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Saturday, February 28, 2009
Once again, I can raise my hand. I do, I do!! I spent a good portion of today driving to various locations around town to pick up items that need to be at the Alternative Humane Society's annual meeting tomorrow (I'm on the Board). There is also a stack of boxes of promotional items for my business's upcoming trade show booth taking up space in my living room right now. My garage is full of things I'm keeping "to use later" or "to pass on to my kids... someday".
I'm an organizer... I should know better, right? Well, I'm also human.
We humans are sentimental creatures, for the most part. We like to hang onto things that have value, whether they're only valuable to us, or could be considered valuable on the general market. And we like to help out a friend or charitable cause when we can. That's all good and fine, until the storing of things starts to keep you from living the life you want to live.
If guests have to sleep on the couch because the guest room is crammed full of uncompleted projects and "stuff to look at", it might be time to actually take a look at all that stuff. Ask yourself if it's contributing to the life you want to live, or detracting from it.
If you have the space to store things for friends, great! But be realistic about the space that you have, and remember that it's ok to say no. Things have energy, and that affects your life. Moving, repackaging, sorting, and just keeping track of it all takes up your time and energy.
If you've accumulated valuable things over the years that you don't want to just throw away, check out Freecycle. You can find a Freecycle group in your own community. (Here in Bellingham, you can also participate in the Whatcom Potlatch gifting community.) Members post needs, or offer items they have. You may be surprised to find a perfect match for that obscure useful item that's been in your garage for 15 years.
By all means, continue to be generous with the time and space that you have. But don't feel bad about setting limits!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Lately, I've been noticing some interesting things about my own home office: the amount of clutter that's actually there, and how I've tried to make it "invisible".
When you spend hours in a space every day, it's easier to stop noticing the way it is, and how it makes you feel. But whether you're consciously aware of it or not, the clutter is still there "like a splinter in your mind" (sorry, Matrix fan here).
Time for some honesty: the photo above is what I see, right now, when I swivel my desk chair around. Ok, so maybe it's not that bad. At least it's (mostly) in bins, right? The problem is, it's been there for weeks (ok, ok, more like months), and though I've shuffled things around, I haven't solved the problem.
I also find it really interesting that this clutter is positioned behind me in the room - right where I can't see it while I'm working at my desk. This tells me that subconsciously, I'm trying to get away from it, but the reality is, I can't. It's still there, and it's not going to go away all by itself, it's multiplying, and it's dragging me down with it!
Remember that commercial where people were dragging bathroom scales around with them, illustrating the idea of being "chained to the number on the scale"? That's how I feel... my clutter is clanging around behind me all day, getting in my way and hitting me in the ankles occasionally. That image is closer to the truth than we may like to imagine, because things really do have energy, and they really do affect our motivation, focus, and peace of mind.
I'm a very task oriented person. I get satisfaction out of crossing something off my list. So when I feel overwhelmed with lots of big irons in the fire, what do I tend to do? I create more projects! Smaller projects that can be done in a couple hours, or mindless tasks that don't really get me any closer to accomplishing my goals, but do provide a "quick fix" feeling of productivity.
My goal today is to clear out that "invisible" clutter lurking behind me in my office. I know it will make a big difference in how I feel, and in how much energy I have for tackling the projects that are really important to me.
How does clutter multiply in your life? Have you suddenly noticed "lurking invisible clutter" in your space? Share you experiences!