Thursday, May 14, 2015

Declutter: Ready,Set,Go!

Ooo... what a delightful photo! :) No, this is not nearly as lovely a post as the previous one, but while things are all abloom outside, there is lots of action going on inside as well.

This past late winter/early spring, I have been thinking a lot about getting rid of even more things. I have been inspired, like so many others, by Marie Kondo's, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Over the past year and a half, I have also enjoyed Jennifer L. Scott's talks on her blog, The Daily Connoisseur, and in her book, Lessons From Madame Chic, about the 10-item Wardrobe. She even was invited to do a TedTalk on the topic. Additionally, I have read about Project 333 and like the ideas there as well.

I have just been waiting to get to summer break in order to really focus on my own project of this kind. Since I finished my last project last week, I have finally arrived and am excite to dig in...and dig out!

I won't be doing things exactly as all the aforementioned authors. I have been practicing voluntary simplicity in greater and lesser degrees since about 1992 when I read Wanda Urbanska and Frank Levering's book Simple Living: One Couple's Search for a Better Life. After reading that book, I was hooked!

As I mentioned in this post, I consider myself already a pretty organized person and have long practiced paring things down on a regular basis. So I didn't know how much I would glean from Kondo's book. However, I did learn some new things. Two, in particular, were most profound. One, is the one everyone mentions: if something doesn't bring you joy, you shouldn't keep it. The second was that you don't need to hang on to things just because someone gave them to you. If an item no longer brings you happiness and it is just sitting in a drawer or closet because you would feel bad giving it away, the item has already served its purpose. It brought you joy for a time as a token of generosity or remembrance or celebration. But if it no longer is being used or enjoyed, it no longer needs to live with you and can bring happiness to someone else.

Kondo does a one-time, big, sweeping purge of a home: a once-and-for-all clean that she claims you will never have to do again if you keep up with her system. I imagine she is absolutely right. For me, though, I do not want to take days entirely devoted to the project. I want to keep the majority of my house in tact while I work on this project over time. I will be going through rooms - exactly the way Kondo does NOT recommend, since she recommends going through your items by category and not by room.

I can see that if you really needed to get a handle on clutter in your home, Kondo's method would be terrific. But I already have a cleaning system in place that works really well for me. And, as I mentioned, I already have a habit of decluttering on a regular basis. That, coupled with the move we made (which was really a series of multiple moves!) in 2012, we have already let go of a number of things.

What I want to do this time, though, is to address some of those things that I could probably, for the rest of my life, just not even mess with. I am going to be digging deep in closets, purging drawers, looking through photos, linens, books... things you don't use regularly, but sometimes just have... just in case you want to reminisce or have for "special occasions"...that you often forget to actually use for special occasions, because they are buried in the sideboard under that bag of Christmas photos from friends over the years. I am going to make and take the time to address those things that I have put in places to deal with later.

Later has arrived.

Yes, this summer, I plan to make my way through my things and face everything. I can tell you that I am not looking forward to all of it. I am looking forward to the feeling I will have when I am done facing everything, but I am not looking forward to the entire process, that's for sure.

This is why doing a little at a time, I believe, will work well for me. I am definitely a little-at-a-time person. I am disciplined enough to stick to the goal, so unless there are unforseen circumstances that arise (such as my dad's hearing loss that needed to be dealt with last summer), I plan to dedicate a little time each day to this large task at hand.

Hopefully, at the end of this, I will be able to enjoy everything I own. I hope to be living only with things that, as Marie Kondo says, "spark joy."

I'm also trying to apply simplifying/minimalist principles to my digital experiences, skin care, transportation, etc. I'm sure this will be a recurring theme in my posts to come, especially throughout this summer.

All of this is not actually much of a departure from anything for me; my blog is named Golightly Place after all. I just feel a new surge of focus with the changing of the seasons and the opportunity that my summer break from school will provide.

So, we'll see. There is much out there online to keep me inspired and motivated toward achieving this goal. I look forward to seeing how it will all come out!

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