I’ll be deviating from my list a bit as eliminating meat and dairy was next, but I’ve decided to move that step to discuss last. Also avoiding disposables was part of my last post–“Ditching Disposables.”
Moving forward on my journey into living simply was my decision to eliminate anything in my life that doesn’t bring joy. It pretty much began with the random “stuff” that we accumulate over the years: knick knack stuff, art stuff that always seemed to stay boxed up whenever I moved, pieces of furniture I no longer needed, etc. Then that moved to my clothing and accessories, then on to childhood items, and items given to me that I no longer found necessary to keep. Then…photos. I’ve scanned almost all of the hard copies, except those that are in a few photo albums still. I still have some hard copies of some photos; some will turn into gifts, and the rest will go.
I’ve literally gone through everything I own, sometimes more than once, to determine what stays and what goes. I’ll go into much more detail in a future post, as this has been a 6-year process…so far. (Some take shorter, some take longer, it’s all about YOU!) Some items, such as candle holders, picture frames, books I knew I’d never read (this is where you must be honest with yourself), clothes I knew I’d never wear (HONESTY, again!), broken items or other items needing work, duplicates of various things, etc, were on the easy side of the purge. Harder items which evoked some sort of emotion include my high school yearbooks (although so far, I’ve allowed myself to keep my senior year yearbook), a couple stuffed animals from childhood, items I knew could never be replaced, my wedding dress, and some other various items I’ve saved over the years.
This past summer I started going through my collection of paper. This included photographs, old journals, taxes and other financial records, high school yearbooks, cards, notes written to myself…anything. Things I knew I wanted to needed to keep got scanned. This was quite the process, but with every stack of scanned paper I was able to discard felt like so much weight being lifted and I started feeling lighter and lighter. I’m on the tail end of that project and it feels great. An added bonus is actually going through all that stuff again. Ahh, memories…All joking aside though, it was super cool going through old diaries from childhood. Reading about the simple things that brings us joy–hanging out with friends (or watching Dallas with Dad!), it was special to get to see my life from my childhood’s perspective. Thank you Uncle Ralph for emphasizing how important it is to document our lives!! But the hard copies will now be shredded and have a second life helping the local animal shelter. Only the paper will no longer exist, but I’ll always carry the memories with me.
I’ve been trying to not live in the past, looking for answers I’ll never find. Living for the now and thinking of the future is what’s important. It’s not always easy, but still good to keep in mind. And we tend to carry those past memories in things. Don’t let anything weigh you down! Our homes should be our sanctuaries and should only be filled with items that bring good vibes. And not just items, but the people too!!
It’s important to take inventory of our relationships too. With a new year beginning, why not assess who in our lives spark joy and those who don’t. Decluttering is much more than clearing out the clothes that don’t fit. It’s freeing ourselves from the merry-go-round of what life is turning into. It’s reconnecting with those who mean the most to us, keeping social media dealings positive, spending time in nature, living cruelty-free and as minimally as possible (which we can surprise ourselves with what is truly possible), and taking some pressure off ourselves when trying to living up to the standard that has become the status quo. It’s creating a new status quo. It’s creating a new definition of success. It’s acknowledging that we, humans, are a part of nature and not separate from it. It’s coming to terms with the fact that we are not the owners of this planet, but merely temporary residents. It’s time to live a life that reflects that. And I’ll be here right along with you.
Goditi la vita!