I have made some great progress with my decluttering, but a lovely chat I had with Colleen recently prompted a decision by which I want to improve my decluttering and help me evaluate better the real value of my objects and why I keep them.
As I was talking to Colleen she started to ask about things I don’t even want to talk about decluttering, let alone actually declutter them. They are in my bedroom in the lovely box. It is a 31 square centimetre box, covered in fabric with a lid.
I made a mistake with my decluttering. Instead of focusing on all the “easy” stuff I want to and am willing to declutter I kept focusing on the box. Talking to Colleen made me realize that I was willing to declutter a lot more, except that box.
Every time I thought of my overall decluttering I thought how painful it will be when I have to declutter this box. This line of thinking literally puts a stop to the happy decluttering I have been doing (apart from the odd whining on the blog). I now realise what thinking about decluttering this box and its contents is doing to me emotionally. So I have decided to establish the untouchable box. This one box, in full sight, is small enough as to not constitute a burden in my bedroom or my life. It is nice looking and I am allowing myself the luxury of keeping it and never having to contemplating decluttering it if I don’t want to. No decluttering that box.
However, such a big compensation warrants some big sacrifice. So, as I have nominated that box and its contents “untouchable”, that means that everything else in my house can be contemplated for decluttering. If an item is not in use or if it does not agree with our lifestyles it is now fair game. So I set myself a rigid rule: no more keeping for sentimental reasons unless it fits in “the box”. If I want to fit it in “the box” because I feel it has emotional value, and there isn’t enough room, something else in “the box” will have to go. If it is too big and doesn’t fit in “the box” then it is too big to be kept only for sentimental reasons. Also, I can’t buy other boxes and I can’t cram things in there a mile high to keep them. The box must be able to close.
I can tell that my decision has already made me feel a lot better. My treasures are all safe, no one is going to touch them and I can declutter anything I want, because if I ever ran out of things to declutter I don’t have to touch my box. With this thought I feel like I freed myself from a burden. By allowing myself the freedom to keep my one small treasure box I gave myself a lot more freedom to declutter other stuff that I do not see as treasures, but are just there and I will look at them a lot more rationally. I can be more purposeful when I look at objects and with that, be more efficient when decluttering.
What I tried to say here is that we can allow ourselves to have our little treasures, but they have to be that, little. We have to be able to enjoy them when we want and, as it happens to me, keep them in sight and feel good having them there. I don’t know if I will ever declutter that box, I might, but for now. I have a 100 square meter house to declutter and only a 31 square centimeter of it that I am not touching.
The Weekend’s Mini Missions
Saturday – Clear the clutter from your kitchen workspace and keep it that way. Cooking is a big enough job without having to clear away before you can get started.
Sunday – Sunday is reserved for contemplating one particular item, of your choice, that is proving difficult for you to declutter. Whether that be for sentimental reasons, practical reasons, because the task is laborious or simply unpleasant, or because the items removal requires the cooperation of another person. That last category may mean that the item belongs to someone else who has to give their approval, it could also mean there is a joint decision to be made or it could mean that the task of removing it requires assistance from someone else. There is no need to act on this contemplation immediately, it is more about formulating a plan to act upon or simply making a decision one way or another.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast