I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and unhappy with the state of my teeny tiny townhouse for years. It stresses me out and has kept me from having people over. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the night my house alarm malfunctioned and three hot police officers showed up to make sure I was OK. I was so embarrassed by the mess that my new motto became “The house must at all times be presentable enough for three hot police officers to come over”. In order to fulfill that promise I made to myself, I knew I needed to streamline and live a more minimalist life.
Have you noticed any new space being created as you let things physically, mentally and emotionally go?
My bedroom is the only room that is truly done and it is my favorite room in the house. That is no coincidence! It is so peaceful and lovely in there and I’ve effortlessly created new habits to maintain that feel. For example, I used to store my clothes on the floor, in a pile. That has been my system for most of my life. Now I put them away simply because my organized closet makes me so happy. I started opening my blinds every day as well (for a plant I moved into my room) and the natural light gives the room a cleansed feeling when I get home at the end of the day. And I’m making my bed regularly for the first time in my life. That one still baffles me! Where did this bed-making version of me come from? I’m changing in ways I did not expect.
What’s been the easiest part for you?
The only thing I’m particularly good at is rifling through my clothes and pulling things for Goodwill because I’ve done it many, many times over the years. (The result of multiple moves. Nothing like being forced to haul your stuff around to inspire you to get rid of it.) I also find it easy to get rid of things. I’m so exhausted by all my STUFF that sending it off to Goodwill has become more fun than keeping it.
How about the hardest?
Sitting down and figuring out how to organize things and where to keep them. This is the first time I’ve tried the visual closet organization and it took a little while to puzzle through how to set it up. I’m still not convinced I’ve put some things in the best place and I’m still working on creating better “processes” for myself. For example, the process of “getting home from work”. Where do I want my coat to go? What about my shoes? Where do I put the mail and my purse or laptop bag? This stuff has required a lot of thought and furniture movement. I had no idea I’d have to think so much, but it’s nice to create new habits to get around my old lazy ways.
Any surprises so far?
I had no idea that a peaceful room would feel so good AND be so motivating. I’ve never been a neat person, but the way I have maintained my bedroom for the last month is shocking. I feel genuine motivation to keep it organized because it makes me so happy. I’m hoping that will extend to the rest of the house once I’m done decluttering.
What are your intentions for joining other “explorers” on this journey?
I’m fascinated to hear about other people’s experiences and ideas. I’m especially open to organizational tips and tricks because that has been the hardest part of the process for me. I love that you (Shannon) have created a community for declutterers to come together. There is a lot of motivational power in groups of like-minded folks!
Any tips, thoughts or suggestions you might want to share with others who are interested in starting to “reduce clutter” so they can “create more “space” in their lives?
A lot of this process has involved being really honest with myself about who I am and then trying to outsmart myself. As I mentioned above, I’m working on creating better processes for myself for the stuff I do every day that has the potential to create clutter. Also, I’ve had to figure out how to motivate myself to do all this hard decluttering work. A friend told me there are two ways to get unpleasant tasks done: All at once or a little at a time, consistently. I’m more of an all-at-once girl, but the task has proved to be bigger than a couple of dedicated weekends. So I’ve morphed my declutter time to extend through April (my parents will be visiting and they get to help with some of the heavy lifting tasks. Also the garage, where the spiders live). I generally only declutter on weekends, recognizing that I need a break during the week. Giving myself dedicated declutter time has helped keep me focused. In fact, I really wasn’t feeling it last weekend, so I gave myself the weekend off. Who says it’s a race? All that matters is getting to the finish line by the end of 2010.
Thank you, Erin. Knowing that you are out there working magic in your home gives us the courage and determination to keep on clearing!