Still on the Move

28 Sep

Moving is never fun, but I still look at this move as an opportunity.  An opportunity to simplify my life; an opportunity to really analyze the things I have been carrying around with me; to really look at the items that are taking up space and surrounding me.

Last weekend I did a bit of that.  I dived right into my art supplies and was surprised at what I found.  Old dried out paint tubes, bottles of paints that had permanently separated, dried out supplies, printed papers (for collage or card making) that I actually hated, stacks of bad photos, and broken, unusable tools.  I realized that even though we just moved, I had not gone through my art supplies for years.  They just stayed in their “organized containers” and got taped up and moved.

Well those “organized containers” no longer fit into my new home, my new life.  There are too many of them. They were purchased to meet the need of a former life.  It’s time to revamp.  So first things first, purge.  At the end of my first round of purging I had two large garbage bags filled and one pile for the garage sale.  It really felt great to get rid of all of that stuff.  I continue on my journey and continue to feel lighter and lighter with a sense of freedom.

I do believe I have some more purging to do and I am looking forward to it.  

Do you have a drawer you haven’t ventured into in ages?  Or perhaps a nice and fancy organizational bin, that is now bulging at the seams?  How about taking a half an hour to sit down with that container.  Take a look at it with fresh eyes.  What is being stored in here?  Why am I keeping it?  Is it giving me pleasure?  Is it useful?  Or do I just not know what to do with it?  Anything that is not useful to you or does not give you pleasure, get rid of it!  Toss it!  Recycle it!  Donate it!  Just be sure to get it out of your space.  Clear out a bit of clutter and enjoy the results.

Till next time, keep it simple.

Enjoying Life

18 Sep

I was just inspired by a friend’s blog post to get to writing.  I noticed I posted in September and before that in July.  What was I doing all of August???  Honestly… I was avoiding doing any unpacking and de-cluttering and I was trying to enjoy the summer, enjoy family and enjoy time with my honey.  And we had a great time, going to the beach and swimming in the waves, rushing to the beach to catch the sunsets, bringing dinner and a blanket to the beach and enjoy the evening after work.  Do you see a theme here???  The beach and the sunsets were just spectacular and they will be engrained in my memory.  I will cherish those moments. As well as the two trips to go visit my family that we have taken. 

 The message here?  Enjoy life; take time out to have fun.  Do something you love.  The de-cluttering can sometimes wait.  Make sure life is a balance, and isn’t that what simplifying your life is all about???  The ability to grab a towel and go watch the sunset?  To me that is a perfect example of a simplified life.  Enjoy the moments while you can.  These special times only come around once.

 My next goal for myself though is to conquer the “Art Room”, my spare hobby room that has not been unpacked and set up yet.  I did get in there and made a little progress on it the other day when I had a moment.  But I did not sacrifice seeing my parents or having date night to do it.  The key to a desire for simplicity is living a balanced life.  Enjoy everyone!

clutter- ALL SHAPES & SIZES

10 Sep

Clutter comes in all shapes, sizes and types.  It comes in the form of positive thoughts & meditations; messages from friends and health information; political updates and household tips.  It comes in the form of cute puppies and adorable kittens and pleas for their help; it comes in the form of jokes (funny and not) and humor, or what some people think is humorous. 

 These are all in the form of email (I can hear the groans now); intangible, untouchable, non-tactile, internet clutter.

 Lately I get so overwhelmed by this clutter that instead of reading any of them I find myself hitting the delete button, over and over again.  So then I have to ask myself, what is the point of receiving them?  The positive thoughts of the day that once were so important to me and helped me get through a difficult day are now adding difficulty to the day.  The daily meditation which once was helpful for stress relief is now bringing me stress.

 Therefore, in my strive for simplicity I do believe it is time to take action.  It is time for me to really think about taking a hiatus from some of these daily emails.  So here is what I am vowing to do, I am going to look for three e-news letters to unsubscribe from right now, right this instant.  Hold on one second so I can do this…..

 Ok, that’s one, sorry puppies and kittens from one of the local animal shelters…

 Ok, that’s number two, so long daily reflection that I wasn’t really reflecting on…. NEXT.

 And number three, so long daily meditation which was causing me stress instead of relaxation by clogging up my in box.

 Oh, boy that actually feels good.  That’s it, I did it. I made a few big decisions and took some action. I do know I can always re-subscribe whenever I feel I need that information again.  But for now, I have taken a break.  And I already feel empowered and lighter.  What great feelings.

 Keep in mind; you have the power to take control of your inbox.  Instead of hitting delete, open up the email (from a trusted source only of course), and scroll down to the bottom, ok, keep going, all the way to the bottom, and look for the tiny print that says “unsubscribe”, there you go, hit that.  NO WAIT, not for this blog, don’t unsubscribe from this blog!  I need at least a couple of followers 😉

Our Taste Changes Over the Years

31 Jul

When we are working on ourselves and growing, the solution to the issue we are working on at the time often surrounds us.  If we pay attention we will see all the answers in articles, people’s comments, books, TV shows, etc.  One thing that keeps popping up for me is the concept that we should only keep the things that we find beautiful or useful; the things we love and bring us joy.  And I’d like to think that a lot of the things that we find useful we also should love and the things that we love we should also find useful.

 Another concept that I have been pondering is that we have to look at who we are today and the fact that what we find useful and beautiful changes over time.  I know that my taste has changed over the years.  Yet we tend to accumulate a lot of stuff in our lives, all the way back to our childhood that we carry around with us from house to house; apartment to apartment, never really looking at them and determining are they worth our time and commitment, are they still things we love that represent us well?   We just assume we still love these items, or that they have some value, even though we haven’t looked at them for years.

 I experienced the perfect example of this the other day when I was unpacking some boxes in our new place.  I hung up my printers’ tray (any of you children of the 70’s would know what that is, but those who don’t, it’s a tray that was used to hold type face, before computers did everything, people had to line up individual letters for printing, the letters were all organized in printers’ trays).  A printers’ tray can be used to display small mementos or decorations.  As an artist, since print making is near and dear to my heart, I still love my printers’ tray and anything to do with print making.  While unpacking I also found a box containing the items I used to display in my tray the last time it hung on my wall, (about 25 years ago).  All the items were carefully wrapped in tissue to protect them and I have been carrying this box around with me for 25 years.  Unopened and unaware of what was even inside.

 When I started unwrapping the items I realized they were from a different lifetime of mine and they did not reflect the person I am today.  I did not like any of the items, they did not seem beautiful or useful to me and did not bring me joy and happiness. I ended up rewrapping the items and putting them back in the box.  However, instead of keeping the box I put it  in my pile of things to bring to the thrift store.  It is time to let these items go to perhaps someone who will find them beautiful and useful.

 I have been noticing that my tastes have changed over the years.  Life has truly changed over the years, so why shouldn’t my taste change with it.  I have grown, evolved, gone through difficult times, and have experienced joys that I couldn’t even have dreamed of years ago.   After all of that I am starting to look at myself as a new person with new taste.  I want to get in touch with who I am today, who I truly am, right now.  I know it is different from who I was even a couple of years ago.

 I am sure that all of us change over time, and we should allow our tastes to change and evolve as well.  So how are you holding onto things you should be letting go of?  How has your taste changed?  Where can you let go of the old to allow the new to enter?

 Your Homework:  Find one item in your home that no longer represents who you are and let it go…  If it’s in good shape, donate it to a thrift store, if it isn’t toss it.  Look around your home and look at the items you are hanging onto, the items decorating your home or taking up space in the corners and closets.  Do these items still represent who you are?  Do you still feel joy when you look at them?  Do you still find them useful?  If not, it’s time to let go.

Living “Stuff” Surrounding Us

17 Jul

So back to speaking about things.  Some of the things I have been thinking about this week are living things.  Those things we become caretakers of; protectors, guardians, sentinels.  For instance our animals who bring us great joy and comfort in our lives.  They are wonderful to share our hearts with.  They do come with their own “Stuff” and we do tend to like buying them “Stuff” so there is a caution there too. But we really can weed down their items a lot easier than we can weed down our own. And they are so worth the space they take up in our homes, because they take up that space in our hearts as well.

 The other things I have been thinking about lately are the various nature we surround ourselves with.  For instance, our house plants and all they come with (extra pots, fertilizer, watering cans, little tools to take care of them, etc.).  OK, I need the fertilizer and tools and one watering can, but I do need to weed through and get rid of some of the extra pots.  I did an initial sort and purge when I was packing the house to move. But now that I am unpacking I realize there are still some that have to go.

 And then there are the plants, shrubs, trees and garden ornaments we bring into our lives, or take over as the guardians of.  When I bought my last house, I bought it mostly for the yard.  It was a beautiful “park like setting” with a large variety of trees, bushes, perennials and there were all different little areas on the ½ acre of land.  The man who built the house had planted the little bushes and 40 years later when I am buying the house from him, and taking over as the caretaker of this land and this nature, the bushes and trees had all fully matured and blossomed.  It was a beautiful sight with blooms all spring and summer, shade from the very tall trees, birds everywhere and butterflies flitting about.  Chipmunks living under the shed, visits from a pair of ducks every year and an occasional bunny sighting.  Our neighbors had chickens, bunnies, cats, dogs, exotic birds.  We often spoke of loving nature and the trees. I would look at my other neighbors’ yards, barren of trees, barren of life.  They had removed the trees, and just have grass (probably the worst type of landscaping for the environment).  I would then see my rectangle of trees (as well as my one neighbor next to me- the guy with the chickens) standing out from the landscape. Standing tall, holding a diversity of life including bats, owls, birds, squirrels, and my favorite spring peepers (frogs).  I would feel a sense of pride as the caretaker of this rich land in the middle of suburbia. 

 Well, now I have had to sell my home due to financial reasons.  I couldn’t be picky on who bought my house and I had no control over what happened to the land after I handed over the keys.

 To my horror (and my tree loving neighbor’s horror) I drove by the house only a couple of days after closing, and ALL the nature on that plot of land was ripped out.  I cried.  It was such a sad sight, to see tire tracks over my perennials in the front lawn and nothing left in the back.  All those cool little areas, and secret places, all gone.  All the mountain laurels, rhododendrons, azaleas, birch trees, oak trees, chestnut trees, hickory trees, all cut down and thrown in a dumpster!  All the perennials, the expensive perennials that I put my heart, soul and sweat into planting them and taking care of them, all gone.  It was a horrible sight.  Just a barren plot of dirt. 

 So the land that I took over as caretaker from the man who so proudly watched his plants and trees mature over the 40 years, is now a barren waist land; waiting for a McMansion to be built with minimal formal landscaping and a lot of grass.  So sad to me.  It will never be the same. However, it was the closure I needed for the yard that I loved.  That is truly no longer my yard, no longer my house.  I wouldn’t want it for anything.

 Some stuff that we collect, or are given, is healthy and meaningful for us.  Especially the living things. We should honor them and not take them for granted.  The Great Spirit of the Universe, Our Great Creator (some of you may call God) wanted us to live in nature and enjoy all the nature that is put on the earth.  There is a reason for all of it.  We are just renting space here on earth while we are alive.  We need to remember we are caretakers and not “owners” of this earth.  So here is one place where I would say the more stuff the better.  Plant some diversity in your yards, plant something the birds will love to eat the seeds in the fall, or will attract bees and butterflies all summer long.  Give the animals and birds a place to hide and build their nests.  Become a part of your plot of land no matter how big or small, become the caretaker you were meant to be.

 

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What are we leaving behind?

17 Jul

What are we leaving behind?

So perfect. We don’t take our stuff with us, but we do leave behind our stuff for others to either sort and purge or to caretake. What are we leaving behind for others???

Step One in Letting Go

12 Jul

So now we are moved in and surrounded by boxes full of stuff.  Stuff to be sorted, stuff to be moved around, stuff to be unpacked, stuff to be given away.  Stuff Stuff Stuff everywhere.  It is overwhelming.  But my feeling of suffocation is helping me let go of stuff.

 First thing to let go of which is the easiest; anything broken, anything not working properly or anything dirty and stained.  I am tossing these with some ease.

 Next thing to get rid of are the things that when I look at don’t make me happy.  Why would I keep something that doesn’t make me happy?  Attached to bad memories, or something that never worked the right way, or something that is just stupid and I never wanted it to begin with.  I am letting go of that also with ease.  And most of this stuff is in good enough shape to donate.  Donating can make it easier to get rid of things rather than just tossing.  And it’s better for the environment since I won’t be filling a landfill with my stuff.

 I am also looking at all the stuff that worked in former houses but is just NOT working in this house, so those are the next to go.  I have tons and tons of baskets and plastic bins.  At some point they worked for me to organize things.  I have them in a large pile in the new house, and as a problem comes up, I pull one out and see if it will solve the problem.  I have found a bin to store fruit in the refrigerator, a drawer to put under the bathroom vanity, and bins for holding little items in the bathroom. 

 However, I know in the end I will not be able to keep all of these baskets and bins.  First step is to look at those that are falling apart and throw them out.  Next is to look at any that are in an offensive color to me and get rid of them (I HATE pale pink, old bins from the 80’s, gotta go).  And lastly I’ll be looking at the ones that are functional but just not useful to me right now and are not worth the space to store them, those will be donated. 

 This is where I am at right now with the process.  I have to say moving into a smaller place is forcing me to down size.  It is forcing me to look differently at my stuff and have a different attitude towards it.  I no longer feel completely attached to my stuff.  (Well, I have to admit so far I have done the easy things, and have not ventured into my interior decorations, my books or my stationary- and hey, don’t touch my pens!!!  Admittedly that is going to be the hard stuff to get rid of!!!).

 Homework for you all:  Find something in your house or office (or car) that you have been hanging on to, but actually you really don’t like it.  Take that item and toss it.  Feel how good it feels to get rid of something you don’t even like!  Feel the freedom of saying goodbye.