January. A new year, new resolutions and new plans. You might be going through your home trying to find space for all the gifts Santa brought. Promising yourself to be more tidy. Buying new boxes, color coordinating clothes, wrapping papers and candles in their respective drawers and cupboards. Your home will look clean and organized this year. Right?
The thing is, organizing is just a way of moving the problem out of sight. Most of us have way more things than we actually need. We hold on to them for dear life for many different reasons. One of them is holding on to something we used to be or thinking this is the person we’d like to become. (But it isn’t who we are right now …)
For a long time I wanted to be a candle making person so I collected jars in handy sizes, kept every candle stub, kept candle wicks in different sizes, fragrances and special jugs and containers. In the end I realized I’d rather buy new beautiful candles because the ones I made always turned out dull and ugly. It just wasn’t my cup of tea – so why keep those things?
You might collect receipts, pictures and patterned pieces of paper because you want to be a scrap booking person, but a few years down the line you still haven’t really made anything out of it because you just don’t have time (i.e. you prioritize other things) and it’s not that much fun anyway. So let go of those things. Free yourself! Give it away, make someone happy and move on.
Are your things really you?
I used to be an artist. I had an atelier, I taught evening art classes, had exhibitions and painted and sold a surprising amount of pictures. It was a god few years but eventually I moved on to other interests like jewelry making, baking and photography and a few years back I finally got rid of all my oil colors, canvases, brushes – everything! (Well almost – I still have that easel… does anyone want it?) The freedom was amazing! A school thankfully accepted boxes of artistic material, and every last unsold painting that wasn’t hanging on our walls, was either given to friends or cut up and recycled. I haven’t regretted this decision for a moment.
Getting rid of stuff doesn’t just free up physical space it also frees up space in yourself. I didn’t have to be the artist anymore. I didn’t want to be one. I was done and I moved on. There is a famous quote from the movie Fight Club, saying “the things you own end up owning you”. So before you once again organize those cupboards ask yourself if this is you or if these items own you. Is this really you? Does these things make your life easier in any way or do they weigh you down?
Then get two boxes. Mark one “charity” (items to give away), and the other “recycling” (stuff to bring to the recycling center). The last resort is the bin.
This year, instead of organizing – make space. In your home and in your mind.
Text and photo by Lisa Fuchs, January 2015