Two steps forward, one step back

In the long weekend, the Laird Hamilton and I went through the attic, disposing of or donating two carloads of stuff that we didn’t need. Some huge progress was made on Friday and Saturday, and I’m feeling no regrets. I felt a little sadness knowing that some things hadn’t worked out – my entire pinup wardrobe no longer feels right on me, for instance. Otherwise, everything was good, and I love all the space on my rails.

However, on Monday, I noticed that I felt less inclined to continue my journey. This was baffling, as I’d eliminated an entire bookcase and got down to six pairs of shoes. Why wouldn’t I want to continue?

It might have been a shock to the system. My first thought upon seeing that empty wall where a vintage bookcase once stood was, ‘It looks like no one lives here.’ Obviously, that isn’t the case. We still have plenty of furniture and general stuff to ensure that the place looks inhabited. But maybe it’s time to move away from the discard mode for a while and focus on maintaining the house in its current state. I don’t want to find that, like a pendulum, my sense of self swings back towards the comfort of stuff to compensate.

This thought pattern caused me to remember the different techniques for having a clearout. Marie Kondo recommends doing the whole house at once in a quick-fire roundup and discharge. I did this for my wardrobe once and found it rather intense. Conversely, FlyLady suggests that you can devote 15 minutes of time to a space, then come back to it the next day. It might not be enough time to see progress on the first day, but gradually working at something can prevent overwhelm. Then again, if the clutter itself is overwhelming, you might not have the luxury of time before you experience panic.

Part of the minimising journey is whittling everything down to see your own core. I’m learning lots about myself, and I’m getting comfortable with the fact that periods of progress must be balanced with periods of rest.

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