March 04, 2015

March of Trash, Day 4

Halfway through the first week of the March of Trash, the obvious enemy is the tendency to postpone action until later. The idea of this month-long clutter challenge is to create a habit of addressing clutter. To make this work, you may have to uproot an existing pattern of thought. Whenever you put off action in a specific area, it is based on the assumption that, in the future, action will become easier. But is this idea true? Ultimately, no. It is action itself that makes further action easier. The mere passage of time actually makes action harder.

Delaying action on clutter is the exact pattern that creates clutter in the first place. This is easiest to see when you get very specific, so let me relate a story that one specific March clutterbuster came upon yesterday. She has a chair that is very nice in some ways, but has some errors in upholstery that make it hard to sit on. The current situation, then, is a chair that looks nice but that no one ever uses as a chair. She doesn’t know whether it is practical to fix the chair. It will involve removing and replacing some upholstery nails. Is it even possible to do this without removing all the padding and re-applying it — essentially going through all of the work of reupholstering the chair?

Faced with this situation, it is easy enough to work out logically that simply waiting until you do know these answers does not solve anything. That approach is, in fact, the pattern that set up the current predicament. At some point, you have to decide what you want, what you believe, and what you can and can’t do, and then proceed, even in the face of some lingering uncertainty. That might be difficult, but there is nothing that makes it harder to do right now than at any other time.

Along the same lines, it is possible to wait until March 31 and fill out the March of Trash Scorecard all at once on the last day. But it is actually easier to work on the challenge day after day. One piece of clutter — that’s nothing! You know you can do that on any given day. So why not today?

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