…or, that one time I got rid of over a thousand things.
You might remember that Kel set herself a goal of getting rid of 500 things in her home. I never set a goal like that, but I found that rearranging my office to better suit my needs naturally led me to go through our things. I started keeping track out of curiosity.
It took me just over three months to toss, recycle, donate, or sell 1016 things.
I know it probably seems a little strange that here we are, Women Making Changes, encouraging you all to STOP depriving yourselves, and yet we keep talking about decluttering, getting rid of things in our homes.
I’ll be completely honest: I don’t think this is something anyone HAS to do as part of changing their life. What’s happened is simply that as Kel and I have stopping depriving ourselves of our own time, energy, love, and attention, we’ve both found that there are things in our houses that just don’t support or enhance the people we are evolving into. Things that get between us and the lives we want to live. And neither of us will tolerate that any longer.
For me, at least, decluttering has been a way to gain some clarity about what I’m surrounding myself with and what I really want around me. It’s been an exercise in mindfulness.
Here are a few things I learned for you to consider (without having to venture into your own scary closet!):
The 3 bottles of hot sauce dilemma
The more I looked under the surface of my environment, the more scatteredness I found. One day I cleaned out the refrigerator door bins. I realized there was no real method to the madness there, just things sitting where they fit at that moment…which explains why we had 3 bottles of the same hot sauce opened. Someone didn’t see it, opened another one. Repeat.
I found the same pattern in quite a few areas. I know where this comes from. There’s a vague plan, but then I get busy, or things don’t quite fit and I don’t take the time to rework things so they do. Or we started small and then it expanded and I didn’t take the time to update the space to accommodate what’s happening NOW.
It might not be an issue for someone else, but I’ve realized this drives me a subtle kind of crazy. Like I need that! So now I’m on the lookout for it.
What I want: less scattered, more focus. I’m hoping that by focusing on that in my environment, it will help me find that in my mind as well.
What do you really want?
OK, first off: getting rid of a thousand things has not turned me into the Guru of Minimalism. (It’s more a commentary on the amount of crap that was in my basement than anything else.)
In fact, what I’ve learned through doing this is that I have no interest in having a minimalist house.
I have great interest in having a mindful house.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any level of stuff in a person’s home. What’s right for one person is miserable for another. I think the problem is not making the choice actively.
At one point, Kel and I both wanted a wall of books. She ended up deciding that she didn’t want that after all…I ended up creating one and loving it. The point is that you make the choice that makes YOU happy…not your friends, your mother, or Pottery Barn. 😉
Who decided you should have this?
My son just outgrew all his clothes. (He’s 13, so I should get used to saying that a lot, right?) I noticed something interesting as we went through his wardrobe. There were more things in perfect condition because he never or rarely wore them than I care to admit–and most of those things I had suggested he should have. He didn’t tell me ‘no’ in the store, he just never wore them!
This was a good lesson for me before he enters this phase of constant growth, but it also applies to the bigger picture. Are there things in your house that you don’t love, but are keeping because someone else decided you should have it?
Even if that someone was the old you?
What have you outgrown?
It’s easy to see it with kids. The wrists and ankles sticking out of their clothes, the dust gathering thickly on the toys they used to play with. But what about you? You’re still growing, mentally and emotionally. What no longer fits the person you are now? What clothes, hobbies, furniture?
* * *
I first heard this quote a long time ago, but now I’m actively choosing it for my guideline when I look at the space around me:
How about you? Have you been doing any sprucing up of your own environment? What have you learned in doing so? Let’s talk about it in the comments!