Princess & the Pile: Holy Hoarding!

I've been a teacher going on 13 years this fall. I have accrued a TON of stuff...some by my own pocketbook, some from retired teachers, plenty o' stuff from trash bins or giveaway piles, etc. Well, I realized that I am in desperate need of reducing the clutter in my life--not just at home, but at my school as well. I honestly can't find some of the things I need because of it and that frustration has finally hit enough nerves for me to do something about it.

Just a glimpse into my team workroom--mostly my stuff crammed in there!! {minus the recycling bins}

Sometimes hoarding is emotional (as in most of the reason I keep things), but a lot of pack rat mentality is simply due to accumulating stuff faster than the rate of donating. Or in my case, the non-existent rate of donating. I always say 'I'll go through it later' but 'later' is a time period that exists in the world of fairies for me. This past month, however, I helped my sister reach her 'later' in her guest room and the transformation was AMAZING. And surprisingly, she did all of it in like 4 hours {with me as her cheerleader...look, I helped, okay?!} We laughed at how long she put it off and how quickly we saw results.

I went home from this event with excitement and anticipation. Yes! I was going to tackle all the clutter in my house {piles from moving, teaching, crafting, etc.} and it was going to be awesome...until I got home. The wall of crap won and I skeetered away with my tail between my legs.

That is, until my principal said she was opening the building yesterday. I decided once and for all that I would clean up SOME kind of clutter in my life and the school stuff seemed less daunting. Mind you, I've been wanting to do this for YEARS. Years, people. And sadly, this was just my team workroom. I have so much more than this to go through, but it seemed like a bite-sized challenge. Thankfully, two of my teamies helped me and 4 hours later...here are the results (I love a good before and after side-by-side, don't you?):

So, if THIS monstrosity of crap is less daunting, can you imagine how much clutter is in the rest of my life?? I will keep you updated on those projects when I muster up enough energy to tackle them. Although this accumulation is embarrassing, I wanted to post it because I feel that there a lot of people out there like me. It's not that I WANT to have a bunch of stuff, it's just that I'm too tired to keep up with the swarm of materialism in life. I mean, look at all the stuff we had to unpack from the workroom:

(this is just for ONE year, one grade level. And we wonder where all the money goes in education...textbooks & workbooks are the devil!)

I've learned from this lady that the numero uno rule in de-cluttering your life is REFUSE. This is hard for other people to accept. 'No thank you, sweet friend, I don't want your jankety angel figurine and your re-gifted, chemically scented Christmas candle. Thanks though.'

So, as I navigate through this mess of stuff, don't be mad at me if I refuse stuff with a polite, 'No, thanks." I promise I won't call your stuff jankety. Sadly, after all this cleaning at work, I'm not completely done yet. I hauled a lot of this criz-nap to my classroom to officially go through it before school starts. Here's a pic of just one load. Yikes!

My teamie Jessica--worked for 4 hours with a broken toe. Dedication!

Updates on my classroom to follow. Pray for me. Just kidding. But really.


The Price of Perfection

I've been suffering from an illness called 'Analysis Paralysis'. From Wikipedia:

The term "analysis paralysis" or "paralysis of analysis" refers to over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation, so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome...A person might be seeking the optimal or "perfect" solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, when on the way to a better solution.

In all seriousness, though this is not an illness per se, it is indeed crippling. As a writer, I do this constantly. I live in perpetual fear of creating the 'greatest book never written' and I go for long periods of silence on my blog because of this very affliction. {I am constantly writing, just not publicly.}

Recently I realized why this type of thinking is so dangerous when I saw this sign in the bathroom of a local Starbucks {yes, I took out my iPhone in a pub-toilet and yes, I'm okay with that fact...sometimes I even check Facebook in there. Too much?}

Seeing this, I have to ask: Is that true Starbucks? Can anything be truly perfect? Because, no offense, but I drink so many Grande no-water Chais there that I can confidently say I'd bring back every darn one of them. Too much foam, not enough foam, too spicy, kinda watery, lukewarm, hella hot...you get the picture. Honestly, I don't even know what the 'perfect' drink should taste like. When did I have this exemplar of perfection...in San Francisco? Last year? Will it be tomorrow's drink? How is anyone supposed to pin that blue ribbon on anything in life?

I ask these questions to show you my thought process on EVERYTHING. I am indeed a perfectionist. But, perfection is a myth. There is only One who was and is perfect...all the rest is just striving toward it on a spectrum. This realization, my friends, is uber-freeing. Is it not?

Regarding writing, blogging {check out this gal's tagline on her blog...love it}, decorating, finding my life's purpose: the idea that I can never be perfect allows me to open up to whatever is trying to be expressed in the moment. My ideas will be constantly changing...that's ok, just write the book based on NOW. My tastes are always evolving...that's ok, just decorate it how you want it NOW. My body will never look like Charlize Theron's...that's ok, just work on getting as fit as YOU possibly can. People say hurtful comments or criticism...that's ok, we don't express ideas to please others. We express to live out our God-given calling or talents. My blog doesn't need thousands of followers or have enough ad revenue to be a thriving business--it merely needs to be a vehicle for my unique voice in the world. Isn't that enough for any of us?