Category Archives: uncluttering our space

Ridding Up Is Hard to Do

In Neil Sedaka’s 1975 hit, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” we hear the misery of lost love:

Don’t take your love away from me
Don’t you leave my heart in misery
If you go then I’ll be blue
Cause breaking up is hard to do

Instead of breaking up I wish that we were making up again

I beg of you don’t say goodbye
Can’t we give our love another try?
Come on, baby, let’s start anew
Cause breaking up is hard to do

Instead of breaking up I wish that we were making up again

“Ridding up” is defined as a Midwestern idiom, meaning to get rid of, clean up, to empty. I’ve never done much ridding up. I tend to collect things.

In some ways, for those of us who collect things (a politically correct way of saying hoarders), “ridding up” can feel like lost love. We know we can’t do without that which we are about to throw away. The minute we dispose of it, we’ll need it. Why throw something away which is perfectly good? Etc, etc, etc. And after we finally release that object, with those sticky fingers that just won’t let go, aren’t we tempted to pull it back out of the waste?

Well—you knew this was coming—I’ve been forced into ridding up. We are moving to another house. And I have lived (and collected) in our current house for 28 years. That’s long enough to fall in love with a lot of junk. But some of it has to go. Wow, it’s tough.

As I was working on this thankless task, it hit me that ridding up was actually part of the Plexus Principle. All the junk I never use anymore is actually part of the bonds that tie me to the rack. These objects take up space, require maintenance, use financial resources, and interfere with the plexus that I want to create.

In I Peter 1:13, we are instructed to “gird up the loins of your mind…” Now “gird up your loins” refers to lifting up the long loose tunic and tying it around the waist in preparation for work or battle, turning that dress into shorts. Some translations of I Peter 1:13 refer to “clearing up” the mind, “getting ready for action.”

So, in a sense, ridding up is girding up, preparing ourselves for the important tasks, unencumbered by a long flowing tunic that could drag us down. Snipping the bonds, tying them up into a plexus of our choosing. The problem for me is, I never liked shorts. Of course I don’t wear a dress either. Isn’t there some compromise?

So how about you? What things do you keep that are getting in the way of your plexus? What do you need to rid up?

Frustration as Fuel for the Fire

I’m frustrated. I haven’t been here for…way too long. I haven’t been anywhere for way too long. My time has been consumed by moving.

Moving? Yes. After 28 years of living in the same house, and collecting everything (I inherited my pack-rat hoarding ways from my grandfather, Martin Troyer—but that’s another story.) that I ever experimented with, I now have three areas of the house that I’ve used for office space, a mountain of books beside my bed, and two shop areas in the basement. And that doesn’t include a tractor shed full of junk. Yes, I’m hopeless. Just ask my wife.

Anyway, now we’re moving. Ugh! And I must sort out, throw away, organize, and move my treasures to the next house. Fortunately, it is only eight miles away, and I have all summer to accomplish this gigantic task.

Unfortunately, I have to downsize. And the problem is time. All of my free time—what little there is—is now consumed with the moving process. And there is no time left for “creative” pursuits, like writing, blogging, wordturning, landscaping, and inventing. Consequently I am making little progress on my second book.

The first book is finished and off to an editor. It has taken a long and winding journey, being accepted by a small press, forgotten by an agent, back to the small press to be rejected until changes were made that hadn’t been a problem the first time it was accepted, finally accepted by the small press, then delayed for publishing beyond the contract allowance. When I retrieved the copyright, I looked for a new editor to do some polishing. After finding one, the editor retired before my book was finished. Now I’ve found a new editor, and I’m going to the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference in Nashville in August to begin, again, looking for an agent. I know, too much information – boring.

But the point of the above is FRUSTRATION, both with the process and now my lack of time.

Plus, I should be working on my second novel. Instead, I’m parting with junk, organizing treasures, and moving it all one direction or the other—to the trash or to the next house.

I realized recently that I need to use this extreme frustration productively. I decided that I must take that energy and channel it into determination, determination to find some spare moments to write, to get back to blogging, updating my website, shepherding novel #1 through the publishing process, and getting back to working on novel #2.

Taking lemons and making lemonade.

So, how about you? How have you taken adversity and used that to stiffen your determination to succeed?

Uncluttering Your Life

“Ridding up”

The Oxford Dictionary defines “rid” as “freeing a person or place of something unwanted.” In the Midwest I’ve often heard people refer to the cleaning up process of a place as “ridding up.” Well, maybe we should also refer to the task of uncluttering our life as ridding up.

After last week’s post on Remnants of the Rack, I’ve been thinking of the monumental task I have before me of “ridding up.” It seems that I need to rid up both person and place.

I’ve written previously about uncluttering my life (the person). Well, I also need to work on my living and working space (the place).

My wife and I are fixing up an older house I grew up in, and plan to move next spring. At that point we will need to fix up the house where we are currently living so we can sell it. We’ve lived in our current house for over twenty-five years…and I’m a hoarder. Consequently, I’ve collected (hoarded) way too much to move, i.e. I need to rid up a bunch of junk. But that’s hard to do. Where do I start? I feel so buried. It’s hard to part with some of those things. Besides, in the past, when I’ve thrown something away, I’ve needed it two weeks later.

Last week, after the post, I woke up in the middle of the night overwhelmed and in a panic. I couldn’t sleep, thinking of all the tasks ahead. I had to make a plan.

So, I’ve decided to shift gears, to move from the “save” (hoard) mode to the “pitch” (throw away) mode. My goal is to look at everything through new lenses, lenses that are constantly asking of everything I see, “Can I do without this item? Can I throw it away? What in my field of view is something that needs to be discarded?”

It’s not easy for a hoarder. It will be an uphill battle. I’m certain I will need to continuously start over. I’m hoping this blog will help keep me accountable.

How do you approach the problem of keeping your physical space uncluttered?