I may have mastered, or semi-mastered, most of the clutter in my life, but the whole paper thing still bogs me down. I have a really bad habit of not knowing what to do with certain pieces of paper, so they accumulate into a pile which I conveniently shove into a drawer, a cabinet, a shelf, etc.
Today Marilyn was here... well, I'm getting ahead of myself... last time, we started cleaning out this piece of furniture in my bedroom where I had stashed loads of paper. I have an on-going goal of being able to open any drawer, any cabinet, any closet and having the contents be organized. As of right this second, I am about 80% successful.
Today we finished the job in this piece of furniture. I had a bag for paper recycling, a bag for shredding and a bag for non-paper garbage. My most ridiculous and embarrassing find was a big packet of blue cheese salad dressing. That was in a computer bag I also cleaned out. God only knows how long it's been in there. Luckily I'm not a food hoarder even though I'm sure this salad dressing has a shelf life of 20 years, out it went. Now I have one fewer junk areas in my apartment. I'm getting there.
I have also been thinking of the notion of what I have named "false abundance." Last time Marilyn was here, we cleaned out my bra drawer. I hadn't really seen it until after she left and I was a little taken back when I opened the drawer. It looked so empty! I had to remind myself that this drawer only holds bras I currently wear. Any bra. Any time. That big jumble of bras that I'd have to dig through to find one I wanted is gone, but more importantly, I think that big jumble gave me reassurance (and falsely so) that I got plenty of bras. Well unless I start wearing more than one at a time, I have plenty of bras now.
One last thought: Watching Hoarders has really helped me throw things. I don't believe I have ever been in danger of living like a hoarder, but I remember one show where the shrink/organizer pointed out that hoarders have a little backstory about every item they don't want to part with. Typically I can make a quick decision, even with something like what I am sure was perfectly good salad dressing today, but I know when I hold something in my hand and start to tell Marilyn or myself a story about it, the object has got to go.
Yesterday a friend told me that she told her elderly mother "you left this mess for me to clean up." Meaning the clutter and mess and hoardery-ness of her life. That has been a big motivation to me. When I imagine Mary or whoever cleaning out my apartment when I keel over, I want it to be as easy as possible for whoever gets stuck with that task.