Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘clutter’

I know the main mantra of decluttering is ‘keep only what you need or use’ the problem is I have developed a lot of needs. 

Already I can see the improvement in my life from doing this challenge. Last night I started a Latin Dance class! I first took dance classes at the beginning of 2008 (that was where I meet mi amor) unfortunately we didn’t keep going, ‘life got in the way’. From that time I had a pair of pretty black satin dance shoes that had never been worn. This challenge brought them out of the cupboard and reminded me that dance is really something I want in my life. I’m so happy.

Zen Habits wrote today about the difference between simplicity and minimalism. Pretty much, minimalism goes all the way. And I’d call living with only 100 things very minimal so I am taking his definition to heart:

…how is minimalism different? It’s basically an extension of simplicity — not only do you take things from complex to simple, but you try to get rid of anything that’s unnecessary. All but the essential.

So I’ve discovered on this journey that dance is essential, now I have to resift my list of 211 things and purge anything that’s unnecessary – find the gold – find my essentials.

Out:

– baking soda face scrub (I can always use the kitchen stash if I want an at-home spa treatment)

– brown thongs (I don’t need two pairs and Mum was desperate for these)

– a detox book and an exercise book (I still like these books; they pass the smile test, but a friend at work is keen to get healthy and I don’t use them i.e they’re not essential, so I’m gifting them to her.)

Items: 211

Read Full Post »

The smile test is the quintessential decluttering tool to help make decisions about things.

Being surrounded by friends and family during my decluttering whirl winds would be awesome. I imagine that I would hold up a pair of leopard print shoes, and like in the days of the roman gladiators, my crowd of supporters would roar; Yay or Nah! Thumbs up, keep it. Thumbs down, it goes.

After reading  Sue Kay’s book, No More Clutter, I’ve realized I have my own little decision-making Coliseum, right on my face: it’s my smile.

I’ve found this test is excellent for sentimental items. All those old childhood toys, teenage diaries, photos, cards and jewelery. When decision-making becomes difficult, like when I start thinking about how my Mother regrets burning all her teenage diaries, I just look at it and reflect on how it makes me feel. It’s then easy to tell whether you’re hanging onto things for the wrong reasons (guilt, obligation, laziness etc), because there’s no smile on your dial.

I’m currently using this technique to decide which sentimental items I’ll keep for my memory box. And using my list, rather than physically going through the items, has helped me decide more rationally which items are significant and worth treasuring and which items are things in my life but not needed for my future happiness.

The sentimental (or things not used on a daily basis) items that won the beauty pageant smile contest are:

  1. Book – Frida Kahlo
  2. Photo album – childhood
  3. Pink crystal
  4. Tiger stone
  5. Jewelry – childhood unicorn
  6. Jewelry – childhood silver bangle
  7. Jewelry – teenage Celtic ring
  8. Pile of cards and letters
  9. Toy – teddy ‘roobear’
  10. Toy – tiny dance skirt
  11. Diary – 1997
  12. First bank book
  13. Race ribbons
  14. Tiny shells in tiny box
  15. Photo with Dad when I was 3

I still need to down size some of these things. I don’t need a whole pile of race ribbons or letters to bring a smile to my face. Just a few of the best.

Once I see how much space these things take up, I’m going to buy a special ‘memories box’ to store them in.

Read Full Post »

Hunting down things

I really had to push myself last night to complete my 100 Things List. This meant going through the stuff in storage. It’s not hurting anyone there, so why not just leave it? I felt like dropping the challenge before it even started and just go watch a movie.

But I feel the itch of too much stuff quite strongly, the niggling feeling that I own things that others could make better use of. That I own stuff that is keeping me in the past. It’s about moving from clutter to clarity; I read that in a blog somewhere. It’s like standing at the corner of a traffic intersection versus standing on the shore of a lake. I knew the only way to feel like I was living on the edge of a beautiful lake was to tackle the spare room and the shelves of old clothes and boxes of trinkets and memories.

It helped that I just had to write the things down. No decision-making, no sorting or tidying. Just acknowledgement (and surprise) of the things I own. And I do own a lot of things! I think the list is about done – current count: 501.

Read Full Post »

It kind of bugs me to have excess stuff. I guess you could even say it overwhelms me. I don’t know if it’s from guilt or a need to be organised. But when I see a dress discarded at the back of my wardrobe, or an old Christmas card from a loved one in a draw or a pair of flippers and a tennis racket in the garage and a basket of tangled necklaces on my dresser, I feel a bit suffocated. Seeing these things day in and day out but not using them, but not being able to let them go, is claustrophobic.

You know the saying: “You don’t own things, they own you”? Well I never got it, it seemed a bit stupid. But then one day I bought a car, and after that a 3m long dining table, and then, and then, and then. Before I knew it I owned all these wonderful things, but each wonderful thing needs a little love and care. And then, somehow it goes from love-at-first site in a shop to the responsibility of insuring, upkeep and making time to use these wonderful things. Also, things hold you in one place. Want to live in Africa for a year? What about all my stuff? You get the picture.

It was about the time of all this accumulation that  I was lying on the couch at my grandparents house, staring up at the wall of books I had always admired. When it hit me that all these books in a decade would be old. Not vintage or special edition old. Just old and dusty and mostly unloved. At that time I had a growing collection, a little library of my very own.

Now I have a library card and that was the beginning of my journey towards a more simply lifestyle, a lifestyle with fewer possessions. A lifestyle where less things own me.

I hope this 100 day challenge brings me to the simple lifestyle I want. I want clarity over the possessions I own and the benefit they give my life. And I look forward to the peace, contentment and freedom this will bring.

To see how I’m going visit my 100 thing list.

Read Full Post »