Last week one of my readers directed me towards an article in Martha Stewart's Whole Living magazine about the art of decluttering. It's a great read and if you can still get your hands on it I would recommend picking it up. The author, talks about how she spent a year (!) slowly decluttering her home. She started with The Pile, a motley crew of objects, bills, erasers, plastic lids, and batteries that lived on the counter in her kitchen. When she needed batteries, she says, she went to the store and bought new ones because The Pile rendered everything useless. (I have a Pile just like this one, don't you?) She talks of wrestling vacuum cleaners and lacrosse sticks and old coats to get to winter boots and a divorced friend who slept on top of a bed that contained her divorce papers, her ex's books and his guitar case. No wonder she was having a hard time moving on with her life! What I found interesting was that when she let stuff go, space opened up not only inside her house but inside herself as well. She resisted filling the void with more stuff and instead allowed light, air and a few houseplants to takeover the space. In her year of decluttering, she regretted giving away only one particular object, a coat that had sentimental value, but the author realized that what she had gained; parts of herself, eased movement, better relationships, letting go of past hurts and worries; and the ability to find batteries was more valuable.
As spring cleaning starts to take a hold of all of us, I'm going to try and keep the following three questions in mind:
Do I love it?
Do I need it now?
Can I imagine myself or another family member ever loving or needing it in the foreseeable future?
Cleaning is always easier with rules! And with that, I will present my 9th object in my quest to document my life in 52 Objects. These are the things I love and that I hope one day someone else in my family will want or love.
Now, I'm off to tackle The Pile! How about you?