A landscape architect friend of mine kept telling me that I needed to "edit" my flower garden. This is just a very polite way of saying, "girl, you need to WEED!"
I am admittedly a clutter-bug. I have so many "things". A good share of my problem is lack of organization. But the other part is not taking the time to "edit" my surroundings.
I have taken on the challenge to edit out what is just so-so, and leave what I truly appreciate.
Case in point, this is my dresser. Ugh! I am so totally embarrassed to even show you. I debated whether or not to just show the "finished" version. But I figured a blog is an excellent place to expose things about myself. I can show you my weaknesses, then either work to improve them, or decide I'll accept myself exactly as I am. A blog gives me the opportunity to stop, and decide how I want to view my life and the people and things within. So, here's the ugly. Hopefully there will be a good as well, and perhaps not a bad at all.
I've been keeping all my nutritional supps on the dresser, to make sure that I take them. The television, I only watch on Sunday evenings, so I could probably find an alternate place to keep it. I have numerous "things" waiting for me to do something with, like a return to a shop, a recipe to go back in files, receipts to log, and general clutter to be put away. Thank goodness I don't have a stale cup of coffee sitting there. Now that would be embarrassing, but not out of the realm of possibility.
Focusing on one small space at a time
I asked myself. . .
What is the purpose of this space?
Which of these things bring me the most joy?
Do my things have space around them, a visual frame, of sorts? How much space is needed for this visual frame?
How have I been displaying items? Are they grouped? Which items should have front and center designation?
What is out that doesn't need to be out? Can I find a place to keep these items, such that will remain functional to me?
Next, I removed everything from this small space I was working on (my dresser for this one), and laid it all aside. One by one, I selected items, and put them back in an order of importance to me. I didn't follow some interior decorator's advice of placement. I placed items exactly how I liked.
I cleared about 2/3 of the "stuff" from the dresser's top.
What did I leave? A collection of perfume bottles given to me by special people in my life, sitting on a tray that my great aunt gave to me when I became engaged. (I know, she envisioned I'd be serving canapes on that tray, but this works better for my perfume bottle collection.) A comb and mirror that my mom gave to me just before she passed away. Two small paintings done by my grandmother. A crystal tray filled with some bracelets that I wear often, and a couple of hair accessories. My cross. A covered china box that my grandmother and grandfather were given on their marriage. Some silk flowers. A framed poem that my daughter wrote for me. And a small stack of books that I like to refer to for inspiration. In listing it all out, that's actually quite a lot. And it tells me something about myself. I'm a very sentimental person.
That was the easy part, putting back what I love. The hard part was finding homes for the stuff that I still want, but don't wish to have on display.
Gone are the stacks of magazines, papers, supplement bottles, items that had homes but had been left out, coins, a shop bag containing an item to be returned, and miscellaneous other items.
When I had everything that I wanted to have on the dresser, I was left with a large pile of items to sort through. I discovered something, not placing something on the dresser did not mean I didn't want it at all. It simply meant that there are some things best left in a drawer, cabinet or closet. I live by this in my kitchen, so why was this such a difficult task to undertake in the bedroom. It would be silly if I felt I had to have everything on the counter in the kitchen. Shouldn't a dresser top function similarly to a kitchen counter? There's a place for a few select items to be left out while still leaving work space.
It not only looks tidy, now, but the gleam of the wood is visible, which I think is so very pretty.
Over the last month, I have been going around the house, editing our possessions, and finding the right balance of beauty and use.
Editing my life
Editing my life follows a similar format. It's an exercise in thought, deciding where my focus should be. And just like my dresser, there are areas in my life that I want to have center stage. There are areas and commitments that I still have use for, but just don't wish to pursue them as often. And then there are the things, groups, and activities that once had meaning to my life, but I find irrelevant today.
What is the purpose of my life?
Am I living out my purpose?
What events, work, commitments and activities bring me the most joy?
Am I giving these activities some space around them? The down time between events serves not only to rejuvenate, but also to provide a "frame", setting each activity apart from the next.
Which commitments and goals from years past no longer feel relevant to my life today?
If I were to wipe the slate clean, so to speak, which events, work, commitments and activities would I choose to put back, and which would I part with?
I've come to understand that it's okay to let go of what no longer has purpose and meaning. As I get older, my perspective shifts. I no longer value youth and beauty over function and comfort. I don't dress in the hot trends any more. My shoes are comfortable flats most of the time. Who cares is my waistline is no longer smooth.
What is important to me, now, is relationships. I'm afraid that I was careless with a few relationships in my youth. Now, I give my relationships as much of my time as I can.
I continue editing my life, as my needs and desires change. One thing is for certain in life and in belongings, too much clutter keeps me from seeing the true beauty of the people and things that I love.