Letting Go of the Clutter

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I’m practicing non-attachment by letting go of some things today.  I actually started yesterday.  See, one of my intentions for the year was to take an honest assessment of my belongings and clear out clutter.  It’s part of my attempt to live more simply and to really understand why the hell I have the same shirt in 6 colors!  It amazes me that the happier I become with life the more clearly I see the many, many ways I tried to fill up unhappy voids with all kinds of things.

I started with the top drawer in my chest-of-drawers, then my dresser, then my closet.  The first drawer was my sock drawer and it was a little overwhelming.  How do you pick which socks to send to Goodwill??  For the most part my socks never really need to match my outfit because, if it’s cold enough to wear socks, I usually have on boots.  Or I’m going to work out and matching socks don’t really matter.  But having enough clean socks is like having enough clean underwear.  I couldn’t think about this as superfluous at the moment, so I moved on.  I filled 3 huge lawn and garden bags with clothes I either don’t wear, can’t fit, don’t like,or  haven’t touched in a couple of seasons — lots of them were outfits I planned to wear, but have never found the opportunity.   Some things posed a bit of an internal struggle — especially if it was something I considered “really nice”, or if it was something I thought someone I know can use.  But Goodwill is a good cause and a necessity for plenty of people so, off these things go.

Why are we so attached to silly things like clothes — especially clothes we only bought because they were really cheap on the clearance rack?  I am planning to build a wardrobe for my new shape and size that includes a few quality pieces that really are right for me.  Quality over quantity will be my method of replacing the “big girl” clothes.  Besides, I am learning that I am not the kind of person who needs lots of choices.  I can’t decide what to wear when I have 100 items to choose from.  Give me 20 pieces to mix and match and I’ll create masterpieces!  I learned this when I could only FIT 20 of the 100 items hanging in my closet. Do you know how overwhelming laundry can be when you have more clothes than God?!?!  I am even getting to the point where I envy my friends who have to wash every week.  It takes me an entire day to get through my laundry (once/month though it may be), which is just insane!

I also want to make space on my bookshelf — but letting go of books borders on blasphemous!  How do you do this?  Someone, please, give me a formula, a guide.  How does one downsize a bookshelf.  I am watching Clean House right now and if they asked me to get rid of books the way they make these people get rid of their clutter, the deal would be off!!  Any tips on getting this done?

I threw a bunch of stuff in the trash that just take up space — picture frames, trinkets, jewelry I don’t wear, food storage containers, cards, bags.  But how do you throw away purses???  I am having as much trouble with them as I am with books.  But, get this.  I don’t use them!!!  I would much rather put my credit card and ID in my back pocket and lip gloss in my hip pocket and be on my way.  But, when I want to be cute once in a while, I have about 10 bags to accentuate an outfit.  I really think it’s nuts for someone who really doesn’t carry a purse that often to have 10.  But then I feel like what girl doesn’t have 10 purses?  Conflicted, to say the least.

This weekend is a start.  I obviously have a lot of work to do.  Letting go is not as easy as  I thought it would be.

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6 thoughts on “Letting Go of the Clutter

  1. Hey Lexi, I’m a good cause! I am not down-sizing, getting rid of clutter, or any of that. I’ll just take all that ‘stuff’ off your hands – and give Goodwill what I don’t want. Deal? Deal!

  2. It’s true that we tend to try to fill up our own emptiness with things, many of which become unnecessary as we grow more contented.

    When Flip and I moved across country in a giant You-Haul van, I had to thin the herds. I donated a couple thousand books to the public library and I really felt bereft. As soon as we got to California, I began haunting library book sales to make myself whole again. So books are a tough one.

    As for the rest of it, it’s good to take stock and create energetic spaces in our lives so they (and we) do not stagnate. Good luck with the process.

  3. Good morning! I jst stumbled across you writing and am enjoying it. Just a few months ago I underwent a massive book clear out, and was amazed at all that I was able to part with. I did it by taking every book off a shelf, then putting it back on only if I would definately read it again, or if I haven’t read it, really wanted to get to it. This cleared out quite a few that I kept because I felt I should read them, and also many that were okay, or good even, but will not be read again. Enjoy your day!

  4. I don’t think I could give away books either. They are sacred! I still have all of my college textbooks. I know, it’s silly. Of the hundreds of books that I own, I don’t think I could part with more than 20 of them. But here’s an idea. Sell them to a used book store. They may become treasures for someone else.

    I feel you on the clothes though. I only have about 30 items. Of those 30, I can fit about 18 of them. Of those 18, about 10 are dressy and I don’t go anywhere. Therefore, I have about 8 pieces that I rotate every week, which means I am one of your friends who must wash weekly. But like you, I am going to get rid of those things that don’t fit. Even when I lose weight, I really need to wear something else. I’m the most pathetic girl I know when it comes to clothes.

  5. to downsize your bookshelves, you can challenge yourself to donate 1 or 2 books per week over the next year.

    You could also keep a list of the books you’ve let go and number them.

    You could ask yourself given that you don’t have unlimited time to read all the books, can I live without this one. If I bless it to a new home for someone to enjoy, would I regret it. Is it easily replaced if I suddenly wanted to go back to it. Whats more important, a pleasant space, voluntary simplicity or a stack of just in case books.

    Now I love books, and I have a nice collection of favourites, however I also know that time and space are limited so I pick out my very best and keep only them. Quality lifestyle is most important to me.

    Now if your place was burning down and you only had 5 minutes to grab a few things including a few books, which ones would stay and which ones would you carry with you?

  6. I try to give away some clothes and others to charity at least once a year. It feels good! Plus, I get to know how much stuff I have when going through my wardrobe. Next time I will put the stuff in lawn and garden bags to see if I can fill up 3 bags.

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