"You need to de-clutter," a confidant told me on the phone late Friday afternoon.
"Did Leslie send you a picture of my dining room table? She did, didn't she...."
"No, but that dining room table symbolizes your life. You need to purge that which holds no value so as to make room for that which does."
Some might think it is quite a leap to conclude a pile of mail, a stack of random business cards, and a wad of receipts can mean more than a dislike of filing. Except that clutter really did represent my life.
For over a year, a corner of my bedroom has been occupied by a pile of clothes to be donated: faded, work-appropriate t-shirts bought five years ago from Banana Republic; fabric Gucci loafers with a platypus-like toe-box; a stack of jeans that are too tight here and too loose there. For over a year, a corner of my office has been occupied by a box of items meant for the dumpster: random personal papers I forgot to discard before moving south; photographs that hold no meaning; insurance quotes for companies that are no longer my client.
Friendships have piled up too. Much of my job is spent on the phone, making me scowl at that piece of technology after hours. Now when I sit in front of my computer, I'm too busy to log onto Gchat. Toggling between a conference call, a work email, and a personal conversation is beyond my talent-set. After all, I am the girl who forgets to breathe when holding a plank.
Saturday morning, curiously wide awake at six o'clock, I got out of bed and started tidying up. Seated on the floor of my apartment, I sorted through piles. Sometimes I even took a moment to see what else could be added. All of those older sneakers in my closet, the ones too broken-down to use at the gym, those could be donated. All of those receipts stacked on my desk, the ones my accountant will need come tax season next year, those could be filed away. I even took the time to label my files, tucking professional accolades into one named "Smile File."
By Sunday night, I had dropped three bags of donations at Good Will. My dining room table was not only completely cleaned off but I had wiped the glass top down, the absence of smudges better revealing the dust bunnies beneath. I also managed to speak with three different friends, all women who have been incredibly patient with my absence this past year. They are women who provide guidance and laughter and after each call, I couldn't help but feel grateful to have them all in my life.
Though I purged quite a bit this past weekend, I have also added a few things. With extra space in my closet, I couldn't say no to a stunning pair of Gucci pumps - thin black straps with gold-chain tassels hanging off the ankles. A few feet away hangs a new dress, the drape of the fabric feminine and flirty. My calendar has also been de-cluttered. Now I have time for things like a weekend later this month at a five-star resort in Northern California. Oh, and a date. With Pete. I'll be in New York this week for work and he invited me to join him for drinks and dinner. It didn't take much to make that fit it into my calendar. Especially since I had de-cluttered. Perhaps I'll wear that new dress I bought.