Last week, I got a box of books from Freecycle. When I got them home, I was confronted with the reality that my bookcases are all stacked two deep as it is. I looked around my guest room and realized that it was just overflowing with stuff. Things spilling out of the closet, stacked on the floor. And honestly, that’s true of all rooms in my house. That’s due in large part to the fact that I’m a bit messy to begin with, but wouldn’t it be easier to be clean if I just didn’t have so much stuff to begin with?
The fact is, like many other people, I associate possessions with comfort and security. At first, it makes me feel good to contemplate the shelves full of books, the closets full of clothes, the pantry overflowing with food. But the messy of just stacks of books is stressful, I still constantly think I have nothing to wear, and food gets lost in the abyss of my pantry, never to be eaten. And yet I still tell myself, “I can’t get rid of that! I paid good money for this specific item and even though I never use it, maybe I will someday!”
So, now I’m shedding that attitude. I’m telling myself that once the money was spent, the book, shirt, or jar of barbecue sauce is mine to do with as I want, even get rid of. And if I clear out the stuff that I don’t want or use, then maybe I’ll actually see and remember the things I do like and use them more often. It’s time to start simplifying.
I’m going to be tackling a single room in my house every month. Once a week, I’ll give myself a particular task in that room, no more, no less. If the month ends without a room being perfect, that’s ok, I’ll just cycle back to it.
During the month of July, I’m confronting my guest bedroom/office, which would be better named “the island of misfit junk.” This week, I sorted through my bookshelves. I pulled out a pile of books that I disliked, that I was eh about, or don’t have much merit in rereading (translation: trashy romance novels). I then ran them through Amazon’s trade-in program, and packed a box to ship to them (for free!) in exchange for Amazon credit. The other much larger box got posted on Freecycle and was picked up by a woman who volunteers at an assisted living facility. Of course to even get to my bookshelves I had to move a hot water heater blanket that doesn’t work for my heater, but I took out of the packaging, and a digital converter box for picking up local channels. Both of those also got posted on Freecycle, and were claimed within an hour (!) and picked up within 24.
Wish me luck!