Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Project of a Lifetime

Every so often I get sick of having "stuff."

I would say I am a mild pack rat, mostly because I worry about needing to refer to things later and I have tons of painting and craft supplies.

I'm currently in a "sick of stuff" mode. I get into this "give it away or junk it" mode every so often where I'll throw things away or give them to D.I.. But for some reason, this time I feel like it's more of a permanent shift.

I want my life to be less about "stuff" and more about learning: expanding my mind, developing and nurturing important relationships, deepening my creativity, and making beautiful things (whether that be through painting, taking pictures, writing stories, or any number of other avenues.)

So, I started a little project for myself last week.

I am going through all of my possessions to clear out the clutter I have accumulated over my lifetime. There are several reasons why this project is cropping up now:

-I sold my house and will be moving back in with my parents for a one month transition period before I move to Paris.

-I recently read an article about clutter and excess "stuff" creating/increasing stress. Hmmmm. No, thanks.

-In Paris I will be living in a miniscule apartment* with a tiny closet. I'll basically be living out of my suitcases for 5 months. So, I think this will be a great trial run for living the pared-down life.

-Many of these boxes simply contain papers from school that I wanted to keep either 1)Because they are a testament to the fact that I was, in fact, smart at one point in my life, 2) I wanted to use them in developing my own French course curriculum (papers that fall into this category I'll likely scan and keep), or 3) Back then I thought I "might need it for something later."

So, wish me luck. It's a really difficult process for me, because I'm so much a "what if" person that I can imagine realistic scenarios for needing just about anything later. I also feel horrible donating or throwing away anthing that someone gave to me.

I'll try to take pictures of the process so you can see what I'm talking about. It's going to be quite the project, but I can't wait to feel liberated from all of my junk. (And I think my parents will appreciate having a guest room that doesn't feel like it's about to topple over onto their sleeping friends/family at any given moment.)

As a side note, there's no getting around the fact that I'm going to keep 90% of my painting and art supplies and 99% of my books. I use those. This project is focusing on the stuff that is just taking up space and not contributing to my personal development or happiness (which is, in fact, most of my stuff).

*I don't have one yet, but let's be honest... it's a pretty safe assumption to make.


Jess said...

When I moved to Utah County, I threw away and donated many garbage bags of stuff. I was amazed how many papers I kept from junior high and high school that had no real use and that I hadn't looked at in over 10 years.

Denise said...

I can identify with you. I will be interested in following your progress. Since we are also moving I will need to do the same.