5 Things I Need to Declutter from My Apartment & Life

It’s only the first of February, but I’m already thinking about spring cleaning. My apartment, like my life, is organized chaos. Container Store and Bed, Bath & Beyond are two of my favorite stores in which I can spend hours.

My apartment is neat and tidy. The two bookcases in my living room are arranged to feature some of my favorite books, framed photographs, high school diploma and knick knacks. The display looks simple and carefree, when in actuality I Googled a few sites for decorating suggestions. The rest of my hundreds of books are stored in a small walkway on custom shelves built by my landlord’s brother.

I don’t need to Google de-cluttering my life because it’s a featured topic in Oprah Magazine and Oprah.com on a regular basis. In the coming weeks, I want to work on getting rid of some things.

  1. Old Shoes

There are countless pairs of shoes with worn heels that I know I will never bring to my Second Ave. shoe repairman no matter how many times I say so to myself. Then there are the dozens of high heeled shoes I haven’t worn in years. In Boston, I owned and drove or was driven from Point A to Point B, door to door, almost everywhere. I sold my car when I moved to New York and walk almost everywhere. The walk to the nearest subway station from my apartment is a little under 15 minutes, or about 3 ½ to 4 songs, my new method of tracking time. Taking a cab or car service is reserved for special occasions, drunken late nights, but above all else, when my wallet allows it. So, I’m in flats or mid-heels 98% of the time. I’m not a big fan of packing my heels to swap out at my destination, but I have done it.

  1. Old Cell Phones

I know I can and should donate old cell phones to charities that dole them out to troops overseas or  battered women shelters, but after I upgrade to a new phone or replace a damaged one and transfer my contacts, I toss the old one into the top drawer of my nightstand, also known as the cell phone junkyard.

  1. Old Glasses

I got my first pair of prescription glasses when I was nine or ten. Pearle Vision was having a BOGO free sale, so my father purchased identical pink and baby blue plastic frames. One was to be the spare in case the other broke, but I alternated between both. I can’t remember when I got my next pair. I never lost or broke my glasses. I also never threw any of them out. Over the years, depending on budget, I would either just replace the prescription or buy a whole new set. I stopped buying wire frames, which warped when I fell asleep wearing them. I stopped buying cheap no-name frames, which fade in color and often had to be brought in for tightening. I wear glasses all day, every day. They’re the first things on in the morning, last things off at night. They even come in the shower and went to swimming lessons at the Bed-Stuy YMCA. I have four pairs in rotation, while the others share space in the cell phone graveyard and storage bins with other things.

  1. Old Magazines

I have stacks of old read and unread magazines. I don’t ever remember a time of consulting an old magazine for a story, recipe or product tips, but I keep some for that reason. I also have this stubborn notion of refusing to throw out magazines until I’ve read them. I spent money on them and will not get my money’s worth until I’ve read each and every issue of Oprah Magazine, Essence, Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly cover to cover, no matter how outdated.  However, in my quest to achieve my goal for the Goodreads reading challenge, I often reach for a heartbreaking memoir over the latest issue of Living Buddhism, a gift subscription.

  1. Old Greeting Cards

By now, it’s apparent I’m a pack rat and have weird emotional attachments to things.  Whenever I throw a greeting card into the trash pile, I rescue it before actually throwing it in the trash. My cousin calls me a feral child. I feel touched when someone deems me special enough to personalize a Christmas or birthday card, and guilty throwing it out. Two are on permanent display.  The front of a birthday card from my friend Kyle reads: “You are so totally inappropriate sometimes.” Another is a Christmas card from my then ten- or eleven-year-old godson in which he handwrote “You’re awesome.” I love when my eye catches either of these cards on my bookcase.

Sometimes instead of paring down or getting rid of things, I buy more storage. Hello Pier 1 3-drawer chest in my bathroom. I could open my own boutique with my collection of scented body oils, lotions and butters. Some weekend soon, I’ll do an audit of my apartment to get rid of some old, unused and unnecessary things. I need to make room for my new old things.


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