My Year of Less: Feb 2019
Is it safe to say that everyone starts here?
When the desire for less finally rears its head in life, does one automatically think of less stuff first and foremost? It seems that way. Lots of the people who talk about less start with talking about less stuff. I think it serves as a gateway to this slow living thing. A recognizable first step that everyone can identify with and something that everyone, at some time or another, to one degree or another has participated in. Spring cleaning. Purging. Tidying up.
We have played this game before. Lots of times in fact and somehow the stuff just keeps creeping back into our lives. And I don't really even know how!! We have moved across the country...4 times...in the course of our nearly 20 year marriage. Tossed stuff each time - lots of stuff. And I feel surrounded by it. Overwhelmed by it. Choked by it.
And here we are again. Ready to redo our rugs and floors (all within the span of 2 weeks because, why not?) and so all the things need to be moved. And there is so much stuff.
Now...side note for context. Our family runs two small businesses, more or less solo. My main work space is in our house and the piles of fabric and tools and patterns and orders that litter the sewing room are all related to work. My husband runs a ninja warrior gym and is building a second. So the garage, and some of the upstairs space has mats and grips and holds and other gym-y things. I'd like to blame it all on those two things. But photos don't lie, and you can see lots of other stuff in that there picture.
I think more than anything it's the little junks that bother me. Not the large, definable things that take up a lot of space but have clearly defined roles in our lives. Ironing board? Need. Little piece of something or other stuck in oddly shaped container or something? Might be needed? Possibly is sentimental? Could be useful? Who can tell!!!
And then there's the kids' stuff. Children do as they see. And what has been modeled for them is things come in, things get placed wherever, things stay an indefinite amount of time, things get shifted from one pile to another, and things then sometimes get thrown out. Or not. Maybe. (My son is currently reading over my shoulder and laughing at the accuracy of this statement.) Perhaps we should be crying.
In the moving of all the things, I realized two things:
1. We REALLY needed new rugs...and a second curtain apparently.
and 2. All the open space made everything seem more light. Airy. Peaceful. There was more space to think, and it seemed like time slowed down a bit. I liked it.
So why? Why do I have so much stuff? Why, if I like this light, airy, can breathe feeling do I always let my life reclutter? And HOW does it happen? Because I am not a consumer. Aside from fabric, I don't really buy stuff. I have clothes that are twice as old as my kids. We've had most of the same furniture since we've been married. There's not much in the way of decor or extras in our home. Just junk, it seems. And then I realized that things come in, but they don't leave. Like a roach motel. Lovely analogy. But true. I am somewhat of a "I might need that someday" hoarder. Not in a piles of dead animals and old newspaper monoliths kind of way, but in a if I need it down the road, I don't want to spend the money on it again kind of way. But here's the trick. We have already paid $700 last year for a dumpster to get rid of stuff AND we currently pay $100 or so a month for a storage shed for some house and some gym-y stuff cause we don't have room in the house to store it. So.......who's saving money by holding on to all the things in the roach motel? Not me.
And that was the tipping point. I can now get rid of the stuff that is costing me lots of money to hold on to, knowing that I may have to spend a little bit of money to purchase it again, IF I need it in the future. And since we had to move all the things quickly, most everything that we don't use on a day to day basis is in a box. So even though the furniture is back in place, and everyone knows where their toothbrush is, the detritus is not. And I can thoughtfully decide what comes back in and where it should live. But more on that later.
What about you? Does any of what I'm struggling with sound familiar? Do you have things you need to get rid of - not just tidy up but purge the heck out of your home and life? Or are you a natural purger? I'd love to hear your story too!
Thanks for reading!