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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

tidying check in (number 1)

“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”

I am very proud to be checking in for the first time about my September tidying project.  Proud because (1) I'm actually checking in and (2) because I'm making great progress.  This week I cleaned out/organized the following:

- all of our books (even those hiding under our guest bed)
- some papers (including all my financial, student loan, and medical papers)
- front closet 
- pantry
- tea

The papers are taking forever because I'm a bit of a pack rat when it comes to keeping paper mementoes and what I'll call "art inspiration."  I'm working on organizing all of my art inspiration papers, the cards I've kept over the years, and my photos in one space.  I haven't decided if I'll return to these at the end of the project (mementoes and photos are supposed to be tackled last) or if I'll try to go through more of them this week.   

Next up: 
Finishing my papers.  This will still take a while, but it's been so worth the time I've put into organizing.  I've been dumping papers into boxes for years - which means that I have boxes that accumulate lots of crap besides the papers, and I really have no idea what's in any of these boxes.  Now I'll know where things are and actually be able to access them when I need something.  

If I finish all the papers this week then I'll move onto the miscellaneous stuff: CDs, DVDs, skin care, makeup, accessories, valuables, electrical equipment and appliances.

Some reflections on the process thus far:

- I'm already tidying our house more.  I'm putting basic things (like my clothes, jackets, Theo's stuff) back where they belong right away.  This helps our space feel lighter even though the tidying project isn't finished.  I'm also maintaining a clean house a little better - mostly because I spend less time tidying since I'm doing it in small chunks every day.

- I like sitting in our living room more now.  Do you have room "problem spots" that automatically draw your attention to them over and over and over again?  I had about a dozen, and I finally fixed them.  I dusted, vacuumed, put away clutter that had accumulated, and organized our books.  I like looking at all the books on our entertainment center - I know they all bring me joy (or bring Paul joy).

- After cleaning out my clothes, I love looking at our bedroom closet, and I find I'm wearing a wider variety of clothes.  Thinking about what clothes gave me joy was a little tricky at times, but it was ultimately a successful tool for judging what to keep.  It was tricky because being   twelve weeks out from labor means I'm in between maternity clothes and my old "skinny" clothes.  Being reminded that I couldn't quite fit into my old clothes did not really elicit feelings of joy, but I'm hopeful that the stuff I decided to keep will keep fitting better and better.

- Putting my house in order has inspired me to check a lot of things off my old to do list.  (I find productivity usually leads to more productivity.)  I dropped off all our donations from the things we've decided to give away.  I asked a friend to fix a lot of my broken jewelry (post on this coming next week!).  AND I've started putting all my financial records and accounts in order.  It feels amazing!!

- Lastly, I've been thinking a lot about the connection between living simply, having fewer possessions, and environmental stewardship.  My tidying kick is appropriately happening at the same time that I'm developing an environmental retreat at work.  I've been realizing a lot of our environmental problems come from our consumer culture, and I'm seeing that getting rid of things that don't spark joy is a great reset for the need to consume.  I see how much I already have that I enjoy (and how much I have that I don't), and it has helped ease my need to buy more.  For example, I see how many beautiful clothes I own, and literally being able to see them better now has helped me be more creative with how I use them -- limiting my need for adding to my wardrobe and consuming more.  

I'm realizing this whole tidying process is a marathon, and I'm trying to keep my energy going.  When starting this, I really wasn't thinking about how many things we own and how many things I would have to go through and organize.  It's just further inspiration to keep simplifying and letting go so we have less to keep in order in the future.   

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