Having an excessive amount of stuff in my space causes a negative physical reaction in me. Clutter makes me feel like I'm drowning.
I'm not sure how or when I developed a love of throwing things out. All I know is I can't live in a space with too many things that either go unused, are unnecessary or are a means to collect the unused and unnecessary.
A few friends have commented my house has an unlived in, sterile feel. I like this. I wear it as a somewhat demented badge of honour.
My house does feel unlived in, almost unwelcoming. I've tried to alleviate this by adding a few potted plants. However, the plants irritated me. Just by being in the house, the plants made me feel as though the walls were closing in on me and therefore, had to go.
In my living room, I have a couch, a love seat, an area rug and a television on a stand. I do not own a DVD player, because that would mean one more remote and a stack of DVDs to mess up the room. I have two end tables with nothing on them.
If an interior decorator were to go through that room, I'm sure they would make unnecessary suggestions such as coffee tables, plants and perhaps a few throw pillows. Things that clutter up my space and cause messes I would constantly be picking up.
Once a month I find myself with a garbage bag in my hand, walking aimlessly from room to room finding stuff to throw out or give away. I comb the house looking to purge all the things I haven't used. "What have you done for me lately, sandwich maker?"
There is one item on my list of things to throw out that I haven't been able to. The previous owners of my home had left a giant compost bin in the back yard. I lovingly refer to it as the backyard pimple and reluctantly find myself using it to somehow justify its existence as it's too big to toss in the trash. It stands right in the middle of the yard, taunting me. If I squint and tilt my head to the side, I can almost see a mocking smirk creep across the mouth of the bin.
Once the snow melts, I believe it's time for the pimple to go. Myself, armed with a saw, my boys, armed with shovels and a wheelbarrow, we will tackle the pimple and remove it from our lives. The first task, of course, is to bribe my kids into helping me. My boys did not receive my clean-gene.
I use the days leading up to Christmas to purge my kids' rooms, throwing away scrap pieces of paper, broken toys, ill-fitting clothing and anything else that looks like trash. Doing this creates room for the extra items about to come into the house during the holiday season.
Holiday decorating doesn't excite me either. It causes my eye to physically twitch and I get an overwhelming feeling of suffocation.
There's a certain amount of freedom that comes with living in a simple space and Christmas robs me of that free feeling. The tree, ornaments, knick knacks, trays of cookies, candles and other decorations are beautiful and give a festive feeling, but it's also overbearing. Don't get me wrong, I love the look of a beautifully decorated home... just not mine.
I also don't want to rob my children of the joys of Christmas, so I do decorate, minimally. I prefer a pre-lit white tree with a few ornaments, no more than 20. This goes up between December 15 and 20 and causes me to spiral into a cranky tailspin until Boxing Day. I love Boxing Day. It's the day all my ornaments go back in the box and out to the shed, where I do not have to look at them again for another year.