The Freedom of Decluttering

I swore I would never do another one after the chaos that was brought into my yard two years ago. It’s bad enough to have to deal with idiots in Wal-mart or on the road, but to invite them into my yard is one definition of insane. However, we did it again just this weekend. We had a yard sale.

If you’ve been keeping up with us on any of the social media black holes, then you know the girls and I have been redecorating the home front. The old furniture was tossed and new furniture bought. Even the 9-year-old’s bedroom is getting a total overhaul. She was excited up until the time she found out some of her possessions would have to go.

And that is part of the whole process, getting rid of things you no longer have room for. It’s been a process for me that so far has lasted five years and is continuing on even now. I’m not one, it seems, to get rid of things easily. I may have said I was keeping it for nostalgia’s sake, but really, what was the point? I never pulled this stuff out and looked at it or brought it out and showed visitors. “See? I won this gold ribbon in elementary school because I was there and didn’t get sick.” Not everything has to be kept. At least, that was what I was told and had to start believing.

Our recent bout of purging came about in December when I looked at the girls and said I was tired of the way the house looked and was ready for a change. “I want to get rid of these bookshelves as well, so let’s sort through those books and scrap some of them.”

The three of them just stood and stared at me. “Your books? You want to get rid of your books? Who are you again?”

It was a shock, but that only shows how serious I was about simplifying my life and my home. I have always been a traditionalist when it comes to my books. I prefer the feel and smell of a book in my hand. However, I had five large bookshelves crammed full of tomes that I wasn’t currently reading and some I wouldn’t be reading again. That is a whole lot of space that can be used for something else to collect dust.

“I’m serious. I’ll go through and pick the ones I truly want to keep and we can sell the rest.” The words were barely out of my mouth before the girls started unloading the shelves and moving them out.

The same has been true of our photographs. Now, before you start thinking I am crazy and tossing out memories of our kids growing up, I assure you that is not the case. I’ve been spending a certain amount of time each day scanning those pictures into the computer and making digital copies. It’s worked great for Throwback Thursday on Facebook. Once I have them scanned then only special ones are kept and the others are tossed. This alone will free up an entire closet.

I had already started it with my writing, converting all of my notebooks into Word documents and working completely off of the laptop as opposed to my many spiral notebooks. I have even recently added Scrivener to my arsenal of writing tools and all of my background and research now sits right alongside my manuscript and I can get rid of even more notebooks and journals. I no longer know what to do with all of those pens I have been hoarding.

My music has all been digitalized as well. No longer do I have stacks of CDs clogging up drawers and boxes, falling over and cracking cases. No longer do I have to choose what goes in the van with me. Now it’s all on my iPod and stored on my external drive ready to be played at a whim and it is much easier to carry an iPod than it is cases of CDs. With the shedding of the compact discs, I now had to get rid of cases and storage boxes, which also freed up even more space, which I am sure the girls will have no issues filling.

With less stuff to keep track of and maintain, I have more time to devote to other things. Furthermore, I can spend more time enjoying those things I do have as well as the people I enjoy them with. After all, isn’t life more about people than things? We can fill our lives up with so much stuff that we miss out on the people around us. It is worth it to get rid of the clutter of possessions to make room for our loved ones. I should know, because I’ve lost my office three times as teenaged children needed to move back in. Now, I don’t really have an office and I’m okay with that. I have a study of sorts where I do my writing and most of what I need fits in a small basket on a bookshelf. I couldn’t say that last year.

That’s been the nicest part of it all. I don’t require a lot of the accouterments that many, including myself, associate with writing. It now all fits in a small bag that can easily be carried anywhere. I may have just saved my back from a future brace.

It will also come in handy for when we have to evacuate again for another hurricane or the apocalypse, whichever happens first. I just grab my Kindle, laptop, external drive, and iPod and I have everything I need. Oh and the girls. I’ll have to take them with me as well. They’ll be happy that I simplified my life because that will leave more room in the van for their shoes. If they can beat the 9 year-old to it before she stuffs all of her Monster High Dolls into it, that is. I’ll be safe either way as my entire creative world can sit on the dash of the van. Of course, I’ll need a change of underwear, but I’m sure they will make room for that. Won’t they?

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