It’s fairly easy for me to write this today, as the sun is shining, my bed is made and my dogs are both quiet and clean. It’s made for a good start. This shift in my attitude has also allowed me to look at my usual thought patterns from an outsider’s perspective and evaluate.
There are days when I convince myself that someone else’s faults or actions have ruined my trajectory. It becomes easy to blame another person for my mood – usually a family member or a colleague. Worse, I often view the ‘suffering’ I experience as some sort of martyrdom, allowing me to occupy the moral high ground in any situation.
Part of this is because I have always been terrible at communicating my needs. There have been times when my husband has made decisions he believes to be in our best interests, only for me to explode months later over how he wronged me. This is not healthy for either of us.
Therefore, I’m taking the opportunity to release attitudes as well as items. Though I grew up in an environment where I was encouraged to be silent, I no longer live that way. I am married to a kind man who wants to progress our life together, and I expect he wouldn’t mind if I asked for what I need. Also, it’s time to take responsibility for the way I feel day to day. If there is something I don’t like, I need to fix it rather than let it fester.
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.