Entropy

Once in a while I get overwhelmed by the sense that things in my life are too cluttered and out of control. The fridge fills up with leftovers that I don’t want to eat, and breads and cookies get moldy and stale. In my closet, I have to move aside a bunch of shirts that I never wear to get to the one I want. New books have to be stacked sideways on top of the ones that are shelved upright. It starts to look like my music shelf can fit only about ten more CDs before it’s full.

It reminds me of entropy. My life is always decaying into a low-energy, disorganized state. I can’t do anything about the biological manifestation of that: my body is constantly aging, and someday it will cease to be alive. (That’s a subject for a different post.) But once in a while I can try to gather together the pieces of my material life. I clean out the old, unnecessary things, replace some of them with new things, and get all of them organized somehow so I can try to keep them from falling out of their places again.

This is all a fancy way of saying that I’m going through a spring cleaning phase. This one’s going to be slightly bigger than usual, because I’m graduating and I want to feel like I’m getting a fresh start (without throwing away the things that are important to me). It’s hard to do, because I’m a packrat. I’ll look at something I haven’t used in years, and be reluctant to get rid of it just in case an occasion comes up for me to use it again. Or I’ll want to keep it because it has sentimental value. Anything that I receive as a gift has to stay around for at least a few years before I can let go of it.

I picked out a bunch of CDs to get rid of. Twenty-two of them got the axe. As I pulled them off the shelf I started to worry that I was taking away too many, but I still have over 100. I just had to accept the fact that I probably wasn’t ever going to listen to those particular 22. I hesitated to let go of Cake’s Pressure Chief, because they’re one of my favorite bands and I feel like I should have all their albums. But I just didn’t get into that one.

There’s something about having collections. At one point I wanted to have the whole set of Harry Potter books. I had four of them, but in my cleaning spree today I got rid of the first two just because I didn’t think I would read them again. I got rid of a whole stack of other books, too.

A few days ago I cleaned out my closet and dresser drawers. I’ve got a few stacks of clothing to be washed and donated. And my drawers and closet are still pretty full; so are my CD shelf and my bookshelf. I think that just proves that I didn’t need all of what I had.

I don’t know what my point is. Who cares about my spring cleaning efforts? I just started thinking about entropy about an hour ago. It’s not an entirely appropriate metaphor. Some of this cleaning spree is about “out with the old, in with the new.” I want to try to update my CD collection a little bit because I know there’s a lot of great music out there and I’ve been listening to a bunch of the same CDs for years. And sometimes I fall into the trap of wanting to make my wardrobe more fashionable, but I get over that quickly.

Oh, and I plan to sell off a couple pieces of furniture that I’ve had since I was in high school. So I can start amassing things that I’ve picked out myself, and shed the things that I inherited from my parents. I can’t wait to get my own place … but I’ll have to, for a few months at least.

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