From September to November, I spent a lot of time decluttering my flat, especially the bedroom. But once I made the deadline for the bulky trash collection, my enthusiasm and energy dwindled, and I did not get back at the task for the entire month of December. And now it was another deadline of sorts which got me moving again: my sister bought a new bed and I “inherited” the old one.
I had never before owned a bed big enough for two people to sleep in, and so my husband and I had no other choice but putting our mattresses on the floor – buying one of our own simply exceeded our budget. In the beginning, we joked about camping on the floor, but after a while it got really old, especially since our mattresses are of different heights. A friend offered us her bed when she gave up a rented studio, and at first I accepted – but the problem with the mismatching mattresses, the difficulty transporting it home (my car’s boot / trunk was already permanently locked then), lack of time due to uni projects, and rising depression spoilt the plan.
We spent two days emptying all bookshelves in the bedroom and dissembling the ones which were mounted on the wall above where my desk used to stand. We moved the freestanding shelves to that wall, cleaned them and put the books I want to keep back. Since there will be no replacement for the wall-mounted units, the archaeology, geosciences and geography books will have their place in the living room from now on.
There is a sense of accomplishment which comes with having your books sitting neatly in clean shelves; especially if it has taken you years to get that far. My husband is a much faster worker, which is rather frustrating because it makes me feel so inferior, but I insist on handling certain things alone, even if that means it will take significantly longer to get everything done. I still have to sort through every single item and arrive at a decision whether to keep it or not, and where to store the pieces which do not end up in trash. Making that decision itself has become easier, though – it is not nearly as agonising anymore as it used to be just a few months ago. Partly that might be simply due to there being fewer and fewer possessions left which are still “unexamined” at this point, partly because I have experienced that discarding them only hurts temporarily.
My method may not be the most effective or stringent, but it is the only one that works for me, and I am almost done with the bedroom. I think from next weekend on, we can sleep in our new bed; my husband is really eager for this to happen and I certainly feel the same way. However, I want to make sure that I have gone through every last item before we move on, because I know from experience that stuff left for “later” will still be around after years. Then, I want to give the room a thorough cleaning, because once all the heavy furniture are up, certain areas will become as good as inaccessible. And, final reason, I have a therapy session on Thursday, which means that a) I am going to be out most of that day thanks to much longer commuting times without a car, and b) I will most likely want some time for reflection afterwards. But the weekend should be a realistic goal.
The most common finds in my bedroom were bobby pins (just how many can a single person lose over the years?), literally thousands of paper pieces – notes from class, drafts for letters or uni papers, transcribed poems, cash receipts etc. – and a wild assortment of pens and pencils.
The most unusual find so far was a kitchen knife in one of my handbags, the blade carefully wrapped in paper towel fixated with sticky tape – must be a leftover of some brunch we had at work, or a long-ago Christmas party or something in that direction.