by Ang Kia Yee

This morning, when my brother declared himself exhausted and remarked that he didn’t understand how I was still taking everything out and packing, I stopped short. How could I tell him that I had been image training for this for years? That I have, in fact, watched maybe a hundred videos (vlogs, tutorials, etc.) of people spring cleaning, Marie Kondo-ing, drastically downsizing of their things. That I have been writing up plan after plan of how I would reorganize this space since I was in my teens. I guess I could have said exactly these things. I couldn’t because I was only realizing all of them in that moment, when he said those things to me. Ah. I was not just enamoured by minimalism or living vicariously through the people I watched. I was also training and preparing to do this, for this day I was adamant would come.

I moved as if on autopilot, even though I was making rapid calculations about how to reorganize the many parts, how to facilitate the next step when the clutter started to flood the counter, the floor, the table. I was running a marathon I had been promised years ago, a spring that had been held down that was finally released. I could not have stopped myself.

When I finally came to a rest, when the decade-long hunger had been slightly satiated and calmed, I was awed by my own work. The kilos of books and kitchenware I had put in new places, and the many decisions I had made about all of them in such a short time. I am enjoying the new airiness, as well as the clearer sense of how else we will change this space.

A part of my calculations also involved designing the next steps for my family, putting things out in the open in gentle or more forgiving configurations that might give everyone more time and space to make our coming decisions. More than anything, I think I wish to not feel like I’m going at it alone anymore. I wish to make this home ours together.