There is a peace and serenity that comes with letting go. Every time I rethink my space and toss out stuff, it feels like a fresh start. I will never be a true minimalist but I have been reading a few blogs on minimalism and wondered how I might adapt some of those principles to my life.
We use only 10% of what we have on hand
Ten percent is not very much. Look around your offce. Look around your home. If you took everything out of it, what would you bring back in? I have downsized twice in the last two years and found there were several reasons I was holding onto things.
I might need it sometime
This was the major reason I stored things. What if I wanted to oil paint again even though it’s been 15 years since I used them? I’ve been a big binder person; every time I started a new project, I put it in to half-inch binder. But just how many binders does a girl need? I gave away a bunch. I looked at my books when it was time to pay by the pound to move them cross-country and gave away all but the most useful or meaningful. I recently gave away more books that were no longer relevant to my business. Then there is my pantry where I stopped buying things that were on sale just in case I needed them. Now my pantry is lean and ready to go with foods I enjoy. Clothes are a huge space-taker. If you didn’t wear it this season, pass it forward. I have some wonderful scarves that sit in my drawer that someone else might enjoy. My office supplies are in a chest but some of the drawers are empty. I can rethink what I want to keep and reorganize it more efficiently. One minimalist said that even if you gave away something you eventually needed it would only coast you $20 to replace it. Look carefully at what you are hanging on to and see what you are willing to let go.
My children might need it sometime
It took me a while to figure this one out. My children probably don’t want my stuff anyway; they have plenty of their own. I have asked each of them if there is anything they want and they have each picked out a few memento type things. The rest can go. This was hard when I realized that no one would like my stuff like I do. Get over it. Enjoy what you have and trust it to end up in the right hands whenever you choose to give it away.
They are records of my life and I want to be remembered
The pay-by-the-pound move got rid of some of this personal journey stuff for me but I recently went through my nostalgic collection and found I was now ready to toss a good portion of it. My plan is to go through that collection again in a year to see how my life has changed and what I am ready to release. The memories will still be there even if the memento is gone.
Take a hard look at what you need now
For the projects that I’m doing right now I need only my computer. I’m coaching and writing ebooks so everything is digital. I read online and the library is free. I went through my one file cabinet and tossed things. That made room for storing some of the things I was keeping around my desk. Give me a computer and a chair and I’m happy. I still use a few of my binders to keep important papers in but I no longer use them for projects, those stay in my computer. I passed along some business books I should have read, wanted to read but never did. I also realized I don’t have to have quite so many plants around me.
I have kept room on my desk for inspiration. A small Buddha statue reminds me to stay serene and in service. A big light box crystal holds the energy of my work place. When you have too much stuff around you can’t see any of it. With the release of the no longer applicable business books, I cleared two shelves which now contain the figurines and crystals that had previously been lined up in a clutter in front of those books. They are now displayed so I can better see and appreciate them.
Stop buying stuff
See if you can do without something. See if you have a substitute for it. See if you can borrow it for this one project.. Ask yourself how often you will use it. See if you have room for it. And most of all if you bring something new in let something else go.
Cultivate the serene mind
As I sit here with my clean, uncluttered desk the tension drops away. There are no stacks of notes for me to remember or record or do. There is basically me and my computer and my mind. That works for me every time.
What can you let go of that will bring peace and serenity into your workplace?
© 2012 Cara Lumen