I am beat tonight. It’s been a good, productive week - hopefully tomorrow will be an extension of that too - and I have to say I’m pleased overall with my progress.
The decluttering project is kind of overwhelming and the more I get into it the bigger it gets but I am also really tired of being such a cluttered person.
I spoke about my adventures in decluttering with a couple of the ladies from work about it earlier this morning and one of my coworkers immediately talked about how “I know who you’re talking about” and ‘that lady is CRAZY” and that her system is totally impractical. I get to an extent where said coworker is coming from - if you aren’t reading the book or taking her seminar.
So my coworker says something like “She wants you to drag out all your stuff and lay it on the floor and then touch all of it to decide if you want it!”
When you put it like that, as if you are going to bring down every single one of your possessions from every corner of your house and lay them all out on the living room floor and just start grabbing stuff then yes, I absolutely agree that the method sounds like a terrible plan.
But that’s not how it goes and that’s not what she is recommending. Yes she wants you to get things out and touch them and feel them and interact with them. But only ONE category at a time. She has a particular order that you’re supposed to do these in and yes, she does want everything of a certain category laid out in front of you so you can pick through things and really decide what you want.
There are several things about her system that appeal to me and make sense to me and that I think will really help me.
- Getting everything together in one category helps you see if you have sixteen lipsticks where the color is basically the same. Or you can see how many t-shirts you have that you’re not wearing. Or you see how many half used bottles of conditioner are currently taking up residence in your life. If you don’t get everything of a certain group all together you won’t really know what you have and if you don’t know what you have there’s no way of telling what you need.
- Interact with the things so that you know how they make you feel. I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve always felt like some objects have a personality. For example, I was having trouble with my last car - it wouldn’t start. I called rubbed the dash and called it all kinds of pet names (baby, sweetie, etc.) and finally when I called it ‘Princess’ it started. It took me years to let go of it because I felt such a close bond with it. I had to say goodbye to it when I did swap it out for a newer car. But saying “goodbye” out loud, if softly, did help me part with it. And I’ve found that saying “thank you” to the objects who have all served me in some form or fashion before letting them go made it easier to part with some things that I didn’t think I’d be able to part with. She may have even set me free of the majority of my book collection - I haven’t gotten to start truly weeding my collection yet, but I did get boxes from the ABC store today so that I could start putting books in them to donate or what have you. And I think I may actually be able to part with the majority of them now which I never thought I’d be able to do. This has yet to be proven true, but I feel fairly confident that this is going to be much less of a problem than I anticipated.
- She doesn't let you use the “but I might need it ‘someday’!” excuse. You either use it, legally need it, love it, or you get rid of it. And you don’t just pass stuff off on other people.
- No getting super fancy about storage. Just put everything of one kind together so that you always know what you have.
- The purpose is to focus on the things that make you happy and releasing yourself of the things that you don’t. So instead of agonizing over what you should get rid of which is stressful for me, you focus on what you really want to keep. It may not sound like a big difference, but for me it is.
- You must finish the “toss” portion before you start the “organizing” project. Which makes perfect sense, but I’ve often found myself trying to figure out how to keep everything or more of my things out of “just in case” or “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings”. When I do that, I don’t end up getting rid of much and before I know it my clever storage is overflowing and I’m back in the boat I was before.
It’s still a massive undertaking but it has already helped me feel freer in my own space. I have a long way to go but I’m planning to make significant strides this weekend. I don’t know that I’ll ever be as passionate about folding clothes or the proper way to store socks as she is, but just listening to her talk about things has been immensely freeing in my own mind. While the project is overwhelming because of how much I have to go through and how much time that will take and the effort in gathering everything in a certain section together in order to examine my choices, what no longer feels stressful and scary is the process of choosing. I know there will probably still be some tough things, but I think that reading this book is really helping me heal my attitude towards stuff, having stuff, and buying stuff which would be, just as she promised, life-changing.