of 2017 purged items
Ready for trip to transfer station
This year we included a lot of books, most of which will go to a library sale, family ceramics, some of which went to family, some of which will go to a church tag sale, glassware, and all the cassette tapes because why take care of old technology? I'm sorry, somehow I missed the picture that included the secondary chainsaw. Yes, we had two.

We had a workshop that was nearly unusable because of all the things stored in it. The same thing was true of the laundry/sewing room. And I know I'm not the only writer who moves from place to place in the house with her laptop, because her desk is covered with clutter and who has time to deal with that? Come on, I know I'm not the only one.  

A Different Result This Year

The big difference between this year's purge and other years' is that our month of purging ended, but we didn't stop. We're still working on the shelving in the living room. Wish I'd thought to take a before picture of that. We got rid of some items from the kitchen just this past week, and I have my eye on something in my office. In fact, some serious shuffling of office material could be in my future.

Also, the results are more obvious in a couple of rooms. There is a new work station in the workshop, for instance.

Of course, it remains to be seen how much imposing more order on our living environment will improve our work. But right now we're feeling as if we're getting more control of our surroundings, a step, I hope, to getting control of life again.


tanita✿davis said...

We decided against buying another house... so we're renting, and moving. It helps with the purging. I don't want to carry this crapola, so away it goes.

I don't know how long this will work well, but for now... it works. I just assume I'm dying, and someone else will have to sort this nonsense... makes it that much easier to call someone to carry it away. I also had a class with Victor LaValle during MFA days, and he always says, "The genius is within." We don't need half the reference books and objects to be good writers, so I got rid of six boxes of books. That hurt, frankly, but I'm lighter... of course, Cybils is on, so we'll see how long the loss of those books lasts, but...

Gail Gauthier said...

We want to move in a couple of years, and we keep asking ourselves, "Will we bring this thing to the new place? No?" That means we don't need it in our lives now.