As I was driving home today I reached into my purse and plunged my fingers right through the skin and liquidy pulp of an old banana. I was talking to a friend on my headset when this happened and I think I might have cried out in her ear a little loudly. Thank goodness she has been privy to my recent frustration over the clutter in my life. My explanation of the banana (and my anxiety over what it represented) was brief. She knew immediately how I felt.
I carry food in my purse at all times. My son is autistic, his eating habits are inconsistent and we are a busy family. I always have crackers for him and fig bars for myself in case we’re ever delayed somewhere and we get hungry. It took me a long time to make a habit of this practice and I stand by it as a lifesaver, despite the crumbs in my car and the chaos in my purse. However, the banana was a rude surprise. I have a vague memory of tossing it in there as we rushed out the door one morning, but I can’t recall why. I don’t typically carry unwrapped food. Although, I guess at the time, it seemed like it was wrapped.
I’m having a tough time this afternoon just letting that banana be a banana instead of a metaphor for the lack of order in my life. Seriously, I can’t get a handle on the piles of stuff in my house, in my car or in my purse. In fact, my standard operating procedure with purses has generally been to move the essentials to a new one when the old one gets too crowded. If I look in and I feel a little confused, then I buy a new purse and hang the dirty full one in the closet. Isn’t that just crazy? It’s true though and I’m confessing it just to you.
At some point I do always get around to cleaning out the old purses. I find expired lotto tickets, spilled mints, cheerios, hot wheels, old coupons, broken pencils, small tupperware, leaky pens, dehydrated baby wipes and assorted business cards. Once I even found a Nordstrom gift card with a balance of almost $60 on it. The lotto tickets alone would probably cure me of my habit if I’d ever found a winner and been too late to claim it, but alas, that hasn’t happened. Rarely is there anything of value lurking in the bottom of those bags, so I wonder constantly why I ever put the items in there in the first place.
I have dozens of decorating magazines in my home. Most of them get around to featuring a “less is more” article at some point. A homeowner is always quoted as saying something like “I got rid of everything I didn’t love” or “we just decided to focus on quality, not quantity.” I get this philosophy. I really do. I just don’t understand how to apply it to my purse. Can anyone tell me? And how do I make myself throw out the magazines?
I have one friend who tears her credit card receipts into little pieces at the table in the restaurant after she’s paid for a meal. She doesn’t tuck it in her pocket or “file” it in her wallet for later reference. She doesn’t check it against her statement and she doesn’t think twice about tearing it up. She doesn’t love the receipt. It doesn’t go in her purse. It never even gets close to her home. I can’t fathom the freedom that must offer her. I’ve never had that. I make everything I touch far more complicated than it ought to be. And I don’t even know that I’m doing it.
We never used to have enough clean dishes, so I bought more dishes. Why did I do that? Now we have twice as many dishes that aren’t clean. I used to hate reaching for a cookie sheet and finding only an empty slot where it should be. Instead of washing the one in the sink, I bought another. Now we have five. I can’t even fit three cookie sheets in my oven. And it seems I am constantly searching for the perfect container in which to store the things we don’t use very often (or ever). How do I make myself see that those things should leave the house instead?
I put a small toy truck in the car for donation the other day. It has a tow hook on the back and somewhere in our house are the trailer and some construction guys that go with it. I couldn’t find those, so I didn’t donate the truck. Why, why, why? The truck is trash to me now, clutter, a nuisance, offensive even and yet, I couldn’t part with it because it’s part of a set. I do not understand how to get out from under that mentality.
Andy Rooney did a piece the other night on all the extraneous gadgets in his kitchen. He brought a collection of them to discuss. He cracks me up. We have too many kitchen gadgets too. The melon baller is really the funniest one ever. I’ve only balled a melon once in my entire life and it was a disaster.
I probably need to stop rambling about this. I’m not sure it’s even interesting, but it’s my life and that’s what I’m writing about, so there you have it.