"I was gonna say anal," she said, bluntly. "You used to be kind of a slob."
I used to be messy.
Well, that's not exactly true. I have always wanted things to be precise. However, I used to have the ability to shut that off and just block out the things that bothered me. This was why my room would look good, but closets, dresser, and under the bed would be a disaster.
The mess I didn't have to face? Didn't exist.
(In retrospect, this explains several of my past relationships. And an eating disorder. And also, how I dealt with depression.)
However, eventually, all messes have to be faced. You'll need to get something out of the closet, and when you reach in, everything will fall out and land on you. This is the problem with denial, as it turns out. Eventually, all of the stuff you've been pretending wasn't there will land on you in a giant heap so that you're buried and overwhelmed.
Whenever I ended up on the floor, with nearly everything I owned piled around me, my mom would say, "If you just put things away where they go when you use them, you won't have this happen to you."
She was right.
I've come to realize, though, that this is about more than closets. It's also about ... everything. Deal with it when it happens, and it won't be lurking around, waiting to fall on you when you are looking for something else entirely. Put it away in good time. When you're done with something? BE done with it. Otherwise, one day, you'll be looking for a pair of flipflops and something big and heavy and not at all flip floppy will land on your head.
Not that that's ever happened to me or anything.
"I just got tired of the disorder," I said to her. "I mean, yes, I go overboard and am a little over the top neat now? That's true. But ... I got tired of the hassle. It's easier when everything isn't so messy."
"Dude," she said, "life's messy."
"I know," I said. "But this is how I deal with it."
And then I said: "You don't have to understand."
These are the things that I thought about when I had the great Apartment purge of 2013. I donated 10 bags of clothes to Goodwill. I went to the dumpster 26 times. I have a closet that is now entirely empty. I have a dresser drawer (or two) which is also empty. I have less stuff.
Life IS messy. It's true.
But that doesn't mean it you should just let it pile up around you. And it doesn't mean that you can just ignore it.
So, I have ... less. And now? I feel like I appreciate what I have more. It's all clean. It's all visible. It's all organized. It's all DEALT with. The things I have kept are the things worth keeping.
And the things I have let go of? Are the things that needed to be released.