It all started when I came back from Haiti. Something just clicked inside of me and I came home eager, no desperate, to find a way to purge myself of unnecessary clutter and things.
Being in Haiti and experiencing people who had so little in the way of material things, yet so much in rich culture and community and for goodness sake, such a laid back attitude, made me realize how having so much "stuff" is holding me back and keeping me captive. I am a prisoner to my clutter.
My things, require a lot of maintenance. They need to be cleaned and put away and organized and told they look pretty and that they're not fat in that outfit...see what I'm getting at? My stuff was a needy girlfriend and I really needed to break things off with her. After all, she adds nothing to our relationship except stress and frustration.
What's a gal to do? Where do I start? How do finally break it off with my stuff?
Well, I actually have an answer to that. I stumbled upon a wonderful, realistic book about simplifying. The ironic part is this book was written by a blogger I quoted once on this very blog, but I didn't realize who she was until I was half way through the book! The book is Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider the founder of Simple Mom.
If you are where I am in life and looking for a uncomplicated way to simplify your life, then this book is for you!
Where do I start? I read the book cover to cover. Then I cried, rent my clothes and dunmped ashes on my head. A bit extreme? Perhaps. But to understand why this book means SO much to me, you have to understand where I am right now.
I've been suffering with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the traumatic birth of my fourth (and last) child, for nearly a year now. Couple that with a natural bend toward anxiety and depression and what you've got there is the perfect storm of crazy. To make matters worse I've been struggling to try to simplify my life, to free up time for the things I truly enjoy like creating and hanging out with my family. It felt like no matter what I did to try to simplify, it just felt like too big a job. I couldn't find the ambition to get started.
When I cracked into Tsh's book, I was overwhelmed with how simply things were spelled out. I know that sound dumb, but I've read books on simplicity before that were so complicated, it felt like being simple was too hard unless you had the latest and greatest for the organization store. But alas, it's not too complicated to get simple. Don't get me wrong, it's not complicated, but it does require work. But with three boxes in hand and a pack of yard sale price tags, I set to work on my living room.
In Organized Simplicity, Tsh recommends creating a mission statement to keep you on track as you de-clutter and organize. Honestly as I thought on this, I felt a bit overwhelmed to have the perfect statement. I just couldn't find the right words. There I go again, making it harder than it has to be. After slapping myself clear across the face for being so complicated, I realized my goal was to be able to tidy up in ten minutes flat. At this point, cleaning up my living room took more like twenty minutes and that doesn't include sweeping and mopping. I wanted to be able to have this room picked up, swept and mopped in ten minutes. In fact I want it to be that easy with each room in my house. So there it is. My mission statement is to have the rooms in my house cleaned up in ten minutes each.
With this goal in my brain, I rolled up my sleeves and set to work. I grabbed three boxes. One I labeled Keep. The next I labeled Sell. Finally the last box I labeled Maybe. This last one was for the stuff I had to ask the Hubbers about. It consisted mostly of wires and plugs...he's a techy.
My guidelines for keeping and selling were this: If it made me happy and I found it beautiful, then I kept it. If it was forgettable, demanding or useless it went in the sell box. I think that everyone's guidelines are different, so if you attempt this in your own home, remember that it has to be what works for you.
After a successful purge, it was time to scrub the room from top to bottom. Tsh's book comes with excellent step by step instruction if cleaning leaves you scatterbrained and unsure where to start. Honestly though, once the excess of clutter is removed from the room and all you see is furniture and a few things, cleaning feels a lot like a breath of fresh air than a punch in the belly.
Here is the result of my week long de-clutter and clean session.
So clean. Bye Bye clutter!!