I've recently arrived at the idea that I'll probably never wear out any of these clothes. I will get tired of them or they will go out of style before that happens. I have an abundance of clothes, which offers me a wide variety of ways to coordinate my appearance. That said, I tend to wear my favorites so it's time for another closet clearing. Anyone want to come shop? This is a seasonal event for me. I'm actually looking forward to it this time. This month is packed so come April, there will be significantly fewer items.
The only things I've truly worn out are my welcome at certain places, with certain people and these:
I bought these babies in Boston and haven broken them in past their prime. After recent excursions, it's time to say goodbye and transition them out. They're super light and they offer toe protection so they will become yard/river/rodeo shoes. I do my best to keep my walking shoes out of the dirt and grime. When they've put in a ton of miles, I find another use for them. I wouldn't have to do this and I KNOW I have an abundance in the shoe department, so it's one of the areas of downsizing that I'll look at. Followed by bag/totes/backpacks and planners. I love these items too.
Although I am a *recovering* shoe addict, I have taken steps to streamline this area. I still have quite a few pairs but those are also being pared down. Shoe clutter has been one of my big challenges. I enjoy the variety and styles and find that I do switch out often, so nothing drastic but I've already spied four pairs that will are headed to the release pile.
Shoe clutter can easily become passive clutter. We buy a pair, wear them for dress or work and then they remain untouched until we need them again. Knowing what our personal styles are important, but so is being clear about what we actually need. Case in point, I had a pair of black ballet flat that I loved. I wore them everywhere. They were light, packable and I could pull them off with a skirt, slacks or even shorts. I didn't wear them out, but they were certainly worn. They would leave black dye on my feet and that's just uncool. I recycled them and started looking for replacements. It's taken me over a year to find suitable ones. I'm not sure that I'm in love with the new pair, however this style is definitely one that goes with A LOT of the clothes that I wear.
What I know is that clutter creates blockages to forward movement so I'm really looking into the more subtle areas and items that I've housed. My fall detox was successful, but I can already see that things are seeping back in. I have noticed that it takes far less time to clean up because there are fewer items present. That has been especially helpful as I've had two intensely busy months.
I am a habitual clutter creator and it's something I'm working on. I am getting better about letting things go, especially items that I know I don't really love or need. I usually create the type of clutter known as active chaos. In the midst of movement, travel and daily living, I don't always put things away. Even though the laundry room is a few steps from my bathroom, if I'm tired I'll lay the clothes on the counter, rather than popping them into the hamper. It's silly for sure, but it's also extremely easy to do if I'm not thinking about it. The good news is that it doesn't take me long to bring things back into order. It doesn't take much for my space to look and feel like a wreck because it's small. It also doesn't take much to make it look and feel clean and clear. Results are easy to see, either way.
For example, my kitchen was in an utter state of disarray. It may appear that I am a completely lousy Feng Shui (flung schway?!) Consultant. I mean, I know all about the art of placement but one walk in the front door would certainly suggest otherwise. Unless we understand the true meaning of active and passive chaos. Active chaos is what happens when we are in the midst of creating a masterpiece (of disaster?! Awesome. I'm very skilled at this and so are my offspring.) Passive chaos is what happens when we do not clean up, tidy and bring the environment back into order and alignment. In other words active chaos becomes passive chaos when we just keep letting pile up, untouched... or rearranged to a different location or just forgotten about.
Case in point: This was how my house looked after a busy weekend a few weeks back. It looks... lived in and messy.
But hey, there's coffee and that is what is important.
It's not that I don't, can't or won't bring order to the space. I will because it nearly drives me insane to see this when I walk in the door. However, if I am tired and walking in the door at 10pm from orthodontist appointments, I focus my energies on the priorities...like SLEEP. Cleaning, clearing and organizing are't on the list, but they will be.
Being a tidy person may come naturally to some. It doesn't to me. In full confession here, I have pretty slobbish tendencies, yet I appreciate order. I was one of those person in college that would have a disaster of a room and then make my bed before I went to sleep....
The difference for me now is that this is not the state that I like to live in. It happens as a result of my choices and lifestyle. Since I've downsized my possessions it looks (and believe me it IS messy) but it doesn't take a week to whip things back into shape. In fact, I can have the counters cleared and every room in the house brought back into shape in one night. It's a good workout. (I wish that my body would come back into shape that quickly!)
Daily life happens. Papers come in door, clothes, shoes, bags, books, jackets, caps, sunglasses, and an assortment of other items trickle in too. The best way to manage the chaos is to work with it. I find a time and space to dive in. This isn't my favorite thing to do, not at all, but there is great satisfaction in tidying up and knowing that when I walk into the kitchen the next day, it will feel GREAT to have a clean, clear space.
Spring is here, now. One of the best things we can do is to set up an action plan and start taking steps to alleviate some of the passive chaos that has settled in from the previous seasons. This may entail a lot of work or just a little, depending on the state of your environment. The more possessions we have, the longer it will take. I've been on a clutter clearing, downsizing mission since last October. I've made progress but I still have a long way to go. My ultimate goal is to travel and write. Those are the things I most love and want to spend my time doing. That's my motivation. So when I am faced with the drudgery of tidying up and bring my chaos into workable order, I think about how nice it will also be to pack my bags and go on an adventure. I feel a lot more excited, clear and ready when my space is in order. Yours may be something entirely different. The important things is that you identify what you'd rather be doing, instead of continually cleaning and clearing. It's a never ending cycle, but it is manageable.
Those things won't necessarily go away, but it will take you far less time to bring your space into alignment. For those of you, like me that have seemingly slobbish tendencies, spring is an excellent transitional time to change patterns and habits. Identify what you'd rather be doing and make steps and changes within your body/being, life and space to support those actions. We can't think our way into doing them, we have to take action.
Here's the evidence of my efforts:
What? An actual table surface?! Who knew?! I bought this vintage runner several years ago and I use it quite often. In the fall "purge" I released a mini yellow pitcher. Apparently I was done with it. I went to look in its usual spot and it was gone. Oh well the runner looks just fine without it.
I cleared out all the debris on this counter. Typically this is where I set my computer, plug in speakers, kindle and cell phones. Once everything is charged and ready to go. I put the cords in a drawer. I've made it a habit to store items in the same place so they can be easily accessed.
This corner would look MUCH better if it weren't for the microwave. I don't use it. However, my children do. That's a long story, maybe for another post?
And speaking of new beginnings, I'm excited to share that I will be teaching classes at MidPlains Community College, in North Platte. March 29th is Feng Shui Basics and I'll share some suggestions and insights on how to work with active and passive chaos. The content is completely revised so if you're interested in these topics, please consider joining me. Class starts at 6pm. For additional details please message me on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.