The last few weeks I have been combing through my office, my garage, my personal belongings, books, clothes and more and evaluating how much I need certain things. Each year we accumulate and each year I go through this feeling of being overwhelmed by my stuff. The process is an ongoing one and has taken years to reach an honest level of commitment to myself.
There was a time when I could put all of my belongings into a single car load. I was young, single and adventure minded. Now I am married, a dad, pet owner, I am older and live in a good house with a good share of storage spaces. I do look back fondly on those days of being somewhat aloof and transient if I needed to be. I know that I can survive on less if I need to. Not having the psychological weight of stuff is a freeing feeling.
I have been looking at each of my worldly goods and possessions. I’ve decided the whole lot of my belongings is getting a shakedown and a clearing out. Already, my surroundings are becoming less cluttered and the things that matter most to me are easier to identify, find, store, maintain and keep.
Each year I try to set a theme for myself. Some key words to live by for the year… a kind of mantra that I repeat and do my best to apply to my life and to live into. Last year was about simplicity and doing things without complexity. I would strive through the year to find the simplest process and adopt that. It worked out pretty well. I consolidated a lot of my life and was able to find better function in my day to day, work and play. This year is similar but different. This year the theme is to “do more with less. “ Becoming more of a minimalist is at the heart of it. I am not about to move out of our house and into a tiny house… That is not to say that this couldn’t happen another day. I really am drawn to them. But for now I am happy with our modest mid-century style 1960's house and raising our son with a large back yard and a basement full of toys.
You think it would be easy… Each item I look at I find myself sometimes going thorough an emotional assessment and argument. I know intimately on a smaller scale what some of those people you see on those “Hoarder-type” reality TV shows must feel as relatives start to toss things. Each little item seems to have a purpose that holds, a "sentimental?" or procrastinated value that makes it worth keeping. “I am going to use that..That will be useful someday soon.” Purging is an emotional process where we look at what we find value in and question ourselves (Hopefully) as to why?
The items in the big box end up in one of three places. the garbage, a bag for charity or a small box of stuff I am keeping “just because” or “just for now”. This remaining small box is the only box I will keep. It is the “everything box” a collection of things I am still not sure why I need to keep them but “you never know when you are going to need that thing.” This has worked for my office quite well. I can’t wait to see how it goes in my garage.
"There was a time when I could put all of my belongings into a single car load. I was young, single and adventure minded."
I know that being surrounded in that way with those things can trap you and does keep you from acting on opportunities. I have always said that my surroundings reflect my mind and the cluttered rooms I have been working on are day by day clearing out and are much more pleasant to spend my time in.
This new year is going to be great. I hope that you find some inspiration here to create a better environment for yourself as well.
Happy New Year!