I don’t generally like taking “before and after” shots while organizing because it’s easy to introduce deceit. Compare this photo – soak in its cluttered carpet – then skip to the end of the essay. What a clear carpet…! I could have just put it all in a box, off-screen, leaving the mess to be tended to another day, which is what we often do. Instead, we should aim to spend the time to untangle and address.
Here’s the list of changes:
1. The box with the reindeer went to the kitchen counter. Its stern face reminds me of my childhood dog Patrick, so I’d like to use it to store some of the mementos of his that I still own, and when I move, it’ll be where I’ll store the photos I have posted up on the cabinets so it’ll be easy to save them. This cluttered the counter, which is part of that deceit. Since it’s off-screen, wow!, the living room looks great.
2. Cardboard boxes to art box. I might make something of these still.
3. I split up the cables into two halves. I put the cables I knew I didn’t need into the electronics recycling pile to go on my next e-waste run and I put the cables that might still yield some use into a bag that I put into my storage room above one of the four computers I’d still like to boot into, grab any files, decide if I want to keep for any kind of nostalgia trip in the next ten to twenty years, and if not, donate for its reuse elsewhere.
4. Paperwork to the office. This was a tough one for me to figure out:
For years, I’d have all sorts of errant paperwork around my computer over errands I need to do. It would clutter my desk and make the area nonfunctional and unpleasing to sit in because I’d have all this stuff “to do.” This would cause me to procrastinate on everything. Now, I have one – well, right now, two, but usually just one – thing to address next: Figuring out who my next doctor should be then scheduling an appointment.
5. Ornaments to the mantelpiece.
With these five changes, I cleared off the carpet, but here’s where the deceit lies: I took the first photo at 6:11AM while the sun was still rising and the second at 7:34AM after more light filtered in through the blinds. Most befores and afters don’t exist in scientific chambers that evidence exacting change. More often, there are subtle changes applied over a long period of time. When I look back on photos throughout my stay thus far in the apartment-mansion, I remember certain objects I’ve donated, or how I arranged other things, but typically when I’ve arrived at the “after” state, I’ve already moved on from the “before.” Looking back is handy to know where we’ve been, and to know we’re doing well, but I don’t like to dwell there.
I’d rather focus on the next “after” state.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Needing to clear out some space before inviting someone over and needing to write an essay resulted in this idea.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photos: See essay.|
|Written On: August 24th [8:35AM to 9:04AM, WordPress]|
|Last Edited: August 24th [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|