Prologue: I started another road to clearing my space a few months ago when I had the epiphany that I no longer wanted to take time taking care of possessions that didn’t bring me joy. I’ve spent a lifetime surrounding myself with stuff, with things, and the time to spend more time living is now.
Walk into any bookstore, spend anytime browsing on Amazon and you’ll discover a plethora of books on decluttering—a multitude of methods to match all personalities. Pick one. Pick two. Pick them all. I did. From Marie Kondo to feng shui to so many others. Each spoke to me in a particular moment in time. I never followed one exactly, but that may be just the point. What works for one may not work for another, but pieces of each experience may inspire.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll share moments of inspiration from my journey of these past few months. Maybe some of my experiences will speak to you.
I do know these two things for sure:
- I have no regrets. I do not regret letting go of any of the items that have left my apartment.
- With every passing day, with each successive moment, I find myself enjoying my surrounds and my life more than I thought possible, and that makes continuing the journey more than worth it.
Beware of the Pretty
One day while in the process of decluttering I became aware of how many “pretty” things I own. I own so many “things” that I have lost sight of what I really enjoy and what I have hidden in the nether regions of my cupboards. Part of the process of decluttering for me involves having an awareness of what I “own”. What do I possess and what possesses me?
I have pretty jewelry and pretty Christmas ornaments, I have pretty clothes and pretty knick knacks. I have lots and lots and lots of pretty “things”.
Collecting and buying pretty things can be and has been for me a distraction.
I am not trying to toss all my pretty things. No. Not at all. I’m working on being aware of the things I have. The things that surround me. If everything I own is socked away in a cupboard then I can’t possibly enjoy those things.
Seasonal things, of course, have to be stored. If I kept my Christmas decorations out all year round they wouldn’t be as special.
Over the years I’ve managed to collect fancy tea cups which I’ve stored in dark corners. Tea cups, especially pretty ones, deserve to be be on display. One day I realized I had the perfect display place for them, so I pulled them out and placed them in the bay window of my kitchen. Now when I see them and they make me smile. If I want to have a tea party of one or more now all I have to do is pull a tea cup out from the window.
At least two of the tea cups have been in the cupboard for 7 years (if not more) until recently. All that time hiding away. Socked away in darkness.
Beware of pretty things because stores have a way of displaying pretty things in a way that will appeal to you, in a way that will say “buy me. I’m pretty and will make you feel good.” Too many times I’ve fallen for that. I’ve fallen for the impulse purchase and bought the thing that then stayed in the back of the closet.
I like to collect Starbucks ornaments because they shine when Christmas lights reflect on them. I put them out at Christmas. Some I put out all year. I know these pretty things. I know where they belong, and I know where they live. Even when they’re away it makes me happy knowing I’ll see them again.
I’ve learned to visit pretty things in stores. And not to buy them. ON a recent trip to San Diego I saw a cute little plate. I really liked it, but didn’t want to make an impulse buy, so I waited until I walked around for a bit before making a decision. It had a pink flamingo on it with the saying “no flocks given”. As I sit here typing, I can look over and see the little plate on my end table. It makes me happy. I bought just two things on that trip. The plate and a sweater.
One time when I traveled to England, I bought so much stuff my suitcase weighed 70 pounds upon my return. Fortunately, the gate agent took pity on me and didn’t mark the suitcase as overweight. That suitcase DID NOT have wheels.
I don’t remember most of the things in that suitcase, but I do remember struggling to get everything in it. On that trip I probably spent more time shopping than having experiences.
That’s the real lesson here: pretty things in my living space need to bring happy memories or make me smile. After all, happiness doesn’t belong in a cupboard gathering dust, only to be seen when a door is opened.
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