Can Less Be More

August 17, 2010

Do we need all our stuff? How much stuff do we really need to live? What does one really need? Just received the link to interesting site via Josh. Kelly Sutton’s site where he has listed all of his possessions and is selling everything off except what he can fit into 2 boxes….

He says on his blog:

Inspired by a a book or two, I’ve decided to try to see if I can rid my life of most of the clutter. The goal? Condense my life into 2 bags and 2 boxes.

How will I do this? It seems simple to just say: get rid of everything. To realize how much junk I own, I have put myself through the misery of documenting every single possession of mind, no matter how insignificant. This gives me a solid metric to measure my progress against. I will be explaining the finer details of this in future posts.

The 2 bags and 2 boxes principle will hopefully allow me to live anywhere and move instantly. This is the Cult of Less.

“On the whole, it’s led me to cherish my few purchases more. Every possession also requires a certain amount of upkeep, and I find myself with more time and less possessional guilt. Every thing owned begs to be used constantly; every second not utilized comes a shred of buyer’s remorse. Everything I own I use at least once per month, save for my winter clothes.”

I say, all well and good if yu are young and it is feasible to live that way. Everyone in the US particularly accumulates lots of stuff. I feel burdened by the house and the contents that have attached themselves over the past 25 years. But as someone replied:

“This is a completely crap and meaningless “trend”. There’s no real sacrifice involved whatsoever, and the people involved seem to enjoy the illusion of asceticism without the actual hard work involved. If you’re happy only owning five pairs of underwear or whatever, more power to you… but to blog about it as some great emerging movement or philosophy is a waste.”

I could do without the potted plants, but they do give me oxygen and bring life into my home. I could without the art on the walls, but most of the art in my house was created by people I know and it enriches and inspires me to have it around me. Do I need 2 pianos? No, anyone want to buy one? It’s not easy to sell a piano. I also don’t need more than 1 cutting knife but I have 4 or 5. I don’t know that I will go minimalist, but I certainly could as Josh recently suggested: hire someone to help me, put up a tent in the backyard and bring it all out into the daylight and then make some choices……Perhaps it would be comforting to have a list of everything I own in one place?

Creating Space

September 18, 2009

flower1_1 photo by- Micah Spear

We all speak or even complain about clearing clutter, don’t we? Our homes are filled with too much and most of it we don’t love, don’t want, don’t need, yet it is difficult for many to make the move to create the separation from the things, right? Motivation, time and attachment are 3 of the things that hold us back. Fear that the project will take too long is often on people’s minds- but what I have found is that, taken one small project at a time, it won’t take as long as you think. Of course, there are those of us who have looked at the clutter so long that we don’t even see it, in which case consult a friend who will tell you the truth!

Having many belongings is not a bad thing. It is how you feel about them, and how your living space feels with all of it. There is a difference between messy, disordered and dirty, and downright cluttered. If there is a place for everything, then you might be on top of things. Ignore this post.

For those of you feeling overwhelmed in your life- sometimes doing the physical clearing will help you mentally, too. Giving objects a place where they belong, to me feels like a Bach 2-Part Invention. Those notes so belong together, and playing it or hearing them played in their precise order is very harmonizing for most people who listen.

My friend, BJ, taught me a good way to work with the “stuff”. She would take the “things” away from the place they were living and to sort them in a new location. For example, if you are sorting out your junk drawer in the kitchen, dump everything into a box and take it all to the living room. Then you have literally uprooted it vibrationally from the place it had put down roots. You will also be considering everything outside of the kitchen where you normally see it all. Then, have 4 boxes ready; one for things to throw away, one for things to keep, one for things to put back somewhere else in the house where it belongs, and one for giving away. Then DO IT. It’s sometimes easier to do with a friend. Call someone! Now, when I am clearing more space in my home, I always think of BJ- and ask, what would BJ do?

One of the chief benefits for me is that once I clear something, I don’t have the thought “OMG, I have to deal with that….” hanging over me. But another benefit I have found is that the time I spend ordering a junk drawer, or tidying the linen closet is powerful mind-clearing time, too. I experience a similar thing when I am weeding the garden. Like Karma Yoga. Taking all the emotional baggage out and sorting it is something that does not have to be done alone; speaking with a good friend, seeing a therapist, taking a course are al way to sort through emotional clutter.

I went through my closet and ruthlessly (mostly) pulled out the clothes that I have been hanging on to but never wear, that look terrible on me but I paid a lot for and don’t wear and things that simply don’t fit and probably never will, boohoo. They have gone to the local Visitng Nurse Association Thriftshop, however, I brought a few choice items to the Rebecca Christine’s consignment shop in Gaylordsville. When we create a vacuum something will fill it- and I didn’t leave empty-handed. I have brought things of beauty into my home which for me is always in process and I love the journey or change and choice. Do you?

Clutter Clearing Part Deux

December 28, 2008

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This afternoon the family trooped down to the basement with garbage bags and boxes. It took a much shorter time than I had imagined. We sorted through all the miscellanea (is that a word?) and organized in four ways: toss, give away, use or repack/store. So happy that we gave away Micah’s skates, but we did not give away the mini bike, any of the dozen skateboards, skis or snowboards. But at least the sporty stuff is all in one place and we are all aware of what we have. My music books and lyrics somehow got wet- how did that happen in my waterproofed basement? So I will have to pitch them. Some of the music has notations from my childhood- when I was learning Gershwin and Chopin, etal and some of my earliest songs are in a damp folder. May have to take them to be photocopied, those are keepers. So it is a wonderful feeling to get lighter, send stuff off to the thrift shop for those who can benefit, send that box of glasses from Ikea home to Brooklyn with Jonah and for hopefully a long time not have to think, “oh, what a mess” when I go down to the basement.

Next stop, the attic.