January 6, 2017

I call it "Clutter Patrol"

But what I really mean is a good, old-fashioned purge of my worldly possessions. I have a list of all the rooms in my (thankfully small) house with the good intention of removing the clutter in said rooms.

My plans to "Clutter Patrol" my house have been about as futile as my new year's resolutions. So far. Old stuff goes out, but new stuff quickly replaces it. Over Christmas, I watched the documentary Minimalism. Probably not the best time of year to watch a program about living with less stuff... with opened presents still lying under the tree... and Lego sets in many stages of progress all over the floor.  We exchange presents with family and friends. A present is a physical symbol of "I care about you" and I'm not going to reject this thoughtful practice. But we have a lot of stuff. This documentary made me question if we have too much. I realized when new stuff comes in, old stuff must go out as opposed to our current practice of keeping everything. I watched the documentary on the TV in my room with my closet stuffed full of clothes (and other things... like empty boxes and my wedding dress) in plain view. That was the first stop in our purging journey. Why was I holding onto shirts with stains and socks with holes? Why did I keep clothes I hadn't worn in a decade? Because of the slight chance I may wear them again? <shudder>

I am a pack rat. I hide pieces of cardboard behind my bookshelf. I keep empty boxes. Just in case. I have baskets of random computer wires. I have my elementary school report cards. I have boxes and boxes of greeting cards... wedding shower, wedding, baby shower, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day... I can't let go. And my children are the same way. They keep sticks and rocks and pieces of paper and toys from McDonald's and anything we don't want anymore ends up in their rooms too. Bookshelves. Plastic containers. And I can't fault them one bit.

Minimalism helps reduce your life's excess so you can focus on the pursuit of happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. Who wouldn't want that? The concept can be customized to be as unique as you are. Everyone has a different idea about what stuff they need. I have realized I have more than I need.

All this is changing. I have started to reduce my belongings. Room by room. Area by area. Drawer by drawer. I predict it will be a long journey. Paved with VCRs and VHS tapes and books we'll never read again. At this point, it seems like a daunting and overwhelming task. But I've taken the important first step.

This brand-new year of 2017 will be different in my house. We will simplify our lives by reducing our belongings. We will ask ourselves if we really need something before it lands in the shopping cart. At the end of the day, we will still have stuff, but only stuff we need and want and actually use. And, as my house de-clutters, so will my mind.

Finding happiness with less. What a concept!

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