Under Pressure

tumblr_lpagfwP7zq1qzdzbuo1_500I’ve been a slack blogger lately. And I feel guilty about it.

Since we launched Bookends on August 1, I am ashamed to admit I’ve only posted one piece. One. That’s embarrassing.

I’m starting to feel what Addison defines as “blog pressure” – the overwhelming feeling that I’m not blogging enough. I do this a lot in my life – I carry with me this constant pressure and stress that I need to be doing more and doing better than I am. This idea of “I’m not doing enough _____” translates to most areas of my life – not just blogging. It’s not difficult for me to fill in the blank. I’m not doing enough yoga, reading for pleasure, spending quality time with friends, writing, eating more leafy greens, sleeping, exercising, flossing.

It’s hard being me.

What’s kept me from blogging is not a lack of writing material but a lack of time.

Let me introduce to you Exhibit A.

IMG_2164This is the root of my problem, the place where I have spent the last few weeks of my life, seated cross-legged on the floor of my office surrounded by piles of my past. This photo was taken on August 9 at 9:26 p.m. by my husband Andrew. I was approaching my tenth hour of The Purge – and I’m still smiling, though I remember my eyes beginning to sting by this point, and I at least changed into my pajamas. That night I stayed up until 1 a.m. for a total of 13 hours of purging. And the frightening thing? I’m still not done.

I’ve been decluttering our household for a few weeks now in preparation for our next move in September, and I’ve saved this room – the office – for last because I knew it would be the most daunting — particularly the closet, which still contains items I never unpacked from our previous move a year and a half ago. It also houses every scrap of paper, memento, greeting card, movie ticket stub and photograph from my birth until my current age of 34. Not. Kidding. So I took a day off from work just to tackle this room. That’s how serious this was.

I’ve had an urge to purge for a few months now. All this “stuff” has been weighing me down and causing me anxiety. When the space around me feels cluttered and chaotic, I too feel cluttered and chaotic. And right now, I need balance and order in my life. And there’s nothing like a move on the horizon to motivate you to just pitch it.

It’s been an exhilarating and liberating process, giving away items to friends and hauling boxes of donations to churches and nonprofits. Today I donated a box of craft supplies to The Scrap Exchange in Durham, where they actually weigh your donation as part of the process. Mine? 14 pounds.

The Purge is taking longer than I had hoped. There are boxes still left to sort through, papers and such to be filed, and probably another 14 pounds of junk sitting in a box I have yet to unearth in this mountain of clutter.

This is the current state of my office. As you can see, there’s still some work to do. Time is running out and now I’m starting to feel … purge pressure. IMG_2197

 

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7 thoughts on “Under Pressure

  1. I know the feeling. I’ve moved twice in the past three years, purged massively each time, and still have Too Much Stuff. My particular problem is that I’m down to furniture — furniture for which I now have no need but which my kids might need when they start college in a couple of years. Some of that furniture I could just give away, but some pieces are family heirlooms (my grandparents’ rice-planter bed frame, for example). With no move in my foreseeable future, I’m not under the pressure that you are, but I’m under self-imposed pressure to simplify and de-clutter. That’s healthy, I guess.

    Also, don’t worry if you’re blogging “enough.” There’ll be days when you don’t have time, and then there’ll be days when you MAKE the time because you CAN’T NOT. It’ll balance out.

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    • It is a tricky balance, isn’t it? I’ve had friends tell me they’ve purged too much and then had regrets. I tend to hang onto mementos – the things that have sentimental meaning. Family heirlooms are tough. I once gave away the rocking chair that my mother rocked my two sister and me in. But it was no longer functional and funny enough, my mom encouraged me to pitch it. Things like that, I take a photo of so I can remember them in that way. This way I don’t lose the memory and most importantly, it doesn’t take up space – except on my hard drive. 🙂

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  2. I damire anyone who attempts to de-clutter! I have a choice today–write for my blog, which has been blocked for weeks OR de-clutter in my bedroom and bag up the stack of clothes in the closet for Goodwill. I’m going to write, I think. Good luck.

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    • It’s all about baby steps. Write your post, then pick one thing to focus on purging. Maybe it’s just bagging the clothes and taking them to Goodwill. Trust me, you will feel awesome just doing that one thing. Then next week, concentrate on another area. I find this method more manageable and less overwhelming. 😉

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