Monday, April 25, 2011

Decluttering Life (A Book Review of Sorts)

I've recently purchased a book that is slowly changing my life.

It stared with the truckload of things I inherited from my grandmother a few years ago and which have taken over our home. Platinum ringed china. Silverplate goblets. Leaded crystal. A random, mismatched china teapot. Silverplate serving dishes and spoons. A partial set of silver flatware. Brass ornamental pieces. Some depression glass (I'm keeping that). And furniture. Heaven help me, the furniture.

Add all that to our already cluttered home, and we have a suffocating mess. I've been avoiding it for a year or so, not wanting to take the time out of our already busy schedules to go through all this...stuff. But clutter can literally sap you of your energy. I literally felt trapped by this inherited albatross.

Then I happened across The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, by Francine Jay. Don't be misled or turned off by the title. You won't be channeling Thoreau, building a cabin in Emerson's woods to escape society—though would that be so bad? It's simply a guide to altering your attitude about things, and, through that, experiencing freedom from clutter.

I added the book to my order. I got it a few days later and couldn't put it down. Its clean white covers contained an epiphany that, in turn, provided a great paradigm shift. To put it simply, I no longer feel an obligation to keep Granny's stuff or my own useless accumulations. These are just things. Things that are in the way.

I first tackled my kitchen, then took some pictures of Granny's china—which take up much less space on my hard drive than 10 seven-piece place settings complete with serving dishes, did in my dining room—and boxed them up for the donation pile. Maybe someone else will find joy in them.

I'm champing at the bit to go through the rest of this house. I can't get the stuff out fast enough. I'm determined that our home will become an oasis of space to live, where a body can stretch out and play, with plenty of room to do the things we truly enjoy. We should not have to work, walk, and live around useless stuff.

I have a long way to go, but I'm enjoying the sweet victory of empty space. I never thought I'd be a minimalist, but I do believe, after a little application, I could live comfortably on the simple side of life.

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