The image is so clear in my mind – it was me and my vintage Holly Hobby writing desk. You know, the kind in which you lift open the desktop to typically find a jumble of markers, erasers, notebooks, loose papers, pencil shavings, empty wrappers, superhero figurines…all the things you would normally find in a kindergartner’s desk. The desk was in my bedroom and every time I opened it up to find things out of sorts it caused me stress. So I took action and emptied everything out, only to put things back in an organized and systematic way. I remember these projects with my toy box, my closet, my car when I was a teenager and it continues today. From early on I sensed that disarray with things left me feeling cluttered on the inside…that is why I so love the quote above.
In college my roommate and I did a little personal project in our 10×20 dorm room and we called it ‘Concentrate & Eliminate’. Believe it or not this endeavor was not inspired by me but she lead the charge. We were determined to make the most of our small space and get rid of anything and everything that was not useful or truly meaningful. The items in which we would use ‘someday’ went up to the dormitory attic. It was like the college version of that HGTV show in which they go in and de-clutter peoples’ houses. We could have written that script with our pairing of de-clutter skills.
After The Carpenter and I returned from our week long wilderness sojourn I was determined to concentrate and eliminate once again. I chose to start in the pantry and the cabinets that hold our dishes for entertaining. Amazing what I found…several pieces of Armetale that I have never used and they have been collecting dust for the last decade. Add to the list a cutlery holder, a huge paint it yourself pottery platter, and ugly dishes that I will never use again. Can you imagine all of the space I freed up by just going through 2 small spaces in my home?! I’m not even the clutter type and I found stuff to eliminate. By eliminate I mean take to a consignment store and Goodwill.
Over the years I have worked with friends and family to help them concentrate and eliminate as well. I think it helps to have a ‘mediator’ between you and your things that you are so emotionally tied to. So where can you start today? Start small, choose a cabinet or a drawer and work your way up to a room.
As the famous quote goes:
The Less You Own, The Less That Owns You