Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mental & Material Clutter

WHOA! Nothing is more humbling and insightful than lugging all of your belongings up four flights of stairs. That's right, we are finally moved. I am currently sitting in a pile of boxes and stuff in what will one day (hopefully, soon) be our office. I can't believe how much crap I have! Who knew that this silly yogi, who sometimes brags that "there is no sentiment in objects besides the sentiments we attach to them," would have so many silly possessions. I'm actually a little embarrassed, particularly because of all the petty arguments I had with my partner Craig about my wanting to keep this, that, and the other thing for whatever reason. Clutter is so personal...

We did get rid of a lot of stuff before the move, but clearly we have a lot more to do. My friend Tracey Mackenzie, who is a wonderful feng shui specialist, interior designer, and professional organizer offered me some help, which has been useful. I thought I'd share some of her clutter reducing tips, in case anyone else out there is suffering from the pack-rat syndrome.

1- Don't attempt clutter control alone. Seriously, we all need an outside person (not spouse) to point out how ridiculous your arguments are for keeping five old cellphones "just in case".

2- Create sections or bins for "Keep", "Giveaway", "Recycle", or in the rare case, "Toss", if the other sections really don't apply.

3- Here's the kicker: You get five seconds to decide which bin each of your items go in. (Any hesitation is a sign of weakness and will likely result in a forced giveaway.)

4- If there are items that serve no real purpose other than to evoke memories, Tracey's advice is to take a picture of object of sentiment value and send it on its merry way to the next clutter-bug or hoarder.  I had to do this with a several home made crafts given to me by my younger students over the years. Taking a photo of each gift made the parting less bitter.

5- Get rid of whatever you are not keeping for sure right away or you may change your mind and keep that old Easter bunny basket, which is currently staring me down across the room.

6- Tracey's last words of wisdom: "If you get rid of the old, you make room for the new."

Good luck, my friends. Please post any other clutter management or organizational suggestions you might have. Goodness knows, I need it!


1 comment:

  1. Hey Yas!
    funny you would post this.. I am in the same process ''again''... I do de-cluttering mostly every year... and it feels great! I am inspired by Feng shui books I read but also and MOSTLY by Dominique Loreau. She wrote several book on de-cluttering... and minimalism... she's been living in Japan for years! I read ''L'art de la simplicité'' a few years ago and I just finish reading ''L'art de l'essentiel''
    I am not sure her books a available in english... but if you can read french good enough I higly recommend it... you should see my place by now! Althus I stil have much stuff... especially clothes... I am getting there.... and our next move will be much more easy!!!

    One suggestion I may have is to go step by step.... and get rid of stuff when you are ready... it may take several years to get all the way to where yo uwant to go but the process is fun and seing progress very rewarding. She says clearly that you should never let go of somethign you'll regret... then it would be even worse mentally then the clutter...

    No regrets - step by step!

    take care,
    see you soon!