Posts Tagged "de-clutter"

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A couple of years ago I looked around my house and didn’t like what I saw. Don’t get me wrong, my house is comfortable, nice even. It’s somewhat color coordinated. It just no longer reflected me.

There was just too much stuff. Too many tchotchkes on the tables. Too many art and office supplies crammed in the drawers and closets. Too many unused kitchen utensils and tools sitting in the pantry and garage. Too many books lining the shelves. I was tired of moving stuff from one location to another. I was tired of dusting and rearranging and rearranging some more. I realized I just wanted less stuff.

I decided the first step was to stop the bleed. If I could eat it, wear it, use it for work, or needed it to replace something that was actually useful, then and only then did I buy it. Otherwise, I left the stuff in the stores for some other shopper. A Kindle for Christmas ended my need to purchase books. Less stuff coming in felt good.

Next, it was time to actually get rid of things.

I’ve never been a pack rat. I’ve had several yard sales over the years. I regularly give away or donate items that have outlived their usefulness. If it’s ripped, torn, or stained to the point of tackiness, it’s gone. If it’s broken beyond repair, it’s in the trash. If I no longer need it and someone else can use it, it’s theirs. You won’t find me on an episode of Hoarders anytime soon.

But with this newfound desire to par down to the bone, to winnow out every item I could winnow out, I had a lot of work to do.

At first it was easy. I hit my closet and pulled out clothes that no longer fit or flattered and items I just no longer wore. I went through the drawers in my kitchen. Did I really need three coffee scoops? No. Did I really need two can openers? No. The leftover glitter and glue, colored papers, and scraps of yarn that my children used to fashion crafts when they were young? Those were out too.

Except for a few photos and doodads that truly meant something to me, the tchotchkes that cluttered my table tops were removed. As each holiday rolled around, I scrutinized the decorations I had purchased over the years and only kept ones that truly delighted me. The next year I got rid of even more.

Then it got more difficult. The children’s artwork, photos from 24 years of marriage, scrapbooks and memorabilia; what do you do with those? Essays saved from high school, old yearbooks, the dollhouse my mother and grandmother painstakingly decorated for me; was I just to toss these out too? For me, these were not easy questions to answer.

I’d like to tell you that my house is perfectly neat, tidy, and organized. I’d like to tell you that there is no clutter, no junk, no unused items, but that would be a lie. What I can tell you is this; it’s a process. The point is to have a space in which my family and I can relax and work. The point is to surround ourselves only with things that we find useful and beautiful and soothing.

I’m getting there. My commitment ebbs and flows and that’s fine. I go for a few weeks just living in my space, just being. This is followed by a couple weeks of tough scrutiny and the release of more things I no longer need. I’m looking for my sweet spot. That place where I have exactly what I need and not one item more.

Yes, I realize the sweet spot is elusive.

But here’s the bottom line. With each item that leaves I feel lighter, more free. As I clear my house of the things I don’t want, I find there is more room for what I do want. And that has been the point all along.

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