Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I went to Weight Watchers today not in fear and trembling, per se, but not feeling all that great about it, either. I haven't been tracking my food, and I certainly haven't been working out.

See, I'm still getting the house back in order after last fall's construction project. Yes, still. Not to mention Christmas. Confession time: our Christmas tree went down on January 20th, mostly because it seemed a little silly to still have a Christmas tree up on Martin Luther King Day.

It's taking so long because I wanted to do this right. Not just put everything back into the kitchen--not to shove Christmas decorations into random boxes, but do things properly. This meant I needed to do a whole shitload of some decluttering.

So I haven't been working out, per se, but I haven't been sitting around eating bonbons, either. I've cleaned out a bunch of closets and made multiple trips with a van packed with stuff to donate to the rummage sale. I've moved furniture around. I've cleaned out the storage area.

(Which badly needed cleaning. I mean, I found a box of rattles. May I remind you that my kids are not 1 and 2 but 11 and 12?)

While I've been dejunking the house, I've been pondering my clutter situation. I decided that if you want to see a house that needs attention, maybe the first person you need to talk to is a woman with a weight problem.

Marcia Cilley, a/k/a Flylady, has a book out called Body Clutter. I haven't read it, and I probably won't, because to be honest, the Flylady stuff gets on my last nerve--all that stuff about Purple Puddles is so ... how can I put this tactfully ... not me.

But. It seems to me that weight problems and clutter problems very frequently strike the same people. And the reason is Freud's Pleasure Principle. You know, where you seek pleasure and avoid pain. Because let's face it: it's much easier to let crap accumulate than pare way down. And it's much easier to have the second helping, super-size the fast-food order, and sit on the couch and watch television rather than get up and move.

In both cases, the deciding vote is cast by entropy.

This means that if you don't do anything about it, what with the gifts, the junk mail, the outgrown children's clothes and toys, the collectibles, the books you're not interested in any more, the DVDs you aren't watching, the CDs you aren't listening to, the clothes you're tired of, the stuff that doesn't fit any more, the piles of antique linens your mother foisted off on gave you--you, like me, are up to your armpits in a lot of crap you don't use or love or have any real reason to own.

And if you sit around on your ass and eat a little too much every day, and drink a little too much every day ... you are probably carrying around a bunch of clutter under your clothes.

So for the past couple of weeks, when I thought I wasn't working out? I really was. At least, I was doing something very similar to working out. I sure didn't want to do it. But once I got going, I got all energetic. And when I was done? I was exhausted, but I felt great. Also, I needed to take a shower.

So you see, decluttering really is like going to the gym.

And I think that's why I lost a pound last week.


  1. Go, Poppy, Go!!!

    When I get rid of stuff, I always wind up feeling like I have more after I'm done. I think it's because I can actually see what I really like and want to have in my home.

  2. Proud of you, Poppy girl!

    See, whenever I clear-out the house I fall into plotting fits of what color to paint now? and how can I throw the sofa out without B seeing? and before I know it I'm nose-down in the chips again.

    (But I think you're right. I just need more will-power. And to get rid of that damned couch.)

  3. Poppy, don't waste your time with Body Clutter unless you feel like reading a train wreck. The book is poorly written, disorganized and self-indulgent. I do like the basic tenets of Fly-Ladydom, though I too can do without the "purple puddles." And the lace-up shoes. I agree with you about the movement and action being productive and calorie-burning.

    -- Your Chowdah Pal

  4. Without Flylady, I would be a mess. Even though I'm not a "purple puddles" kind of gal either. What she gives us perenially distracted, overwhelmed folks is the tools to learn how to focus on one small thing at a time, so that we can actually accomplish something with our lives. Body Clutter didn't feel like it applied to me much, but that doesn't mean it can't help someone else.

    Lace-up shoes rock!

  5. Purple puddles. I am not even going to ask. But you were writing about ME. And I think in reading it, and feeling like I was reading about myself, just might have given me the last push I needed to de-clutter my own freaking house and life. Of course I am saying that as I sit here looking over at the cabinet with sets of dishes and glasses that were the antiques my grandmother *gifted* me with. And those are just the things I can see from this vantage point. I don't want to think about what I know is there but I *can't* see right now.

  6. That's more than I lost last week.
    Old linens may be shipped this way.

    (I've been avoiding the flylady - now I have another reason.)

  7. Okay, flylady sounds a little wacky. That being said, YOU should write a book about the clutter/declutter theory you're working on.

    Oh, and:

    Atta girl!

  8. Come on over any time, I'm up to my armpits in clutter. And can someone elaborate on "Purple Puddles"? I went to Flylady's site, but now my eyes are bleeding and I can't see anymore.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.