When my wife, Dixie, and I moved into this house twenty-five years ago, we looked around at all the space and said, There’s no way we’ll ever fill this! Our small stucco California bungalow looked to us like a mansion. And it was compared to the condo we’d just left.
So much for that pipe dream.
At this point in time, every drawer, every closet, every bookshelf, every space capable of filling, including a small crawl space in the attic, (thank God we don’t have a full attic) is filled. Every wall covered in art. Every corner in the garden teeming with potted plants. We’re buried in stuff. Not in the hoarder kind of way. I’m not wired like that. Neither is Dixie. Phew! Still, we are both ready to lighten our load.
To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau: Do we own our stuff? Or does our stuff own us?
Or George Carlin: Our house is just a place to store our stuff while we go out and get more stuff.
It’s overwhelming. But I’ve come up with a plan that’s helping. Committing to letting go of ten things a week. It can be ten big things like ten sweaters or ten pieces of artwork—furniture even, a lamp that’s not bright enough for my old eyes, a magazine rack that never gets used—or ten little things: ten pencils, ten paperclips. Whatever! Just so long as there are ten. Yesterday, I got rid of ten pots from my garden shed. More, actually. Yay!
It feels good every time I let go of something. It gives me a little space. Space for something new. A turtle’s approach for sure, but it’s working. For Dixie too. And it’s fun. And a lot of time, I wind up doing more than 10 things, because it feels so good to let go.
Another thing that’s working is leaving a bag in the corner of the bedroom, so in that moment when I’m looking through the closet and see that blouse that I haven’t worn since 1984, the one that I had such a good time in that night long ago, I can just pluck it off the hanger and toss it into the bag. Right now in the bag are two yummy cashmere sweaters that would only look good on me if I had the body I had forty years ago. Goodbye, old friends. Go forth into the world and find someone who you will look good on.
So, that’s it for today. Would love to hear your tricks for decluttering.
And remember: Live the love. It’s all we’ve got.