January 8, 2019: Out of Clutter, Find Simplicity
“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” –Albert Einstein
In last week’s Weekly Wandering’s blog, I wrote about the tradition of setting goals at the beginning of a new year. It’s a perfect time to reflect on the previous year and ask yourself,”what went well, what didn’t go well, and what will I do differently in the future.” It’s also a time to envision what your dreams and hopes are and begin planning the steps to get there. Identifying our dreams and taking first steps to make them come true is both motivating and rewarding. Because one dream is to have more time with my watercolors, I’ve enrolled in a painting class and I’m excited to start my watercolor class this Tuesday.
But then there are the other resolutions, which can be daunting in the face of all that there is to do to accomplish them.
Both my husband Ron and I have a hard time getting rid of things. The creative part of our brain, (Ron calls it the “frugal side”), always finds reasons to justify keeping things for potential future use. As a result, we are bursting at the seams with “stuff” ranging from boxes of books, sentimental mementos, clothing, and furniture to toys which once belonged to our now adult children. In the past, facing overstuffed closets, a full basement, and overloaded garage was a daunting task which made it easy to postpone any attempts to declutter. But when reflecting on the previous year, we realized how much stress we encountered and time wasted when we couldn’t find things. The frustration we experienced and hours wasted was a major incentive for change. The time searching for misplaced objects (and I have a long history of misplaced objects) can be channeled into something more fun, productive and valuable….just think of what you would rather be doing with the opportunity of more time..
So we have committed to making a major change and have begun the long process of sorting through our belongings, culling them and only keeping that which is necessary, meaningful or feeds the need for beauty in our hearts. When we choose to let something go, its with the knowledge that in donating it, someone else will now benefit from its possession.
We’ve been following a blog of Joshua Becker, and are reading his book,The Minimalist Home and his advice has been well heeded. We started by envisioning what we wanted our home to feel like, look like and say. It definitely wasn’t chaos and clutter! Rather than tackling our hardest challenge (the basement), we began the easiest, our living room. It didn’t take us that long and the reward was immediately apparent. We also realized that single baby steps can make a difference. One cupboard in the kitchen was tackled at a time. With the living room, kitchen and bedroom now completed, our home already feels calmer. When tape was needed to wrap a birthday present, I knew exactly where to find it. You can actually walk into our “walk-in” closet now. And I haven’t lost my car keys in a full week. For me that’s a major accomplishment.
To stay on this path for more simplicity, harmony and opportunity, we have committed to accomplish a step each day. It might be one drawer (a baby step), or one section of the garage (a big leap). But we’re definitely on our way.
We’re curious to know, what have you found to be helpful in the process of decluttering and reclaiming back your home? We welcome your ideas and thoughts in the comment box below.
January 7, 2019
We are on the same road. My big problem is my art studio.I see beauty everywhere and it is filled with rocks, wasp nests, shells, knarled wood, rusty things, etc. ( ps I have the most understanding husband in the world). He never blinks an eye when I trudge in carrying treasures like found parking lot objects( lots of broken sunglasses). Sigh. Someday I will use them!
January 8, 2019
I completely can relate Elaine. I think that with a creative brain, we have the “what if curiosity”…as a guiding force. It’s wonderful when we’re using it to design and create, but a challenge, when we have to sort what we can keep or let go….because we can always justify a potential use for something or find a value in it. Ron and I both have that type of a brain, so what we’ve accumulated as possible sources of use or value needs to be culled out.
January 9, 2019
Great work Wendy, in the processing, clarification and acknowledgment of where you are with “stuff.” As a fellow creative, I know that it’s always two days after departure that I could use something – but that being said, I am strict with myself about what goes where and have a “Goodwill” bag always hanging in my closet. If I pit something on and it doesn’t make me either feel great or look gorgeous, into the bag it goes and once in, it’s not reverseable. Like you, not where I want to be but certainly making progress. Keep up the good work and looking forward to seeing more paintings. Then sometime this summer, we need to have a plein air outing.
January 11, 2019
Hi Jo, I love your idea of having a bag ready and waiting, before the incentive goes away. I”m finding it is a long process with lots of decisions, but I can already see the difference in our home and feel more focused and calmer which is an added incentive. I am trying to now find a place to store my water colors…..if they’re out, I will be more apt to play with them. And I would love a plein air outing!!! Thanks so much for your thoughts.
January 10, 2019
It seems like I’m always cleaning out my house and donating items. My parents just moved out of their home of 4O years and found it very stressful to downsize. One reason I like watercolor painting is because it doesn’t require much space and both sides of the paper can be used, then ripped up if you don’t like how it turns out. I do have slot of art supplies and meed to reorganize these, so I can paint with more clarity, ease and relaxation. Great winter project. Thanks for sharing your creative and life journey Wendy ❤️
January 11, 2019
Thanks so much for commenting Sue. I’m trying to find a place and space to support my new goal to explore watercolors. Isn’t it amazing how much ‘stuff” we can accumulate over time. When you have a creative brain, it’s hard to decide which pieces we can keep and what ones we should let it go. But I am determined to make room for my new endeavors.