Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Yetzer of Clutter

I think this story may explain some of the problems I have in getting stuff I don't need out of my home:

The house I currently live in used to be home to my boyfriend's parents. When they moved out of state, we took over the lease. Among the 3,495,213 things left behind in the house was a big stack of empty cookie tins left over from many Christmases (the boyfriend is not Jewish, neither are his parents). I gave shelter to the cookie tins for three years, and then I decided one day to clear them out of the kitchen, and give them to Goodwill. I actually picked them up, and began to carry them down to the garage, to join the Goodwill pile.

As I neared the bottom of the stairs, however, something I can only describe as a clutter-specific yetzer ha-ra perched on my shoulder and whispered into my ear. I was suddenly inspired. I should not give away the cookie tins. Instead, I realized in a flash of inspiration, I should keep them, clean them out, and paint them with Purim motifs. (It was just after Simchat Torah at this time.) Then I would fill them with homemade hamantaschen and give them to friends as mishloach manot.

It seemed like the best idea I'd had in ages. Never mind that I seldom bake, and don't normally distribute mishloach manot, this would be a great way to start both! It would jumpstart me on a new mitzvah! It would be creative and cool. Never mind that I certainly don't paint, this would also be a new thing. I would be the Martha Stewart of the Conservative Jewish world!

I actually turned around and started to walk the tins back to the kitchen. A ripple of demonic laughter filled the air. (Metaphorically, I mean, the Balabusta is not actually insane.) Then I got a grip on myself, ran to the garage and dumped the tins.

That's why decluttering is sort of a challenge for me. The reasons I can come up with to keep useless things are very creative, and sometimes just defy reason altogether.

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