Prior to the visit, I combed through my bathroom and kitchen cabinets and all my drawers, getting rid of things I forgot I even had. I also gave each item a home. Playbills went into an archival box (thank you, Container Store!). Business card information was put in my laptop’s address book. Ideas I’ve torn out of magazines were placed in files.
Once I was finished, I noticed two things: 1) It did not take as long as I thought; I simply needed to dedicate time to the task, and 2) My brain became uncluttered, giving me the space to do things I enjoyed without any worry over things things I needed to do! You know that mental checklist we all have? Some of us get this list out of our head by writing it on paper, but the items are still “things that need to get done.” Putting it on paper gets it out of our ruminating head – the side that says, “Don’t forget to do X,” but it does not get it out of the side that says, “You still need to do X.” At the end of the day, the task still needs to get done….at some point.
I’ve been so motivated by the feeling I got over going through my drawers that I have decided to make October “space clearing month.” Anything that clogs my brain or the physical space around me will be donated, tossed, or put in its proper place. You might wonder how exactly I will decide what happens to each item. Several years ago, I was introduced to a wonderful book called Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston, who also runs a space clearing website.
As a result of her book and words of wisdom on her blog, I have learned some great lessons about how and why to get rid of things we may be attached to but don’t need or like. She also shares the impact on our lives when keeping such things around. For example, how many of us have gotten a gift from someone special that we appreciate but don’t care for? In the book, Karen explains that the person who gave it to you cared for you, but you don’t owe it to them to keep it. They want you to be happy, so you can easily give it away to someone who would enjoy it or donate it to someone who would need it. She wrote about this much more eloquently in her book, but you get the idea. I realized I was holding on to so many items because I was attached to my past. However, each time I moved from apartment to apartment, the boxes of stuffed animals, porcelain Precious Moments figurines, and old books for “one day when I have a kid” were following me around, unopened. I began to see these items as clutter rather than neat collectibles. Her book empowered me to give those things to a child who would use and appreciate them today because they did not mean as much to me anymore. Of course, I did keep my post prized possessions!
Here we are again, years later and other clutter has crept into my life. By simply organizing a few drawers and cabinets because of a friend’s recent visit, I have experienced, once again, the value of clearing my clutter. This month, I will continue to clear space and allow for new, happy things to enter my life. Time to get the latest edition of Karen’s book to see what tips she has added!
I know what you mean, Georgie. It can really make you feel at peace to get your physical space organized to. And once you get rid of those things you've been lugging from place to place, you realize you don't even miss them.
However, I don't think it's ever possible to organize everything and check off the whole list. There will always be another to do and striving for tying up every loose end is a losing game.
Deadlines are good…especially when they lead to good things! Organizing in big ways is often left to the Spring, but I find Fall is an even better time – it's when I am still focused from the summer and I'm not quite pent up for winter.
I respectfully disagree that the list cannot be done. When organizing, I include list organizing as well. Either I get it done or I take it off the list. Sometimes I find that cutting the list is just as important as cleaning out the closet!