“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”- William Morris
Yes, the quote everyone refers to when simplifying their possessions, but it's such a perfect fit for what I'm aiming for. For anyone who was around when I started this blog a few years ago (the day after Christmas 2011, to be exact), you'll remember I've undertaken a huge decluttering mission before.
In 2011/2012, my goal was to drastically downsize, which I did. I donated load after load, sold some larger ticket items and gave things to friends. I reduced my possessions down to a 5'x10' storage unit and what fit into my newly acquired 28' RV, sold my mobile home and moved into the RV where I lived pretty happily for over a year. I learned a lot about what I needed (and didn't need) day to day while in the RV, but ultimately made the decision to buy a standard home in October 2013. I moved in, reclaimed the items from my storage unit, slowly bought furniture for my new home and started to settle in. Everything fit just fine.
My home is smaller than average at a hair over 900 sq ft (plus basement and small garage), but thanks to the massive culling I'd already done, space has never been an issue here. My basement has stayed mostly empty since day 1. So why refresh my decluttering mission if space isn't an issue? I realized I still had more than I needed, more than I wanted. A few weeks ago, I checked out The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing after waiting a couple months on my library's wait list. Yes, the book you've probably seen mentioned everywhere. I honestly didn't expect it to live up to the hype. I've read a few books on clearing out clutter and organizing and didn't expect anything new here other than a bit of inspiration to sort through all my stuff once again. What I wasn't expecting was for this book to trigger an urge to let go of all my excess, taking it further than I have in the past. Last time, decluttering was a means to an end, a way to fit into a smaller living space. This time? It was all about letting go. Letting go of anything and everything I don't love.
I'd already gone through and shredded most of my papers, so I moved on to miscellaneous categories, purging most of the stuff in my bathroom and donating the no-longer-needed storage cart that was in there. Then I tackled the kitchen. This has always been a tough area for me, but this time around? It was easy letting go of the extraneous items. I even donated at least half of my baking pans. I still have a nice variety of those including the bundt pans that decorate my kitchen walls, but now I only have the ones I love and use.
I've laid my hands on nearly everything I own now. I put a good amount of my yarn stash up for sale along with my floor loom that I didn't end up using as much as I'd hoped. This past weekend, I sold my spinning wheel. I love to spin, but I use my eSpinner and the one I sold just sat in my living room collecting dust and trapping dust bunnies with a vengeance. The young couple who bought it seemed really excited to get such a deal and that definitely made me feel good about letting it go. =)
The key for me really has been pulling everything out and handling each item. It's just too easy to look at a shelf full of items and decide they all stay. Move them and it's becomes much more obvious what doesn't belong. Also? A point Marie Kondo makes in the book really hit home with me. She discusses letting things go once they've served their purpose with us, whatever that purpose happens to be. Maybe it's an item we once loved but no longer suits our style or needs. Maybe it's an item we bought with grand plans for wearing/using it and never did. At least we learned what suits us and what we don't need or love. Take the lesson and let it go. Let your excess bless someone else instead of weighing you down any longer than it already has.
But do you know the best part of all of this? I'm learning to let go of other things. I'm learning to better recognize when habits and beliefs are serving me and when they need to be let go as well. I'm finding a better balance in my life and it feels amazing.
Are you looking to do some decluttering yourself? Need to cut something out of your life that isn't serving you any longer? Try asking yourself if it brings you joy. I think we all could use a little more joy in our lives. =)