Urban Adaptation

Sustainable urban living, rural dreams, and daily change for a homemade life.

Clearing the clutter

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With a season spent largely indoors looming infront of me, I find myself thinking more about rearranging and settling in.  I also find myself thinking about clearing out as well, though, in an effort to make a bit more space to comfortably spend my time at home.

With many interests and things on the go, I tend to have a lot of stuff kicking around as well (not that many interests inherently leads to a lot of stuff necessarily, but in my case, it certainly tends to.)  There are knitting and sewing materials, cooking utensils and cookbooks, musical instruments, art supplies, and DVDs and books.  There’s also vastly different clothing – almost one set for teaching and academic life, and another for bumming around the house, exercising, and mucking around outside.

I also tend to hold onto things.  Long-standing and deep-seated fears about having enough and ideals about using things up means I tend to hold onto a lot and, in some cases, acquire a lot, especially from the thrift store (together, this can be a deadly combo.)  Combined with a hyper-awareness of the state of the economy, the threat of Peak Oil, and all manner of other cheery little topics makes me want to hold on to what I have, just in case.  And so there are snow boots, warm coats, wool blankets, a food dehydrator, food stores, oil lamps, and all manner of other sustainable living-type things for just-in-case.

But at this point, knowing that a move may be in my future strikes a bit of fear in my heart.  The thought of moving just the books alone is terrifying, let alone the wealth of stuff that also happens to be kicking around here.  Plus, I just plain old don’t like feeling surrounded and tied down by things.  And I do.  I very much do at times.

So, a project lies ahead.  A long, slow one, I’m thinking.  One where I slowly and steadily complement my reduced spending and shopping with the process of weeding out what I no longer want or need to keep in my life.

No two ways about it, this will be a tough one.  It’s been tough before, and it’ll be tough again.  There’s not much that I can’t justify keeping, but stuff needs to go, plain and simple.  Fewer clothes, fewer books, fewer dishes and pots, fewer random bits and pieces and whatever else is hiding away in the back corners of the apartment.

I’m thinking that come the start of November, when things really cool off and the craziness of October has, with any luck, abated a bit, I’ll be working to either get rid of a set number of things a day (5?  10?), or work my way through a small portion of the apartment (a shelf or drawer, maybe) and get rid of what I can.  Then, rinse and repeat.

The process has to be slow.  Getting all up in my stuff’s face, as it were, doesn’t tend to work well all at once, and does little more than leave me frustrated and with a messier place than when I started.  So, the ideal is bit by bit, hopefully daily, but at least weekly.  As for the overall goal, I don’t know what that is yet, but I’ve considered before, and am considering again, whether 25 percent of what I own would be too much of a stretch.  It would go a long way towards lightning the load and making me feel a lot better, but it might be frustrating or unrealistic to expect so much.

And so I think, and I plan, and for now I get back to the writing and editing that needs to be done while in the back of my mind I start plotting what can make its way out of my life and into someone else’s.

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Written by Jenn

October 16, 2010 at 10:33 pm

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