Psst! I’m so happy that this post was re-blogged on Zone Pie Online. For all the readers who’ve discovered my blog from there, welcome! Many thanks to Antonilla Monroe from Zone Pie Online for taking the time to share.
A couple of years back, I went completely insane.
Those of you who know me may debate that this happened some time ago, so let me clarify: I got sick and tired of the way that I organized things. I had just moved into the apartment where I currently live and was feeling pretty proud of myself for doing such a good job downsizing. But despite my efforts I constantly found myself rearranging and reorganizing in an attempt to cut down on the clutter.
One day a neighbor dropped by and saw my apartment for the first time. Gazing around at the massive, overstuffed bookcases that lined the walls he chuckled, “Are you operating a law office out of here or something?”
For the record, I was not but I had to admit that he had a point: my apartment was intimidating (and possibly a fire hazard). I was spending more time refining and micro-managing my system than I did on actual, productive work because of the sheer amount of stuff I had. It was unnecessary and distracting, so something had to be done.
What followed was a period of time in my life that I like to refer to as The Purge, where I made a commitment to myself to delete all of the clutter that was slowly threatening to choke me. Papers, clothes, pots and pans- even furniture and some of my beloved books- nothing was exempt from the process. It took months before I felt like my apartment was coming back together, but the difference it made on my breathing space took effect almost immediately.
Reflecting on the process is easier than it actually was when I was going through it. I had to harden my heart and let go of a lot of things that I had held onto for years because I ultimately decided those things didn’t have a place in my life anymore. Letting go a lot of stuff also meant letting go of an attitude that I had adopted long ago; that somehow owning a lot of things like papers and books was indicative that I was a well-educated, cultured person (whatever that means) and suggested a lifestyle that was rich and abundant.
It’s funny how we get certain ideas into our heads about how we want our lives to look to others. Not keeping every single draft of every little thing I’ve ever written doesn’t change what I do. Not owning a lot of books doesn’t mean that I don’t love to read. (I still own a lot of books.)
I don’t even feel like I’ve lost anything, because what I gained was so much more valuable to me in the long-term- an simpler, more comfortable lifestyle where things are easier to find, my apartment is easier to clean, and I have more room to store the things I treasure the most and are indicative of the lifestyle I choose for myself instead of hoarding the things that represent what I think my life should be.
If you’re starting to feel like your possessions are owning you, I highly recommend it conducting a Purge of your own, whatever that looks like to you. Even focusing on just one particular area, like an overstuffed filing cabinet or crowded kitchen cupboard, can feel like an entire makeover. It’s not just about the free space and clean look you get once the process is complete; it’s about the peace of mind that comes afterwards and the control it gives you over your own life.
And if we’re going to be really honest here…we all own way too much stuff anyways.
Have you conducted a Purge of your own and felt its power? Tell me all about it by dropping me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or by commenting below. In the mood to start getting organized? I’ve got some suggestions here as to how you can get started.