Only Child clears the clutter

Only Child in part f her office where it is neat and tidy

Only Child in part of her office where it is neat and tidy

One of my friends is on the big paper purge at her place. She is doing it full time. I may get in a few minor sorting jobs – such as old magazines weekday evenings. However, I concentrate on bigger purges in my “spare time” on weekends  when I dig a little more into eliminating the clutter at my place. Weekends before garbage collection, I focus on “garbage,” and weekends before recycling I hit the paper “collection.” The latter and some electronic stuff are the bulk of my physical clutter. The rest have been purged over many years.

A lot of this paper pileup is old journalism stories (notes for published and unpublished story ideas). I don’t need all this anymore, especially as I no longer write feature stories – my writing focus is fiction, memoir, personal essays, and book reviews. Most of the first two is in book form. The other paper clutter is old editing client files. The delay with both (besides my time problems) is for safety and security reasons as you can’t just pitch it all into the recycling bin. So I rip them up – faster than shredding and I can’t afford to have one of those big shredder companies in a big truck come here to do the job.

My criteria for rip and dump is based on my late mother’s when we were downsizing from house to apartment. She tore me away from reading an Agatha Christie mystery novel to downstairs where she had big cartons of paper sitting on the laundry room floor. She pointed to the one with my school stuff and asked, “What do you want to keep here?”

I’ve changed her criteria slightly to “What do I still need here?

When that weekend’s clearing job is done, I look at the de-cluttered areas and feel like a weight has been removed. I’m not fighting files in a drawer (well, that drawer anyway). I have to keep going back to look at the emptiness and cleanliness. I’ve also learned that de-cluttering has another function for me.

Cleaning and de-cluttering even small areas of my place gives me some control. That is especially welcome when I have very little control over all the crap coming at me – house repairs and replacements that I can’t afford – the labour let alone the parts. I’ll be hitting some of the little left in the RRSPs this spring for money to pay for the most urgent repairs and replacements. Then there is my time. With no partner, time and money are barely there some days.

I’m really tired of having to do and organize everything myself (and pay for it too). So, a little bit of clearing the clutter goes a long way to give me back some control of an environment out of control.

The latter also means weather but that’s a topic for another post.

Comments on what clearing your clutter does for you?


Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes



Filed under Aloneness, Clutter, Home and Garden, Living alone, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Time management

2 responses to “Only Child clears the clutter

  1. Sharon —

    My lifestyle and my creative muse are one in the same—minimalism. For me, minimalism is enjoying the beauty of a wabi-sabi life; a lifestyle where inessentials are trimmed away. Minimalism resides at the intersection where wabi (minimal) and sabi (functional) meet. A beautiful life with fewer things—simple, yet full.


    Hi Sharon – Your comments really resonate with me this week.I have been getting rid of “stuff” for the past year. I am learning what is really important to me, among material things. I have gone from a 3 bedroom condo, which I haven’t lived in for over a year, to now sharing a room with one of my granddaughters. My photographs are the things I most want to work on and have in order. It bothers me a lot to think of dying without having completed that job, because that job is the key to leaving a book that will tell my descendants after I am long gone what was important to me. I have a photo album that Kathy gave me at Christmas that I have divided into sections -CWL, SCOUTING, places that were important to me, friends (A picture of you and Martin is in that section), etc. I crave orderliness, and now that most of the stuff I accumulated over the years is in a self-storage unit, I am forced to decide what is really important. I have been a hoarder of books, craft kits and “collectables”, yarn and fabric. Now I am deciding which of these “treasures” I really can use.

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