Decluttering, Emotional Housekeeping & Good Activism
Initially I didn’t want to include this post on my blog, as I wanted to stay true to my expressed mission of helping Tuk’a in Ethiopia. My motivation to gather a community of people to underwrite the cost of this village’s development is that we have SO much, while others don’t even have the basics. But then, it occurred to me–that is the whole point. We spend a lot of time consuming. And then all the stuff we have purchased (just as the very wise Henry David Thoreau suggested) begins to own us. Not only does it own us, the person immediately responsible for its purchase, it also begins to own our children, and their children, and whomever else is ultimately responsible for the stuff when we no longer can take care of it ourselves. If we didn’t spend so much time and money acquiring it, we wouldn’t have to pay to house it, store it, maintain it, and eventually dispose of it. Getting back to basics, eliminating the unneeded items means that I will be using fewer resources to own what I already own.
So here I am, linking up to both Project Simplify and to 2011 in 2011, in order to make the world (and my home) a better place. It is really hard to let go of STUFF so if any of you decide to join in, you will have my full sympathy as you deal with the mental/emotional aspects of the transformation. It is my hope to adopt a different way of thinking so that my kids will go into the world with an entirely different approach to acquisition. I do not want to send them out feeling beholden to material things.
Today I did the first of five week’s purging assignments through Project Simplify: cleaning out my wardrobe. I was able to remove 44 items to go to friends or the Goodwill. Only 1,977 more items to discard by the end of the year (for 2011 in 2011).
My friend called at a great time, just as I was about to tear out my entire wardrobe for scrutiny. She regaled me with her latest good news as I went through every single piece of clothing in my closet. Admittedly it was a pretty liberating feeling to finally shed items I have been saving out of guilt or obligation. I know this is probably the easiest of all the decluttering projects of the year, but I am still celebrating this victorious first step. I didn’t get it all, there are still pieces lurking in there which don’t deserve their spot. So I will continue to be vigilant. What really concerns me, as I declutter, are the boxes of “special things” inherited from mother, grandmother, aunts… That is the stuff that scares me. These are the boxes I recently moved into the basement, full of momentos and photos from childhood, the things I made in junior high. What are we supposed to do with all that stuff anyway? Luckily, that is a question for another day.
Feel free to join this party if you are so inclined!