A while back I happened across a blog called Simple Black Coffee on which the author, Craig Kierstead, was describing his efforts to downsize. I was just about to start the same process (although much less enthusiastically), attempting clear out 40 years of, well, stuff. Just stuff.
In one of Craig’s posts was a list of guidelines, offered by another writer, that helped me grasp the concept of getting rid of things and why it’s ok (emotionally). That latter bit always nagged at me. I’m a sentimental kind of pack rat but I keep only really important stuff, you understand. I had my third grade spelling book until I was 26 — the best example I can give you.
Unfortunately, I can’t remember the author’s name (I’ve looked for it diligently to add it here.) but I can remember his words. I typed them up, in fact, and stuck them to my wall to keep me on track. I made great progress at first (getting rid of about half my stuff in just a couple of weeks) but I’m struggling now, less for good intentions and sincere interest in the project and more from sheer procrastination. “Why hurry when the task will still be there tomorrow” is my motto.
I still work at it, though, and still have the guidelines posted on my wall where I noticed them again today. Feeling a bit guilty at how I’ve been ignoring the project, I reread the guidelines and picked up another box to sort.
I am not my stuff. We are more than our possessions.
Our memories are not under our beds. Memories are within us, not within our things.
An item that is sentimental for us can be an item that is useful for someone else.
Holding on to stuff weights on us mentally and emotionally. Letting go is freeing.
You can take pictures of items you want to remember.
Old photographs can be scanned.
At the bottom of my typed page I added “Just do it.” which was not an ad for a shoe but rather a nudge to quit procrastinating. I tend to be among the world’s elite on this issue no matter how many times and in how many places I post “just do it” notes.
Lots of people are downsizing their possessions these days, aiming for a simpler life, and several of them are blogging about their efforts. I struggle with the successful ones who post daily about how much they’ve accomplished because I’m basically a slacker and have enough guilt, thanks. But I like the ones who offer good, do-able advice, including this from a fellow blogger at Does This Pen Write.
Set a timer.15 minutes a day. That’s it. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish if you carve out small, manageable chunks of time solely devoted to decluttering.
I’m the type that can’t bite off one small piece of anything at a time (especially chocolate) and with projects like this I soon end up in the corner sucking my thumb. Maybe I need to get a timer and give this a go.
In the meantime, the box I carried upstairs today? It’s sitting next to my desk where I’ll probably get to it sometime soon. If only someone could post a good list of
guidelines nudges threats for procrastinators with good intentions who need to downsize.