At this moment, I am focusing on decluttering every aspect of my life. I want to remove all of the stuff gathering dust in my home, office, body, and mind. I am not averse to stuff. I love cozy rooms with trinkets and wonder all around. I love the room in this picture. Just looking at it makes me want to lounge with a cup of jasmine pearls swimming in a steamy pool of water. I am all for organized chaos. When I cannot find things because they are in a container, somewhere in the pile of boxes in the closet, I become very stressed. When I cannot find something to wear in a closet full of clothes, I feel blessed to have clothes, then confused about why I am keeping clothes that do not fit, and stressed again. Time to get a barrel together. These are clothes others can use. It makes no sense for me to have a shrine in my closet to my past fashion decisions.
I want every room in my house to say, "Take a seat, grab a blankie, and relax. This space was meant for you. Rest." As I write this, I am sitting in the one room that got the memo. The fireplace is on, the windows are facing an idyllic snowy yard. The christmas tree is lit. Yes, it is still up. This room is full of books, pictures and it is where we chill. It is time to spread the news around to the other spaces in my life. The new year is here so, this need to create space in my space is apropos.
I am a conscious packrat. When I see an item on sale, I think, “This would be great for the kids at church… the women in my life… for my students... for a future craft project”, and I buy in bulk. They sit in my space awaiting for the opportunity to be distributed. The opportunities often come, encouraging my behavior. I once had ten copies of a book filled with great speeches by influential leaders. Some of them are still on my bookshelf. A teen in my life was running for student body president and he wanted to deliver a speech to "wow" the voters. He was thrilled that I had these books. He actually expected me to have something. This same kid used to come to me for snacks because he know I usually kept chips and crackers in a container in my trunk. So then, some of my clutter is cherished treasure that needs to be organized. Some are symbols of memories that I need to let go. Some are tricky traps which cause false ideations of usefulness., like the large bucket of blue sand in the basement. I, somehow, know that I will need this sand in the near future. Don't you need blue sand? Some of my clutter is just trash, like the broken Christmas tree in my basement? The basement is basically a craft scavenger hunt. It is time for some New Year Winter cleaning. Spring is not promised and it is too far away.
Fortunately, at work, my friend is my decluttering accountability partner. Thank you, Mayra! I had bags upon bags of really cool stuff under a desk. She had me remove two bags every day. "Remove" could mean, toss them out, take them home, or take out the contents and place them in their proper place. Whatever happened, I had to get rid of stuff. I knew that she would come in my office and check. That created just enough pressure for me to make sure that the desk was bag free in a week. Back to the problem at hand - my home.
While thinking about decluttering, I read this fantastic article about how Decluttering Does not Work. I highly recommend it. In this article, the authors’ state, “It is possible to get rid of everything you own and still be utterly miserable, to come home to your empty house and sulk after removing all your pacifiers.”
I am not miserable, but I appreciated this article. In the past, I have had to let go of roles that trapped me into an identity and a false sense of security. Who would I be if I was not available to do "xyz" or was not able to provide "abc"? I was tired. I then found out that this feeling was an epidemic for persons who held similar positions. When your whole life at work and after work is consumed with service, it is easy to neglect yourself. It can become difficult to separate happiness with the joy and peace of others. Your body, however, is highly aware and will let you know, "'...You, in danger girl', and I am about to shut things down if you do not learn how to create better boundaries, be still, take care of me, and say 'no'".
I decided a long time ago that taking care of myself was a public service. This decluttering, is not only about creating a more peaceful environment in my home for everyone who lives here, it is about letting go of the false security of having things, just in case I need them one day in the uncertain future. It is also about honoring what I have.
I do not want to empty my house. Rather, I want to make my scrapbooking supplies easier to find. I want to open a closet and not give up on whatever task I was hoping to do because that thing I was looking for may be in the box at the bottom of 12 boxes – all unopened for the past 4 years. That thing, after all, could be in the basement with the broken Christmas tree. I want to find the lids to my snack containers. I do believe that these little things will increase my peace. I want to not have decluttering as a thing I constantly have to do, but never have time to do.
My plan is simple. Go through, at least, one bag a day. Whatever happens, the box or bag should be emptied. I know that I will need to buy a 50 gallon container, marked “Crafts” and perhaps some shelving for the treasures with which I will not part. I am ok with that. I will know where to find the glue guns and the pretty paper scraps and that will make me smile.
I had a plan that I called “Operation Lose 30”. I was sure that if I lost 30 pounds, I would fit into the clothes in my closet, thereby saving money. Here is the thing: I have been on this operation for years - at least 5 years! Time to abort.
Here is a list I made on May 29, 2016 with my revised Operation Lose 30 goals:
I think that most of these goals hold true, but I do not weigh myself. Over the last few days, I have become more intentional with my health and I am taking it day by day. I have to. I am in my early 40s with high cholesterol. I take cholesterol medication! What is really going on? I usually eat quite healthily, but now I have to be militant about my health. Thankfully, I cook and my family eats whatever I make. Diet is not really the issue. I sit at a desk for most of the day and live a sedentary lifestyle, as is too typical for city-dwellers. A few days ago, I went to my first hot yoga class and fell in love with possibility as I sweat and put away thoughts of fainting in some strange pose. Hot yoga is not cheap. When my first timer, week-long discount runs out, I will need to come up with a plan. I am not really disciplined when it comes to exercise, so when I like something, it is more effective for me to remain in that thing. On Tuesday, I will take two classes to end my week of hotness and then I will have to lay out the next iteration of physical health practices. I am not going to dwell on this dilemma. One day at a time, right?
I find that when I meditate and pray in the morning, I am calmer, more astute, and more effective in my daily tasks. I am happier and more energized. It is better than an energy bar! I have friends who read, practice yoga (they are more disciplined and do not need a class like me) or engage is some other exercise, walk, take a long bath, or do something else to prepare for the day and it is similarily helpful. Taking time to be still, and take care of yourself before the day begins can do wonders. It clears my head. When I do not do it, I regret it. I have a toddler which makes this goal more challenging, but, not impossible. There is really no good excuse for not taking the best care of myself when I have to care for so many in my life. So I have begun this journey of creating an environment of peace in my home, body and in my head. Time for some ginger oolong.
How have you made space in your life?
What things, persons, or behaviors have you let go of to move on to a better you?
Here, I share new discoveries and thoughts about things I love. Ride along with me. Comments are welcomed and appreciated.
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