[Downsizing Zeal] Modularly Addressing Clutter

Today was the first day in almost two years where my counter was not covered in clutter. I intend to keep it this way, going forward. I will use the counter to store stuff, but I’ll avoid clutter by using modular boxes that I can add or remove from the counter. The goal is to never leave anything on the counter itself; always in a box that could be moved elsewhere for sorting or storage.

I wanted to share this process since it might be helpful for others.

Initially, I had been considering bringing a folding table into some area or another to help with my sorting of things – the first project here is sorting out all of my bills and then calling about each one – and I had tried something similar to this with assorted boxes but at a chair. My tailbone hurts, well, even now – so if I can stand through most of this process, that will help. So this countertop is 51.5 inches long by 24 inches deep. That’s enough room for many small projects, such as after I sort out the medical paperwork, I’d like to sort the remaining clutter that accumulated here.

This was like my junk drawer.

They say the trick is to not move one pile to another area.

If I am careful not to overdo it, where I put too much miscellaneous, unrelated things in one container, then it should work out fairly well. I have a box for my tools, a box for my old smartphone and headphones to listen to music as I did while I did this rearranging, and a box for the medical paperwork. I added more boxes for anything I might need, so I could remove everything or anything from the counter without too much problem.

This was a bit of a revelation for me because I’ve always had problems with clutter.

What if I can keep things modular enough to where clutter doesn’t form?

In my mind, clutter is where unrelated objects collect together. In the photo below, for example, myriad unrelated objects had collected together but now fit in the box on the upper right side below “Club Stoic” and besides a photo of my childhood dog Patrick. Without that box, that clutter would remain on the counter, whereas now, I can move it elsewhere.

Sure, this might seem rather obvious, but that’s the problem with clutter.

I’ve grown an attachment to some objects in weird ways.

If there is a spot where I can dump any random paperwork I don’t care about dealing with, then that space and the objects there become a mass of clutter in my physical space and a lingering clutter in my mind. I might roughly know where things are at the time, but I forget. I’m trying all that I can to figure out how to organize my possessions with the apartment-mansion to figure out what to keep, what to downsize/donate, and what to sell. If I have boxes and boxes of miscellaneous stuff that’s I haven’t given at least a slight effort into organizing, then how can I find something?

I’m thinking this will be my way to downsize the non-essentials.

The medical documentation will be the real trick here.

If I can organize all of it within the perimeters I have – I will need to move everything off to the side, but I did to clean the countertop, and everything came back without cluttering other areas – then I can organize many other things as well. If it becomes tedious for me to move something around multiple times, like say my box of tools or the box holding my smartphone stuff, then I can decide what to put elsewhere. This is in my kitchen, and I would eventually like to clear off this space entirely so that I could use my kitchen more for its intended purpose, but for now, this works as a hub to sort through things. It has sufficient lighting, power, egress space, and now countertop space.

Let me meander to some long-term plans.

If this all works, I would like to move all of my tools into the spare bedroom at a sort of table, shelving unit, or both, I could use for sorting through boxes. For example, if I have a box full of miscellaneous items, it’s difficult to group things together like that. I would need an area large enough to where I could put a small assortment of clutter on a table, or easily be able to pick out items from that box, so I could start matching similar items together or finding new areas to store things. Despite doing the best I could nearly two years ago to pack similar objects together, I was in a rush, and my mind was still cluttered with the notion of keeping everything.

Now, my mind is clearer and clutter is easier for me to address.

I imagine that especially for someone like myself, I’ll always have some clutter around.

However, if I can figure out ways to help catch the clutter into boxes that I can then move around to say spend one hour to sort through, then it avoids the clutter from littering the space it’s within. Some of the items within the clutter I either cherish or need to do something with still, so it’s not like I can throw it all away. That’d be the easy way to temporarily solve my clutter problems. The clutter could return. Even if I were careful, it’s likely that unless I learn clutter discipline, then I will be right back where I started. Maybe not with the amount of clutter that is currently occupying the apartment-mansion, but enough within that hypothetically smaller space to be a possible concern. I’m feeling good about the potential and possibility of my kitchen countertop now. I feel relieved to have everything off the counter for another reason.

The apartment-mansion occasionally gets ants so now I can address that stress modularly.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Just writing about things that I’m doing to improve my life. If they aren’t helpful for you, well… TOO BAD.
Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.
Photos: Since I’ll be using some of these boxes long-term, I put my smiley face on paper and taped that paper to the boxes so that I could obscure the names of brands. I forgot one or two so I digitally obscured them. The last drawing was my way to imply how the process works to help with the addressing of my clutter.
Written On: 2020 October 19 [11:14pm to 11:444444pm]
Last Edited: 2020 October 19 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]


My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.