Things are in the saddle and ride mankind, said Ralph Waldo Emerson…
*Use it or LOSE it.
*LESS is MORE.
*Empty is BEAUTIFUL.
I have decided to get serious about re-purposing my old friend Mickey Mouse. I’m also getting rid of Minnie and a host of other stuffed toys. You guessed it, I’m de-cluttering.
A good friend was having trouble selling the family home. She’d already bought a small, perfect condo and needed to make the old, now-too-big house more attractive. She had multiple garage sales, sold and gave away more than half of what she owned. The family home started looking more beautiful. In a few weeks, furnished only sparsely, it sold.
After 38 years spent living in the same home, I started been buying books about simplifying. I’ve purchased containers for organizing and drawn up schedules for downsizing. I’m perpetually “gearing up” to purge, but instead of ridding myself of disorderly possessions, I spend too many hours keeping track of them.
Truth be told, all the organizational tools undermined me. Purchasing wondrous bins, cute cubes, file cases and photo boxes ended up creating – guess what! – more clutter. But this tyranny of things is exhausting and I’m not going to take it anymore.
Writing my adoption memoir The Goodbye Baby-A Diary about Adoption gave me the reality check I needed. It was so liberating to review four decades of past emotional “baggage” and then burning the diaries themselves, I realized that my too-much-stuff problem could also be tackled. The late diaries went up in smoke, and that gave me courage. It was OK to get rid of something that had once been precious. In publishing my “diary book,” I’d saved the essence of those journals, which was all I needed: First the diaries, then the house and everything in it. There was no turning back.
I’m not selling my house, but I was so inspired by my friend’s example, I vowed to halt this unhealthy servitude to stuff. Point one: the home office. I’m sad to report that after eight hours of dredging, I have yet to reach bottom. Only myself to blame, however. A serious office supply addiction ended up burdening me with envelopes enough to run a third world country for a year, pens and pencils that filled five shoe boxes, reams of white paper, hundreds of partially-used spiral notebooks, and three-ringed binders enough for a every grade of a school in Nepal.
Nothing to do but soldier on! I now look at STUFF as an enemy that smothers me, crowds me, muffles my creativity and keeps me from writing. I’m getting used to the beauty of EMPTY. A drawer with nothing in it. A closet with just a few hangers.