Clean it out~
If you’ve lived in the same house for the past three years or longer it is likely that you have begun to fit newly acquired things in crevices, corners and newly found empty spaces. I’ve moved about every two years for the last twelve, which has given me the chance to evaluate what I do and don’t use, and what I could get rid of for someone else to get better use of. If I’m not moving I have to make a conscious effort to purge.
The best advice for dealing with too many things (like too many books on my bookshelf) is to imagine what it means to be you now. Does my bookshelf define who I am and what I am interested in now? In the case of my closet, have I worn these clothes in the last eight months? Why so or why not? Do I use all of these blankets, dishes, these perfumes, read these magazines… I can get a little carried away with all of my things.
When I pare down what I own to what it takes to keep care of myself, to essentially what defines me and my interests, I find I have much less to worry about!
I learned this concept while traveling in Europe my junior year of college. With only a back sack full of daily needs such as a camera, sketchbook and journal, I was able to spend three months with this bag and a small portable suitcase. It took me a few months to determine exactly how much shampoo would get me through two weeks (there are stores in Europe!), how much detergent I would need if I were only bringing a weeks worth of socks, etc. Again, perhaps a little overboard, but what I learned after three months of living like this, with so few things, was that I felt so free not having to be concerned with what I could not pick up and move with me. It taught me how many things I pamper myself with during my typical daily routine and what I could do without at home.
I talked about the digestive system yesterday, which was spawned by reading an organizational book (to learn more about organizing my home) from author Karen Kingston. It was ‘Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui.’
It was the first time I heard about Bagua, arranging a grid overtop of your house floor plan that tells you what each space in your home is related to. I call it the Zen Grid.
By desiring each entity in my life to be better I have in essence cleaned up most of my spaces to reflect how I utilize them the most – giving me a clearer vision of what I do and what I most enjoy.
Also, an article was featured in the NY Times yesterday about sharing experiences instead of stuff. ‘In Recession, Americans Doing More, Buying Less’ I learned about a young family jumping in a pink canoe to travel to small islands in the Biscayne Bay. It was an inspiring little story.