Our neighbors down the street are moving. The moving truck and storage POD have been outside their home since the early hours of morning. Lots of commotion as they bring stuff out to take with them or put into storage.
The day is a beautiful one, the sun shining brightly with a slight breeze. It sees more like springtime than winter. You could not ask for a better day to move. No worries of rain or cold.
With my windows thrown open for fresh air, I could hear their banging and grunting, as they muscled and maneuvered their stuff out of their home into the awaiting open doors.
As I stood and watched from this vantage point, I surprised …
If I had to move, what would it take? How many boxes would I need to pack all my stuff? How many hours of preparation? What size truck would it require? How long to unload and put it all away?
And, how many trips to Goodwill or the dump to rid myself of all the excess?
I have to admit, it gave me a chill to think of it. After 17 years here, the longest I have lived anywhere, we have accumulated far more stuff than when we arrived.
We have managed to fill every room and closet in our home with more stuff than we'd need in several lifetimes. Stuff that seemed useful, necessary, and needed as we purchased or kept it.
Each room has furniture from wall to wall. A wall would open up, and we'd manage to fill it with yet another bookcase, table, cabinet, sofa or chair.
Over the years, we have moved the rooms around to give them a fresh, new perspective. We rid ourselves of a much loved sofa (and can you say well-worn?) And replaced it with two chairs. Out went the coffee table, which had become more of nuisance than a needed piece of furniture. And, moved various pieces from one room to another, which often mean the back breaking work of managing the stairs.
I now wonder – What if, back then, instead of managing the stairs with yet another object, we had just gotten rid of it?
Much of what we have, we really no longer need or use. Our rooms and closets, not to mention the garage, could have pared down to contain far less. In fact, much of what we have in our 2,000 sf home, could have reduced to fit into less than 1,000 sf.
So, why not do that, you may ask?
Good question. It is one that I mutter to myself, as I wander through my home, opening closets and cabinets – "What the heck is in here and why do I need it?"
Just to be clear, and not mislead, I, too, am a work in progress. Those who follow my weekly "Tidy Up Tuesdays" on Facebook Live, or watch my YouTube videos on the topic, may think that I've got it all handled.
I do have to chuckle at the idea, because, here's the real truth …
You are never done.
The process of clutter clearing, purging, tidying and organizing is a DAILY task, routine, and commitment. There is no "one and done" when it comes to your stuff.
Even if you were to pare down your possessions to 52 items (like some minimalists do), you still have to decide in every moment what those 52 items will be. What if a new interest or item crops up? What will you give up to have it? What will you toss? What will you keep? Or, will you now make it 53 items?
Most of us would just increase the number of items we currently possess or own.
If you are ready to pare down your stuff, here is where I would guide you to begin – Visualize.
Yes, before you even take one action to purge, tidy, organize visualize what you want that area to look like when its done.
Do not go buy containers. Do not build more shelves. Do not indiscriminately toss. Do not shove it in a closet, or move it to another room.
Stop. Take a deep breath, and decide what you really want there instead. What would be the ideal? What is it's purpose?
And, keep in mind, the biggie – tidying up is a daily task which requires vision, focus, intent, and diligence.
But, for now, just for today, let's begin with your vision.