Look, Ma, I’m a mountain climber!

When I was growing up, Mom and Dad’s house–my house–was always cluttered (usually by some activity directly relating to my brother and me).

First it was the plastic toys, dozens of stuffed animals, every Lego and Duplo block imaginable.

As Ryan and I entered elementary school, then it was the invasion of Mom’s PTA stuff. Copy paper boxes full of newsletters and handouts, piles of paperwork.

When we got a bit older, the house started to seem even smaller. Clutter was everywhere.

So when I was 16, we moved. Into a house with THREE WHOLE TIMES the square footage but, somehow, even less storage space.

Next thing you knew, it was the scrapbooking storm of ‘aught two. Mom and I set up work tables. There were scraps of paisley paper (coordinating striped paper on the reverse!), little metal brads and wooden stamps everywhere.

That segued nicely into the wedding event of the century, headquartered in–you guessed it–Mom and Dad’s house. Cobalt glassware rested on every surface. Thanksgiving dinner 2006, we all ate with bolts of tulle on our laps and boxes of personalized napkins and matchbooks under our feet.

Is it any wonder, then, that when Jeff and I established our own household, I have always been militantly anti-clutter? My home is my sanctuary, and though I might not be the best one at dusting or washing the windows, I was always ruthless in my mess prevention policies.

So then this? This? Is not acceptable:

at all.

Folks, meet my garage sale pile. In our small apartment, literally the *only* place for it is the middle of the living room floor.

Last week I started pulling too-short pants from the back of the closet, old shoes from under the bed, and ‘vintage’ appliances out of the kitchen drawers. Tucked away in their hidey holes among our 450 square foot home, it didn’t seem like much. But here, out in the open, it’s a lot. It’s suffocating me.

Coupled with the moving boxes, I can hardly stand to be in my own house–and that’s not a fun feeling. Last night as I stood on a box of wire hangers and surveyed the mess under my feet, I told Jeff, “The garage sale must happen this weekend.”

He gingerly stepped over a box of lava lamps and sci-fi paperbacks, just in time to catch me as I stumbled from my perch. As he opened his mouth to reply, his foot caught in the canvas strap of an old shopping bag and, tripping, he nearly impaled himself on a set of mismatched butter knives. I retrieved Othello from his nest amidst a pile of old turtlenecks, as Jeff looked for Macbeth under a stack of dollar-store picture frames. We were in agreement. This stuff has got to go.

I don’t care how hard it’s raining next week, or even if it’s a tornado–come 7:00 Saturday morning, I’ll be outside trying to sell this crap my valuable possessions to any sucker who thinks they need some barely-worn jeans and a set of metal stacking storage cubes.

Because the clutter? It does not work with my lifestyle. In fact, it stresses me the fuck out. Let the tornado take it.

Who wants to buy some mismatched Tupperware and a plywood bookcase?


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