I haven’t read that big-hitter book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” yet . . . but I feel that life-changing spirit moving within me, hallelujah!
When the month turned, I promised myself to throw out, sell, give away or otherwise discard at least one possession a day. A New Year’s resolution in July. Why? Because I really don’t need a best-seller, or any of the scads-worth of decluttering books and testimonials out there, to sip on the affirming tonic of simplification.
Control feels good, in whatever amounts. Self-control; to breathe and count to 10 and let a virulent moment percolate and die. Self-discipline, to push through a workout or a task with mindfulness and feel lifted when it is done. Self-worth, to appreciate your place in the order of the universe and to value that gift.
It is along the lines of breaking a habit — “I will only drink two cups of coffee this morning.” — or promoting a new skill — “I will spend 15 minutes on that learn-a-new-language website, learning, um, a new language.” I will read just a chapter of this book a day, go to bed 30 minutes earlier each night, put a dollar into an envelope for charity each morning.
Extremes — obsessions, compulsions, hoarding — aren’t the issue. They don’t have to come into play. The ticket is small bites. Tapas meals, so to speak. Wednesday, the brand-new-with-tags sweatshirt hanging there that I will never wear went into the donation bag. Thursday, to the curb with the crusty living room chair with cat scratches down one hideous leg, and a couple of ratty area rugs shoved into the garage years ago for no perceptible reason. That felt damn good.
Now today, free time to root through books boxed and sitting in the attic. They are forgotten. Unused. Valueless here any more. Why are they there?
Inertia. That’s all. The force that mutes self-awareness, self-improvement, that reinforces unproductive patterns lapsed into without forethought. They are comfortable when they are unexamined. Shine a light on the clutter — physical, mental and emotional — and it scatters. It abhors challenge, craves the comfort of more of the same, then more of the same, and then more still . . . of the same.
This house will continue to streamline on its inevitable way to new hands. Same for the storage bins that time and experience shove under beds and into corners to darken the spaces that would most benefit from light and fresh air.
Purge the chaos, feed a soul thirsty for nourishment, even if it doesn’t realize it. That’s the chapter and verse. That’s the book.