Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Clearing the clutter

A few weeks ago, I was at the library and found this book called Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. I've always been interested in Feng Shui, but end up getting confused by the grids and charts and the fact that every article I read or book I see tends to have a different philosophy. This is supposed to be enlightening, but it just ends up confusing me. Anyhow, I picked up this book and immediately saw that it had no big charts. Point one for said book.

It turned out to be less about placing certain objects in certain spots and more about releasing things from your life that you no longer need. It's a simple idea, but so hard to do in reality (at least for me).

In fact, the book was so good that when it was overdue at the library (is that a form of clutter?) I went ahead and bought a copy. It gives step-by-step instructions on how to clear the things out of our lives that serve to muck things up - not only that stack of school papers or bills on the dining room table, but those unfinished projects that just serve to make us guilty. Or what about all the stuff in the basement that we never use? You ask yourself: Do I love it? Do I actually use it? (and not just once ten years ago).

It was amazing to me just how many things in my life failed that simple test.

It's not about pristine neatness (thank goodness), but more about only having things in your house that work for you. Like having a junk drawer works because it is a catch-all. Having all drawers be full of junk is less workable.

It's amazing to find out what's really clutter. I went down in our basement and started going through things: like the serving platter we've never used (yet we hosted Christmas eve this year), the seven plastic tubs of cake pans that my mother-in-law gave us. Yes, she had a business selling cakes, but when am I going to use an Alf pan? I found cool things from college that I do plan to keep. But I also found my freshman year diary that gives a day-by-day replay of my miserable first year at school. Why am I holding on to that?

It's been my mission to fill the trash cans every week with clutter. The charity trucks have been by twice this month already and it has been cathartic in a way I never expected. Yes, there are things I will always keep - like that little box of cute baby outfits from when my kids were little. But to have space in my basement - and to know I made that space in my life - it really has been priceless.


Brandy said...

When we were in the military we were used to paring down and getting rid of things before and after each move. Now that we've been out ten years I still make everyone go through their things about twice a year. However, I still find that we're holding on to too much clutter and after reading this am ready to do another purge!

Angie Fox said...

That's the trick - we've been in our house for 10 years and things just...gather.