Saturday, May 5, 2007

Confessions of a failed Flylady

Whenever I make a to-do list, 'get organized' is on there somewhere.

The list itself is an effort to tame the chaos in my life. HGTV's line up of programming includes several devoted to getting people organized, eliminating clutter, following the ideal: 'a place for everything and everything in its place.' I watch avidly as these people de-clutter their entire house and life in only a half-hour.

Definitely not reality TV.

Admittedly, I feel much calmer, more in control, more creative when I can reach out and find exactly what I want. No sorting through stacks of papers or magazines, no emptying contents out of a drawer, no retracing steps in hopes that I will remember where I put the darn thing. I enjoy being organized, I don't enjoy 'getting' organized.

And then there is the worry of discarding something valuable -- I've watched too many Antiques Roadshow segments. I would have thrown out that ugly blanket worth millions, or the cast iron toy with the paint flaking off. Anything that looked like the 1950s -- gone. The old programs and playbills -- trash.

A couple of years ago, we faced a job relocation. The necessity to downsize to fit into a new house resulted in our first and only garage sale -- a massive thing. Thirty years of my life laid out on tables in the garage and spilling out into the driveway. Clothes I'd hung onto for three decades, my children's toys and books. Did I mention they are adults, now?

My cousin, an expert garage sailor (as in she sails through garage sales finding the most amazing bargains), came to help. If anyone knew what prices to ask, how to arrange, what to sell, she did. After all she is the one who just visited a sale and came home with a like-new couch, two end tables, a lamp and a glass statue for less than it would cost to buy the glass statue new. While I was crying over 'things', she zipped through the sale items, putting like items together, pricing groups rather than individual items (all glasses are five cents, all books 25 cents, that kind of thing).

People came and pawed and some even bought. But at the end of the sale we had a truck load to take to a thrift shop. By that time sentimental attachment had been replaced by a 'just get rid of it' attitude. I didn't give a darn about the Antiques Roadshow and the million dollar trash that I could be giving away.

As my husband and I unloaded the truck, a strange thing began to happen. I felt lighter. My energy returned as the boxes disappeared into the building. By the time we jumped in the cab to head home to the empty garage, I had lost pounds of burden off of my shoulders.

Free of clutter, free of responsibility for all of those things, I could feel the difference. My step was lighter, my smile a little brighter.

I know the same feelings come when weight is lost whether it be in the form of things or fat.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I'm on a diet challenge. Last week I felt the pounds melting away. Last week I ate the salads, worked the treadmill, drank the water, and today, I must get on the scales. One thing stands between me and success -- that damn pizza and beer I wolfed down last night in a moment of weakness.

So what is the verdict? Did I lose? Did I (God forbid) gain? Did I just stay the same?

Scales are a fearful thing.

Maybe I'll go clean out a couple of drawers; a closet or two; my crap, I mean craft room, instead.

Interested in decluttering tips? Visit:

P.S. I lost five pounds.