Monday, November 11, 2013
Simple and Tidy
I feel so grateful that I am now a homeowner, literally every day I feel that. On a stormy night when I can hear the rain on the roof, I say thank you for our house. When I walk in the door after work, I say thank you for our house. In New Zealand at least anyway, I know that so many are not able to purchase a home, pay it off and make it their own, so I know how truly lucky I am.
Yes, I work hard and try to spend my money wisely, but I also had a good start with loving parents, a stable home life and a wonderful childhood. Other people haven’t been so lucky.
Part of having gratitude for where I live and what surrounds me is to have airy, open rooms with just the right amount of stuff in them. I know straight away the areas that I don’t like, even when I am out of the house. It’s amazing how much power clutter has on you, when something can actually bother you even though you cannot see it or are not even physically near it.
Each night this week, I have been gathering bits and pieces I want to donate, and putting them on the guest bed (lucky it’s Queen-size). Once or twice a month I do a drop-off to a local charity shop.
I have also been using things up, such as body products and cosmetics. Little amounts left of body lotions I have mixed up into one pump container and now use this every day. I bore of scents quickly so it’s nice to have a ‘new’ one.
I also gathered up three favourite lipsticks that are now worn down flat and scraped them into a cleaned out Bobbi Brown sample pot (5ml or 7ml size, something like that). I then mixed in a liberal amount of Burts Bees lip balm (minty!) and stirred it all together in the pot with a clean skinny wooden stick (the type you get in manicure sets).
I now have a new sheer lipstick which I put on with a lip brush each morning, plus I got to throw out three lipstick tubes without feeling like I wasted anything.
Inspired by Patricia Volk’s description of her mother Audrey in the memoir ‘Shocked’, I pick up tiny bits off the carpet, rather than leave them there to bother me until I vacuum. Audrey would apparently ‘march a sesame seed off the floor to the rubbish bin’ and say to her daughter ‘it’s good exercise, bend from the waist’. I think of that now when I see a piece of cat fluff or a black speck or a tiny leaf. Plus, the carpet looks nicer between vacuum cleanings.
My sister is decluttering and organizing for a cleaned out, satisfying and serene life too. We have both been reading minimalist websites to fuel the desire to live with just enough. It’s an ongoing ‘first world problem’ (even though I can’t stand that saying!) that we have to be on constant vigilance against the ever-present clutter building up. And I’m not even a big shopper.
I know my message is a bit jumbled in this post – part gratefulness, part decluttering, but really when I think about it, the two go hand in hand. It is those that respect their possessions (and therefore are grateful for them) that move along items they are not using so that others may gain benefit from them.