Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Mindfulness ~ confession time

I finished reading my (first) book on getting rid of clutter.
Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What's Holding You Back ~ by Brooks Palmer, 2009, self-help, 9/10
"Clutter-Busting Principles" are summarized in the final chapter.  I get it, I know what Palmer is saying, but can I actually use the advice?

  • "Toss or give away gifts that you don't like" (p. 212).

One Christmas, I was given a pair of tall candlesticks that I'd never use.  If my cat investigated them and tipped one over, she could have burned down my house.  My sister-in-law saw them the next day and liked them, so I gave them to her.  I'd had them less than 24 hours.  Okay, I'll admit I've kept other unliked gifts, sometimes for years.
  • "Most photos are clutter.  You were trying to preserve a moment that felt good to you in that moment.  But now it's over.  You are collecting ghosts.  Ghosts are dull impressions of the original event.  Do you want to live among ghosts, or do you want to live in the vibrant living world?  Only keep the photos that resonate with this moment" (p. 212).
Okay, I ask you, Can you throw away your snapshots?  Can you throw away your wedding album, even if you divorced the guy?
  • "Avoid the habit of hiding things that you don't want to look at.  Even if something is buried at the bottom of a box, underneath other clutter, it still affects you.  Everything you own is attached to you in a subtle way.  It will drag you down" (p. 214)
I confess ~ piles of paper are the worst.  In a week, I can lose things in a neat stack of printed-out pages, waiting for me to do whatever it is I need to do with each piece of paper.  Paper is my nemesis.
  • "Nothing should be under your bed" (p. 213).
There's nothing under my bed.  Hurray, I pass under-bed inspection.
  • "Clutter is sticky.  Look for things that have piled up or been layered together.  Chances are you can toss it all" (p. 215).
I don't need all these books and notice the paper mess covering my desk!
  • "Put nothing in storage.  Storage is clutter alimony and a waste of money" (p. 214).
You mean I've been paying alimony?  Okay, this resonates with me.  I'm ready to "mindfully" dispose of the stuff in storage.  I'll pay myself that money each month and buy a thing new, if I need it later.  (And "if" will probably never happen.)  A bit of humor is needed.

This is NOT my house, though — another confession the photo of desk and bookshelves above IS mine.


Helen's Book Blog said...

Ah, clutter. It drives me crazy! After I got divorced my stuff was in storage for 2 years and I never got anything out the whole time. When I unpacked it I had forgotten I even owned most of the stuff so I either sold or gave away about 80% of it. :-)

Bonnie Jacobs said...

The author of this book says about 75% of what we own is clutter, so you are right there in the ball park. The bad part, for you and for me, is that we paid to store the clutter!

Susan Tidwell said...

"Storage is clutter alimony" - LOVE it! I love to de-clutter, I am always giving stuff to the local center who sells stuff in their store and uses the money for local missions. Or I pass family heirlooms on to the kids now. I told my daughter the other day that when we are gone she will be cleaning out the house and there will only be her dad's stuff to go through.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Susan, when I sold the house we built and raised the kids in for a couple of decades, I couldn't get the children to choose what they wanted. So I wrapped similar gifts in Christmas wrapping paper and presented them three at a time -- for my three children. They opened each "set" together and, if they preferred one opened by a sibling, they would swap. It was the best idea I ever had about giving them their "inheritance." During this latest time of de-cluttering, I've phoned each of them asking, "Do you want the desk, the table, your great-grandfather's office chair, the memorial plate?" I've gotten various answers: Yes, no, and "if he doesn't take it, I'd like the chair."