The Space Available

Stuff expands to fit the space available – plus two boxes.

That’s what my cousin says.

I have lived in my condo for over 20 years. When I first looked at the place, it was empty. One of the things that sold me, in addition to the location and the large patio with space to garden, was the closet space.

Lots of closet space – large closets in each of the two bedrooms, two hall closets, a linen closet in the bathroom, and a walk-in closet off the living room.

All those closets are full now. My stuff has expanded to fit the space available, and then some.

This is why I periodically go into decluttering mode. My available space, all 860 square feet of it, would be a lot more livable if I didn’t have so much stuff.

Getting a larger place, with the cost of real estate in the Bay Area, is not an option. Besides, as I get older, I’m not sure I want to take care of a larger place. It’s all I can do to keep up with this one.

Besides, it’s just me and a bunch of cats. How much space do I need?

Well, it’s more than that. There are the books, the papers, the collections, the furniture. I’m not a hoarder. Believe me, I’ve seen hoarders and I don’t belong in that group. But I will admit to some pack rat tendencies.

I’m a writer, a paper magnet. If I ever had an idea for a novel or story and wrote it down, I have that piece of paper. Who knows, I might use that idea some day. That’s not like saving yogurt containers because I might use them again. At least I don’t think so.

There are fewer books than there used to be, but still a lot. I go through the books regularly. I’ve even shed several bookcases.

Sometimes it’s hard to part with books, but I ask myself: Will I read this again? Do I need it for research? Do I keep this for sentimental or emotional reasons? Depending on those answers, the book goes into the box that’s destined for the Friends of the Library book sale. I tell myself, I read that book, I enjoyed it, and now it’s time to pass it on to another reader.

The latest iteration of my decluttering derby involves clothing and shoes. It’s been two years since I retired. I don’t dress up to work outside my home any more. I never dressed up that much anyway, since my day jobs were on the casual side when it came to work attire. But since I retired, I can work at my computer in anything I please.

I’ve been meaning to tackle my overstuffed clothes closet for months. I finally got to it this weekend. After several hours’ work, I have three large shopping bags full of clothing, ready to be donated. Much of what is going hasn’t been worn for quite a while. Many items no longer fit my body, or my lifestyle.

So it’s time to pass that clothing on to someone else who will enjoy it.

Next up, the coat closet and the chest of drawers. At the end of my labors, my available space will be much more livable.

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2 Responses

  1. Around our house, it seems we are endlessly decluttering, and at the same time recluttering. Books, once read, go out, new books come in, work suits gone, jeans and sweaters in. As a friend’s mother used to say, everything in its place, and a thing in every place. Good luck with your endeavors.

  2. It’s a lifelong process, Wendy. I will share another quote from a different cousin, one who lost his house when a tornado leveled the town where he lived. He said, stuff is just stuff.

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