“Nothing prepared me for the rush I got when that first bag of discards hit the curb. What I expected to be a tedious, and rather onerous, task turned out to be exhilarating. I was instantly addicted. I decluttered in the morning; I decluttered in the evening; I decluttered on the weekends; I decluttered in my dreams (really!). When I wasn’t actually decluttering, I was planning what I could declutter next. The high I experienced while decluttering was like no other; it’s as if I could feel the physical weight being lifted from my shoulders. After I’d been particularly productive, I’d twirl around in my (newly) empty space with a huge grin on my face.”
I could have written that myself! In fact, it was written by Francine Jay in The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life. Reading her words caused me to nod in recognition.
There’s been no break with my effort to eliminate unnecessary items from our house. I think if it’s been in the closet for over a year and we never needed it, we probably won’t be needing it in the future.
So far I have made about $800 by selling furniture that was crowding our space, books we don’t need hanging around taking up shelf real estate, kitchen items, etc. I’ve been to Goodwill and the recycling dumpster multiple times and have given away a lot of things too. I thought it was hilarious when someone in my facebook trading group asked me if we are moving.
Having fewer possessions but having a spot for each item has made a big difference so far. Mr. B has even remarked that he likes the progress I’ve made although he jokes that he’s afraid I’m going to sell his clothes if he doesn’t lock them up. I admit that I’m being rather ruthless right now because I’m tired of straightening up!
Week three of the process is CLEANSE. By that, Balbes means we need to take those items that bring us joy and take care of them, framing pictures, cleaning silver, etc. It happens after RELEASE, where we “reconnect with our valued possessions via simple-seeming activities such as dusting, washing, framing, and reupholstering.” I haven’t gotten to that point yet because I am still purging but I did spend a few hours shredding documents that have been piling up for quite a while and it felt good to get those done. I do like the idea of breathing new life into our valued possessions and I know I will do that.
“As you renew your bonds to what is useful for you, you strengthen your connection to the parts of your history that are the foundation of who you are today and who you want to become.”
I’m getting ahead of myself in the SoulSpace process but we have rearranged furniture and purchased a couple of items that we really love. In getting rid of our very large entertainment center, moving our love seat elsewhere, and our coffee and end tables, we have found a ton of space in our living room. It’s not finished but stay tuned.
The next thing and most exciting update is that we have enclosed our back porch and that has dramatically changed where we spend our free time. It’s a great place for my daughter to play restaurant with sand. (So far she hasn’t noticed the junk items I’ve tossed!)
Francine Joy also explained the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule). In this context, it means we use 20 percent of our stuff 80 percent of the time. I’ve simply decided not to keep much of the other 80%. She also says that “the things with which we choose to surround ourselves tell our story.” I am obviously finding many many items that no longer tell the story I wish to tell.
If you know me well you know that what I am about to tell you is a really big deal. I sold or donated hundreds of books. There were some that I have been hanging to since before college and I finally realized that I am not going to ever read them a second time. There are so many new books to read! Then there were the ones that I bought for work or photography and I also am not going to look through again. I sold some through BookScouter, which netted me about $50. I gave away craft magazines and anything that people would want and I gave five huge boxes to Goodwill.
My shelves are still jammed with books but at least I can see what I have and they are not triple stacked. I may have to go through them again but I can tell you that the ones I kept are the ones I truly do treasure.
I’ve saved the hardest projects for last… the hall closet full of everything I don’t know what to do with, the filing cabinet, the playroom, and finally the garage and attic.
Between my purging, selling, donating, and organizing, and setting up the new sunroom (assembling furniture), I have tuckered myself out!
Tell me how you’re getting along in your own home. 🙂