I was positively dreading sorting through the “Electronics” category, which includes equipment and….CORDS. Does anyone else have some random pile of cords somewhere (or scattered in literally every room of the house) that have accumulated over the years? It feels weird to throw stuff like that in the trash. But I’m pretty sure places like Best Buy and Micro Center recycle them. Micro center definitely takes old laptop batteries.
So anyways…the worst part about sorting through this stuff was gathering all of it. Partly because there are tiny little cords and adapters that come with like EVERY gadget on the planet these days, so you may never feel quite sure you’ve actually gathered them all (I found more the next day). Also in part because there are many things that fall into this category that make no sense to “gather”. (Our TVs? Our laptops and external monitors?) It has occurred to me that this is perhaps a very “American” issue. We don’t have old or unused TVs just laying around, though we do own 3 TVs. But I digress.
I did my best with the gathering, and honestly, made a list of stuff I didn’t gather, just to keep it all straight in my head.
Again, I was kind of surprised at how big this pile was. Just reflecting on this made me realize that “room-by-room” cleaning truly is ineffective. The last time I de-cluttered, I went room-by-room, drawer-by-drawer and closet-by-closet. But when you do that, you can’t see how much of one particular item you really have. That makes it harder to feel like you can part with something.
And again, when I was de-cluttering before, I was deciding what to get rid of, not what to keep. Mentally, that made it harder to resist the “But I might use it some day!” argument that your brain usually tries to make. I cleaned stuff out in our house almost a YEAR ago. And I didn’t even remember that I still had some of this stuff. An old flatiron that doesn’t work? My old hair dryer that only blows cold air? WHY DID I KEEP THESE THINGS?!
As you can imagine, the keep pile was small. I had a difficult time deciding what to keep based solely on joy. I mean…I need my laptop charger and my cell phone charger. Extension cords don’t necessarily make me feel joy, but they are also necessary sometimes. Thank goodness Husband was home for this, because about every 5 seconds I whined, “What does THIS little thingy go to?!” Between the wireless bluetooth speaker (that, predictably, came with some wires), a Roku, and Chromecast…I didn’t know what went with what. But Husband had a pretty good idea, so I left those decisions to him.
I arranged the little items in small boxes (iPhone boxes are fabulous for this sort of thing) and put them in my newly organized desk drawers. Everything else is shown in the picture above. Batteries are included in this category, too, and all those were arranged in the same box and stored in the same drawer.
We had some remotes and a cable box that needed to be returned to Comcast (we cancelled cable quite awhile ago) and a box of stuff to donate. And of course, a bag of trash. And that was it!
For each of these random categories, I try to refer back to Marie Kondo’s “Spark Joy” to make sure I have included every item in the category. I didn’t miss anything, but now I’m wondering what category light bulbs are in. Oh, well. I still have probably 20 more categories to go.
I guess as I reflect on this session, I am struck by all the conveniences we enjoy. Heck, just HAVING electricity in the first place would be a huge deal to some people in the world. And here I am trying to decide how many iPhone chargers to keep! Before I know it, I’ve landed right back in the place tidying always leads me to: gratitude.
And yet, privilege is a double-edged sword. Jesus said it would be harder for a rich man to get into Heaven than a poor man. And it makes sense. In America, we are rich. When you have so many things to rely on other than Jesus, well, then….it’s easier for Him to take a back seat.
It’s one of the main reasons I WANT to keep unloading stuff, truly take stock and thank Him for what we have, let go, then let go some more. I’m never NOT going to be someone who was born in America, and knows this way of life. Since I can’t change that about myself, rather than feeling guilty, I want to exude a (very, very) humble gratitude. I want Him to mean more to me than things. And I believe I should do my part to guard my own heart against consumerist culture, and find ways to cultivate gratitude, give to and help others. I don’t want Jesus to take a back seat. No matter how much I have or don’t have. I want to push myself, stretch myself, get a little uncomfortable and learn and change and grow. That’s what this is all about!
Until next time,