Everyday adventures

Making Room for the New

October 27, 2014

One of my goals for this year was to deep clean and organize every room in my house. I’m not sure I’m going to finish the whole house this year, but as I’ve purged and cleaned, painted and organized, donated and sold, I’ve made visible progress through my home. I’m doing this not just because I want my home to be in order, but also because I’m ready to live in a simpler, less cluttered and fussy way. And after nearly 18 years in this house, it’s time for some updating.

Even though in general I love my life and its routines, I feel ready for some freshening up. In a couple of weeks I will have been writing this blog for five years. In that time, I’ve seen my freelance work slow to a trickle, then dry up completely. I’ve battled writer’s block and depression, experimented with writing and submitting essays, applied for a job at the library as well as numerous writing jobs. I’ve come up with several ideas for writing and editing businesses, but I haven’t found anything that sticks yet.

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. Perhaps I need to have less before I can have more. I’d like to think all this decluttering serves a purpose larger than just having my home look neater. I choose to think that getting rid of what no longer serves me makes room for the new. And I’m not talking about new things. Perhaps, less burdened by too much and too many (things and thoughts), the inside of my head will be a bit neater as well. For now, I’m focused on getting rid of.

I’m not sure what that something new I’m making room for looks like. I have to have faith that if I do make room, if I do simplify and purge and organize, then I’ll be ready when my opportunities come, when everyday adventure knocks on my door.

What would you like to get rid of? Add? How do you make room for the new?


Less Is More

January 11, 2013

Between sickness (nearly recovered from) and jury duty (completed), I’ve been a bit delayed in my customary reflection on the past year and planning for a new year. Even so, in the past couple of weeks, an odd little theme has appeared in my thinking: “It’s all too much.”

A few years ago, I read a book by organizer Peter Walsh called It’s All Too Much and ever since then, that phrase pops into my head whenever I’m overwhelmed. As you know, that’s just what I’ve been feeling lately.  Instead of choosing a word of the year or setting out to remake my life, I’m just…not. At least, not right now. I’m not setting new goals or embarking on bold new adventures. I’m simplifying and downsizing.

I just have too much—books, food, possessions of all kinds, hobbies, interests and the wonderful blessing of friends and family relationships. I really am grateful for all that I have—I’m not complaining! I have, however, allowed my life to get out of hand. I have too much, and I try to do too much. Nearly every day I find myself putting aside activities that would feed my soul or work that really means something because I’m drowning in the sheer mass of life, much of it menial and unimportant.

So 2013 begins with a purge—of the physical (How many empty boxes does one need? Does this old radio even work?) as well as the non-physical. Activities I take for granted will be scrutinized—do they really need doing? By me? At this particular time or to that standard?

I don’t consider having too much a “real” problem. I’m not suffering heartbreak over it. I realize I’m lucky to be in this position when so many people around the world face true need. But getting rid of excess will help me appreciate what remains while cutting down on waste, guilt and chaos. Spending less time and money on what doesn’t matter will free up more for what does. I look forward to seeing what fills my life when the excess is gone.

What do you have too much of?