July 16th, 2011

Travel light through life

Do you travel light through life?

Having travelled a lot on business, I have gotten extremely efficient and matter of fact about packing. I can be packed-up and out the door for a two day trip in less than 10 minutes. I like to travel light. This allows me to bring my bag into the cabin. No waiting at the luggage belt after arrival for me. No lost luggage either. Over the years, I have of course, learned what the essentials are that I must bring to make my trip perfect.

Our life is a journey, too. A wonderful trip during which we collect many things, physical and mental ones. Some of them are useful and enhance our experience. Others weigh us down and don’t add a thing. Often our collections are a jumble of items that don’t give us any pleasure. They neither match each other nor our lifestyle nor who we want to be. We need to clean up to make our life lighter and create space for the things we want to attract. One way of doing this is to pare down our surroundings.

This week, I would like you to start clearing out one room in your home and with it your mind and life. If you feel like it, do some reading this weekend on decluttering. There is some great information available online about the pleasures of minimalism and also about the practical aspects of decluttering. This will help to get you into the mood and to show you how it is done.

Decide on the room you want to begin working on this week. Then divide that room into subsections. Say you decided on your kitchen. Your kitchen has, for example, twelve drawers, ten shelves, three countertops and three fridge compartments. These are each one subsection. Your plan will be to do one of those each day. This should be entirely possible, even if you work and are busy. Start by getting one small and one large container. The small one could be a storage box or a shoe carton. For the large container I like using a moving carton. This is all the preparation you need.

Day one, subsection one

Assume you chose one of your kitchen drawers as the first subsection that you would like to begin with. Take the drawer out of the cupboard and empty it’s content into the smaller of the two boxes. Clean the drawer thoroughly. Then select from the box only those items you absolutely must have. We are not talking about which items are too good to be thrown away, which items were presents from your mother in law or any other reasoning why you should keep any item. My questions to you is simply: Which items do you absolutely NEED and love? Put those back into the drawer. The remainder goes into the big box.

If one of the items you need is broken or you don’t love it, put it on a list of things to replace. As soon, as you have obtained your replacement item, put the one you no longer need into the big box.

Rest of the week

Continue for the rest of the week by decluttering at least six more subsections. Perhaps you can find the time to do even more. At the end of the week you should have some clean space filled only with items you love and need. Just looking at these areas should make you smile. They should give a you a sense of accomplishment and also a feeling of serenity when you look at them.

At the end of the week close up the big box with all the items you sorted out and give it away or take it to the fleamarket yourself. Giving away is actually quite easy: I just advertise my fleamarket boxes in ebay ads. Normally they are spoken for n a couple of hours. If you love going to fleamarkets yourself, you may of course do that too. but please make sure you bring neither the contents of your boxes nor new stuff home.

Continue if you can

At the outset this has been planned as an exercise for only one week. But, if this initial taste of decluttering felt great for you, maybe you’d like to continue. Perhaps you could see yourself decluttering for another week. And when you have completed that week, maybe you will find it in you to keep going for yet another week. Maybe you could even make yourself a full year decluttering calendar. It would be great, if you could just keep going, until your whole life has been decluttered.

I find it gets addictive. I love the empty drawers and shelves with their promise to pull great new things into my life. I also love placing my ads for flea market boxes to be given away. The people who come to pick them up often have such interesting stories to tell. And I just love that those items forgotten by me in the back of some drawers might make other people happy and also reduce the burden on our resources as people will reuse instead of buying new stuff..

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