Several years ago, I read a good book about decluttering. I can’t remember the name or author as I recycled it in the name of decluttering. But it made a lot of sense to me, even getting me into some good routines for a while. I remember separating stuff into (1) Trash (2) Give Away / Donate (3) File / Keep. For a time, everything was put away, or on a path to where it needed to go.
I am a bit of a pack rat – certainly not a candidate for the TV reality show Hoarders, but I am sentimental. I have a hard time parting with things, especially those linked to a memory. I have drawers filled with concert ticket stubs, old Christmas cards, lyrics written on napkins, etc. Here is an example:
Here we have a broken watch, a tiny bag of buttons, a glue stick, a couple of dried-out calligraphy pens, an old cough drop, some twisted earbuds, a credit card that expired in 1992, a commemorative 9/11 firefighter stamp, a newspaper clipping from one of my sister Melissa’s performances, and Bob-O-Magic’s business card. Bob used to be the open mic host at The Hotel Utah, many moons ago. If I ever need to get a hold of him, I’m sure I can, either through Facebook, LinkedIn, or through one of our many mutual friends – not by digging through drawers searching for a business card containing obsolete information that I’m not going to be able to locate when I need it anyway. Even a sentimental person doesn’t need to keep something like that (although it does remind me of some fun nights at the Utah …… hmm, maybe I’ll hold on to it for some kind of music collage).
One of the things I remembered from the decluttering book was that if something is sentimental, bringing up nice or poignant feelings when you come across it, it might be worth holding on to. But if it’s crumpled up in a drawer next to a dusty old cough drop, a couple of paper clips and some old toothpicks, its meaning is not being honored. It should be kept in a special book or folder with similar items, or else be tossed.
I disposed of that decluttering book, thinking I had absorbed everything in it. I had updated my filing systems, put together some scrapbooks, added to my photos albums etc. Not surprisingly, a lot of old habits have returned and I have new clutter to deal with.
Recently, I learned of a book called Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. I liked this idea as I had once applied some Feng Shui principles to my surroundings with the help of my friend Kari. Feng shui is a Chinese system of arranging things in your environment to support a healthy flow of energy. I had forgotten most of the principles I had learned. (What I did remember was to never leave your bathroom door open, nor leave your purse on the floor, otherwise your wealth – current or future – will go right down the drain).
Karen Kingston’s book is starting to get me back on track, and I have recently purged a lot of items. The book also talks about the Feng Shui bagua, a grid that identifies eight areas of one’s living space and how they correlate to specific parts of one’s life. I applied this grid to my home, and found that my dining area is the “Knowledge, Wisdom, Self-Improvement” gua. This revelation delighted me, as it’s from my dining room table that I especially enjoy looking out of the windows on to the bay writing, drawing and collaging. Since I have been in a very creative place lately, I wanted to make sure to get the energy flowing properly in this room. I needed it not only decluttered, but also very clean. Apparently, bad energy accumulates around dirt, so I had to make sure the surfaces and floors were spotless. I admit, it’s not too often that I give the place a really deep cleaning. Over time, it’s even possible to believe that dirt and grime are actually shabby chic stains.
I’m a little embarassed by this now, but I didn’t realize that the squares on the left were dirty until I applied a little elbow grease. Elbow grease and some Holy Cow cleaner! My friend Christine turned me on to Holy Cow. As you can see, it works great. My husband even used it on the floor mats of the car, and that worked well, too. Holy Cow also gets points for being non-toxic and cruelty free. No need to wear a mask and lock your pet in the bedroom while using this stuff.
I like to go into Spring with organized, clean surroundings. If cleanliness is really next to Godliness, and if I arrange things so that energy flows freely, perhaps God’s spirit will flow through me in a way that continues to be creative and productive.