So, am I freaking everyone out with all this talk of clearing and creativity?
|Your Candy Heart Says "Hug Me"|
Your heart is open to where ever love takes you!
Your ideal Valentine's Day date: a surprise romantic evening that you've planned out
Your flirting style: lots of listening and talking
What turns you off: fighting and conflict
Why you're hot: you're fearless about falling in love
I bet you have all been sitting on pins and needles, wondering how the great yarn stash smackdown is going. Well, since last we checked in with our heroine, I have knit or otherwise disposed of nine balls of yarn. Not a ton, but geez, what do you want? Eggs in your beer? (If anyone has ever heard that saying before, please explain it to me!).
I received several balls in the mail from Robyn (darn her anyway!) but I have big plans for much of my stash, so I'm not stressing it. :)
You may be wondering what all this decluttering (de-lousing, it reminds me of) has to do with art and creativity. I actually think the two are intimately related. I find myself constantly distracted by the superfluous, wishing instead to winnow down and focus on the core of what I want to do and who I am. Whether I'm cutting activities out of my schedule, or yarn from my stash, or books from my personal library, I consider it all related. It's all an attempt to make my life exactly as I want it, with just the things, activities, people, and experiences I adore.
Of course, I know life brings much we can't predict -- and much we'd prefer to keep out or avoid totally. But to the extent I can, why shouldn't I focus on what I love? In a way, I feel like I have an obligation to do so (holding on to something I don't adore could be akin to dating the guy you like but don't adore -- just keeping yourself occupied and keeping him out of circulation. Selfish!).
I'm rambling, so I'm going to bed.
But first I will also report -- four bags of papers to recycling, one garbage bag of empty boxes to recycling, and one bag of various and sundry electronic equipment to Goodwill. Ah.
I am cleaning out my office and it is so hard for me to just LET GO of stuff! I have a used Memorex CD burner that I paid $140 for... Used it a few times. Now I don't need it and if I sell it I could get maybe $25 for it. Same with a Palm M125 PDA that I used for a month. And a ton of other electronic-type stuff. Plus scrapbooking stuff. Plus other odds and ends. I HATE just giving it to Goodwill! I feel like I can "get my money back" somehow. Even though I know I actually LOSE money when I try to sell it used. Ugh.
Why do I feel so attached to this stuff? It's not that I think I might use it again -- I know I won't. What I hate is just sending it out the door. It feels like such a waste. Funny, because the waste is having it sitting here, in my closet, when someone could be using it. And even if I did get $25 or $30 for it, the time and energy I spend on posting, selling, delivering, doesn't make it worth my while. Yet still...
Maybe I feel like if I get some money back, then I haven't made such a huge mistake? Maybe I feel like the original purchase was validated? I don't know.
But I do know that my time is worth more than trying to sell this stuff. And my space and peace of mine is worth more than trying to hold on to it until I get a few measly bucks for it.
I better put it in the "toss" bag before I change my mind!
I've started a little artist journal to track my thoughts on creativity and de-cluttering (there has to be a better word to capture what I'm doing... winnowing? I don't know). I am writing about my thoughts and capturing my feelings and progress in words and pictures. Maybe it's more of a visual journal, then. I am not up on all the terminology.
Anywho, here's one of my recent entries. I'll create a special photo album for this. In the meantime, here you can see my linen closet. :)
I cleaned out our linen closet. One huge garbage bag and one smaller trash bag to Goodwill. Seriously, I had no idea all that stuff even fit in there!
My secret - to commit to doing the task, allowing no distractions or tangents. I am making a list of all the "other" things that occur to me as I am completing the first task.
I also got rid of about 75 business books -- gave them to my hubby. He will take them into work. Wish I could recoup some $ for them... But instead I will enjoy recouping the space. Whew.
When I think about decluttering our house, I simply don't know where to begin.
I think, Maybe I should start in my office because I spend a lot of time there, and it's at the uppermost, farthest corner of the house. Then I can work down from there.
Then I think, Well, maybe I should start in the kitchen because that's where we spend most of our time as a family.
Then I think, But the kids' rooms would be a good place to start because there is a lot of stuff I can get rid of in there, and I'll feel really good about getting stuff out of the house.
Then, my mind says, But I only have about 30 minutes and that's not enough to do any whole room. Maybe I should start with the laundry closet.
So I go to the laundry closet and open the door and take a look at the piles of linens. Wow, I say, Where did all this stuff COME from?. I pull out a set of Ben's sheets and begin to fold them, only to say, You know, I should probably change the sheets on his bed while I'm thinking about it. So I go to his room, pull off the old sheets and stuff them in the (overflowing) hamper and put the new ones on. As I tuck in the edges, I find a few pieces of Lego. I'll just gather all the stray Legos and put them up right now, I tell myself and spend 10 minutes pulling them off the floor and from behind books and from the inside of sneakers. I'm about to toss them in the Lego container when I remember a page in a magazine I'd torn out a week ago, showing a really cute storage system for Legos and other small kids' toys. I race up to my office, start tearing through the pile of magazine clippings, and then think, I'll just file these while I'm here. It'll be quicker that way.
After 20 minutes of filing magazine clippings (which led to creating new storage binders by subject, which in turn led to pulling everything off the shelf housing my office supplies in an attempt to re-organize it, which in turn led to hunting down my Brother P-Touch label maker and discovering it was out of white tape, which led to getting on my computer to place a quick order to Office Depot), it's time to pick up the kids from school.
I take a quick look around. My efforts at "decluttering" have resulted in a pile of linens waiting to be folded and put away, an unhoused stash of Legos, magazine clippings that are half-sorted into messy stacks, and a snowfall of staples, binders, paper, and other detritus.
No wonder I never try to organize anything.
I think part of this is perfectionism, believe it or not. I don't want to take on a job unless I can do it "right." And that means completely, including color-coded labels and cute organization bins. And this is why I have a dozen books on decluttering (that I have not yet read -- I'm waiting for enough free time to read them completely in one sitting!), and a messy house.
I tried to explain this to my husband on the phone about ten minutes ago, but he just hung up on me.
Anyone got any ideas?
I think hoarding is something nearly every knitter/scrapbooker/crafter can relate to. We pretty much all have more STUFF than we know what to do with! In knitting, they call it SELE -- Stash Exceeds Life Expectancy. I'm there!
Why do I amass so much product yet don't take the time to actually DO anything with it? That's the question I have been pondering lately. I want to scrap/paint/collage/knit, but I don't have the time or I fear the process for some as-yet undiscovered reason, so I go out and buy MORE yarn/paper/idea books. It's a safe way of being involved in the activity. Much like, I imagine, someone who's interested in skydiving might pick up a magazine on the topic before signing on the dotted line and throwing oneself out of a plane a mile up in the sky. Much, much safer.
There's an obvious tangential question here -- WHY do I feel scared or hesitant to create? But I am not going to tackle that right now. Instead of diving into the deep, dark side of my psyche, I am going to address the THING issue. I have too much stuff.
The solutions are simple -- buy less, use up more, purge. Either that or move to Wisconsin where I can have a full crafting basement and storage space is no longer an issue. But seeing as I'd have more room in my bed, too, because there is no way in heck my hubby's going to relo to the midwest (is Wisconsin in the midwest, technically?), I think I'd better assume that we are geographically fixed.
So. Using. Not buying. Purging. They're all challenging in their own way. I know some crafters who hate using their "good" stuff, preferring instead to view their stashes as collections. I know some crafters who could sooner cut off their arm with a Fiskars paper trimmer than stop buying new. And I know some who cannot get rid of anything, including Mrs. Grossman's stickers of the evil-looking bear holding the big red heart.
Which is toughest for you? I'll share my challenges next time.
We live in such a world and culture of abundance. Even the poorest in this nation rank high above the poorest in the rest of the world. We have so many choices about what to do with our energy, time, and money. But all this abundance can actually make us feel constrained.
I think because there are TOO many options, we get overloaded (I know I do!). I think about my little two-year-old; if I show her five pairs of shoes (can you believe a two-year-old HAS five pairs of shoes??) and ask her which she wants to wear, she will get frozen in indecision. But if I give her a choice between two, she immediately knows which ones she wants.
As an adult -- and as an adult with relatively high monetary and scheduling freedom -- I can feel the same way. I experience this with my art all the time. All of the sudden, it isn't a choice between the red crayon and the green one; it's a choice between the red and the green and the lime green and the lemon yellow and the cerise and the magenta and... well, you get the picture.
The more choices I have, the harder that decision becomes. I get caught up in making the "right" decision -- but the more options, the harder it is to discern between them. Our brains are wired to operate very quickly in binary (on/off, yes/no, go/no go), but once we're presented with a plethora of choices, we suddenly try to make distinctions between them and rank them in some way -- when in actuality, there may be no "right" or "wrong," just as "sea green" isn't necessarily any better a choice than "teal."
When we feel overwhelmed, we feel attacked, defensive, scared, anxious -- the same emotions we'd feel if someone were trying to make off with the leg of cavebear we just caught and roasted. Suddenly, we move into scarcity mentality, even though the emotions arose from an overabundance of choices.
What's the solution? I can think of a few. Limit the choices we give ourselves (tell yourself to create the next piece of art using only what's on your desk, for instance). Remind ourselves that we have plenty of waht we need-- even plenty of time, if we choose carefully. And opt for the things we love, the ones that make our hearts sing. Don't stick with something because it's "good enough." There really isn't enough time for "good enough."
As I surveyed the piles and piles of STUFF in my house, I started wondering... How much do I really need?
How much clothing, food, magazines, books, scrapbooking materials, yarn?
How much exercise, prayer, quiet time, blog-reading and -writing?
How much love, friendship, sunshine, fresh air, sleep?
How much really IS "enough?" And how do you know when you get there?
I think I fill my life (schedule, house, purse, computer hard drive) when I'm not filling my heart and soul (fresh air, relaxation, quality friendship, fulfilling work, creativity). If I spent more time on the intangibles, I don't think I'd need the tangibles as much.
It's like when you're hungry and you open the fridge and say, "Geez, I'd really like a piece of chocolate right now." But you convince yourself that the chocolate is bad for you, so you eat a graham cracker. And then a slice of cheese. And then a bag of celery sticks. And then another graham cracker. And then FINALLY you go ahead and eat the chocolate because that's what you really wanted, and that's the only thing that was going to satisfy you.
So why don't we just have a small piece of chocolate first? Think of all the calories we'd save.