Updated: Aug 9, 2022
Ouch!! Shit! I've had it with this stupid, damn armchair; it shouldn't be there, right in my way, where I keep stubbing my toe against its mid-century, antique walnut leg sticking out into the middle of the path between my desk and my guitars on the other side of the room. I don't know how many times I've shoved this chair a few inches out of the way, but it always winds up right back here in this same damned spot, because my wife apparently likes it there, next to the end table, with its easy access to the TV controls.
The problem is that this room is just too full of crap! Too much furniture. There are only two of us living in this house now, and whenever we do have visitors, they seldom if ever come into this room. Why the hell do we need four chairs and a giant sectional leather sofa that seats six in this room -- much less the coffee table, three end tables, three TV trays and multiple bookshelves? Zet would say that it's my four guitars, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, amplifier, microphones, pedal board and upright piano that are cluttering up the space, and I admit that's partially true. But the fact is that we've accumulated way too many "treasures" over the course of the 42 years we've been together. We've acquired so many knick-knacks, so many colorful, hand-crafted sculptures, bowls, baskets, paintings and books, so many books -- along with the shelves, tables and cabinets needed to display and store them all.
Not that we're hoarders. At least not like those oddballs you see on afternoon tell-all talk shows, folks whose cramped lives are confined to narrow pathways between floor-to-ceiling stacks of old newspapers and rubbish. No, no. Our possessions are all neatly displayed in aesthetically pleasing ways. Like this damned mid-century modern armchair that I keep stubbing my toe on. It's one of a matching pair; family heirlooms, lovingly restored and re-upholstered with my wife's hand-dyed fabric years ago. Don't really need them anymore, but we can't just throw them away. Too valuable for donating to Goodwill, too much trouble to post on E-bay, much less put in a garage sale, which our neighbors would never approve of having anyway. And that vast, orange, baby-skin soft, Italian leather sofa that seats six? That's part of my dearly departed mother-in-law's legacy. Can't get rid of that!
Much as I'd love to de-clutter this room, today isn't a good day to do anything about it. But, tomorrow isn't likely to be any better -- just like all the yesterday's when we swore we were going to no-kidding start clearing out some of this stuff, but didn't. Chances are good that all these shelves are going to stay stacked with dusty, seldom-read books for the foreseeable future, alongside dozens of paintings and photos hanging on the walls, the Mexican folk art and beeswax candles inhabiting the top of the piano, and the oversized dark-brown, wooden end tables parked next to the sofa.
I guess I'll just keep ignoring it all, at least most of the time, just as I have been for the past umpteen years. Prolonged procrastination has worked pretty well so far. There are multiple self-help authors, consultants and de-cluttering coaches who would happily give me advice on how to proceed, but mostly that just seems like it would be more mental clutter piled up on top of the material objects cluttering up our home and our lives. And, yes, of course, I'm well aware that all this physical clutter is just an extension, an out-picturing of my emotional state, but who the hell wants to think about that either?
Instead, I turn left and let my eyes fall on the nearest bookshelf, and think to myself: Look at all those lovely books, full of stories, packed with knowledge. Must be at least 200 volumes on that one bookshelf alone -- one of many we own. Why keep complaining about all these books cluttering my space? Why not see them as valuable friends and teachers, inviting me to pause, reflect on gratitude for living a life of comfort and plenty? Instead of complaining about the presence of all this stuff, and planning for that magical day in the future when our house will be significantly de-cluttered and different than it is, I could just be grateful for what it already is: a comfortable nest where my beloved wife and I are blessed to live in peace and plenty.