by Cara Lumen
I read a blog post recently that suggested putting everything in your office (or whatever room you need to de-clutter) into boxes so that all the surfaces are clear of stuff. When you want something you get it out and put it where it belongs –the book on the bookshelf, the stapler in a reachable place or your contact information nearby. And after awhile you end up with what you need and use handy and a lot of stuff in boxes that you really do not need – so you can toss it!
Put stuff away
Pick a morning when you are fresh and rethink what you have out on the surfaces around you. I’m going to move to a smaller space and I already know I have too many put-abouts. So I’m giving some away and I’m still clinging to others. My day of reckoning is coming.
Clutter to the eyes is clutter to the brain. Think Zen gardens. Think an item of beauty surrounded by space. Think serenity. Think a featured item that catches your eye and rewards it. Because I have so many items that I enjoy or value I’m going to create different seasons for my put-abouts – like putting out Christmas decorations and taking them down. But I’ll create special groupings that change the look and feel of my space and give each item space in which to be appreciated. I’ll do this quarterly with the solstice and equinox which will give me a theme and a specific time frame. It will be fun to change the covers on the pillows, or drape some fabric over the backs of chairs
Tune into your space often and see what it needs from your. Notice how refreshing it is to change the look of your space, the energy, the focus.
Why do you need it where it is?
I happen to know that one fairly large Quan Yin statue of mine is in the wrong place because it was on top of a bookcase and looked great but my cat Sabrina likes to sleep up there and I thought she might knock it off. In fact a lot of things that had feathers on them or were woven are put away because her brother Sebastian really likes to play with feathers. He’d even jump up on the wall to try to reach them. Sometimes things end up in the wrong place for unexpected reasons.
Of course moving is going to allow me to rethink where everything goes but you can do that whether you move or not. For instance, in my present office my desk faces the door in good Feng Shui manner and I have a great view out of a window. In my new space it’s just not going to be possible to face the door but I can keep a good window view.
Are you using your space well? Is what you need handy? Are you hemmed in by things you don’t need? Clear your space so it holds just the things you need.
Make things do double duty
I am determined to keep a three foot high piece of driftwood that I bought in Oregon years ago that I consider my Goddess piece. It was on my patio in California and my deck here in Kansas but I will have no deck where I am moving and I still want that piece so I had to get creative. I have figured out that I will drape some drawers I use for office supply storage and make a meditation space on top of it using the driftwood as a centerpiece. I can lift the drape to get the stuff in the drawers and the rest of the time I have created a very special space to enjoy.
My computer desk already does double duty. The shelf that could hold stuff is totally bare – except when a cat sleeps on it. I have an open shelf bookcase that stores my USB connections and my microphone stand. The top shelf holds my phone.
Create levels. Use fabric to change a look, hide utilitarian things under beautiful things. Get creative. Make things do double duty.
Keep things you need handy
It is said we only use only 10% of our stuff. But how handy is it? Do you have to wade through a drawer of seldom used kitchen utensils to get to the one or two you use all the time? Do you have clothes you haven’t worn all year? Try hanging your clothes with the open end of the hanger toward you. When you use it put it back the right way with the open end to the back. Before long you’ll know which clothes you never touch and can send them out to be in service elsewhere.
What do you need close by? I keep my passwords printed on a sheet in alphabetical order that I can easily access, my family phone numbers are there too. I have a file nearby for quickly stuffing paid bills. My calculator is very close. But there are some things that do not need to be in my immediate vicinity that can be put on the bookshelf behind me.
Look at what you use and enjoy looking at most often and make it accessible.
Toss the “just in case” things
I had so many “just in case” things in my garage in California – interesting things that could be made into a craft project at some point. More gardening stakes than I could use on a farm because they came in a package of 12 or so. The slow cooker I have used twice in ten years. The big pot I needed when I was cooking for my children but no longer need for just me. Get real about the 10% you really need and place it where you can get to it. Give away the rest.
To prepare for this move I went through the large collection of written material that I keep in binders. I threw away nearly half. I kept material from courses I took, but I found that every time I had an idea for an information product I had made a small binder. A lot of them were still in the idea stage so I dismantled those binders. I rescued about two feet of paper to recycle in my printer. What have you prepared for and never done that is taking up space? Get rid of it.
Honor how you run your day
Several times a year rethink how you do your life. I rethink my life at the solstice and equinox. See what needs to change. Do you need to set up an exercise corner with your steps and dumb bells and pumping rubber stuff handy? Are you starting to cook more for yourself and need to create a better system for your recipes? Do you need to organize your projects in binders or files or some system that allows you to pull out the material easily and just as easily put it away? How is your filing system? Oh yes, you could put all of your computer hard drive on a backup drive and then just start to reinstall what you need. Now there’s a project for you.
Be aware of the energy
You have great control over your environment. How you care for it and what you put into it affects its energy. If you are surrounded by clutter, chaos, and abandoned and un-cared for items, that’s how you are caring for yourself. Take time to arrange your environment so it pleases you. If you keep it organized, put things away when not in use, and lovingly clean it regularly, you’ll feel that care you are giving yourself. You will know you are honoring the life you are living, the gifts you are giving and the service you are offering when you keep your environment simple and aesthetically pleasing.
Go through some stuff away and give a lot away – today.
A feast for your eyes
When you lovingly prepare your space you will find pleasure wherever you look. And when there are lovely places to look you will find your environment nourishing, replenishing and peaceful. Give thought to your environment and make it nourishing to you. Home is where we come for replenishment. Make it a safe haven.
How do you handle your stuff? Please share.
©2010 Cara Lumen