As I’m working on this decluttering process, it seems to connect to every element of our life. We recently got our garage mostly cleaned out, and I was so surprised at how much having the garage in a disarray actually was having an effect on our life. It made it difficult to get our trash cans out of the garage. So, there were large pieces of recycling that weren’t going out.
Piles of cardboard in the garage gave us permission to put random household items there that were in limbo.
I’m sure all people who are like me have things that are in limbo. On the near side of limbo are things that you’re not sure if you’re keeping, and on the far side are items that you know you’re getting rid of, but don’t know where to send or take them. Don’t worry, I have other places in the house for things that are in limbo….but the garage became a breeding ground for them.
Since reading about “The Japanese Art of Decluttering” I’ve been looking at unused things in a different way. I notice that they tend to take up nooks and crannies of space in quiet corners so that they unobtrusively watch us…and yet, I know for myself that those unused items are exactly what gums up the works in my home. They take up my time and my energy, because the items that I use daily can’t be neatly tucked away into that quiet corner.
Those uninvited, unused, and unloved things are quietly lurking, creating chaos in my home.
I would say that the last month or so, has been the most tidy and perfectly contentedly neat our master bedroom has ever been. Doing the clothing purge had an incredible impact on how the room stays nice and neat. There is nothing in there to become untidy….and yet, I still see a tiny Christmas tree in the corner that I keep forgetting to take down to the basement. Maybe I don’t love it enough to take note of it.
Are things that I glance over and don’t notice really things that bring me joy? Probably not.
Since we started this process, our laundry has started to catch up. I never would have believed that that would happen, but now that we only have clothing that we love and actually wear, every time a load of laundry is done, it’s like a treasure trove of clothing to wear. Our drawers remain neat and tidy and are closets remain spacious and airy. I’m amazed that the purge actually brought a true change.
The only real difference is that there is no unused clothing to get in the way. The unused article of clothing is a tricky thing and it has a tricky life cycle. Sometimes, at least at our house, such articles of clothing don’t even have a place. Sometimes they live constantly out in the open, like on top of a dresser. It may sit there for months at a time, and then… somehow it might make a migration let’s say it moves to the floor. It is an unused item, unloved, and mostly unnoticed, and once it makes it to the floor it will no doubt stay there. No matter if its original home was an open place or a closet or drawer…at some time it will end up on the floor. And it WILL stay there, until it needs to be washed.
Perhaps it will migrate to a place where it needs to be stepped over, thus costing energy, and crying out for attention. Maybe that’s what these items are doing…crying out for attention until someone sets them free.
Once the unused item lands in a pile of laundry it’s fate is uncertain. It could live there quite happily for some time. While there it fulfills the purpose of making the pile of laundry even more formidable than it was before. It adds to the to do list, but will only ever cost energy while it is in an unused state. It can’t fulfill it’s purpose as an article of clothing in a place where no one will wear it, and so the cycle of energy sucking continues.
After living in the laundry pile for a while, the article finally goes through the washing and drying process, and is folded (or maybe left in the basket to entice family members to touch it while in search of something they will actually wear.)
Maybe someone will decide to put the article aside to be given away at this point, but this is a dangerous point in the life of unused clothing. It can easily lead straight back to the laundry pile if it lands on the floor.
The only way to break the cycle is through removing the item from the home.
I used to try to remove items one at a time as I noticed that I no longer needed them. However, I’ve noticed such an amazing change from purging all at once that I can’t imagine going back.
How are your decluttering projects coming along?