Archive for December 9th, 2008

Hoarding?

Posted on December 9, 2008. Filed under: Games, Health, HowTo, Spirituality |

I’ve got the paper thing pretty well handled now. My storage cubes didn’t quite work out as planned, but I read once in Real Simple magazine that there are very few, if any papers and documents which cannot be recreated these days. So, I’ve kept tax returns (seven years worth) financial statements (mainly to help me prepare those tax returns) my will, passport, deed to my house, and birth certificate. I used to have a huge file of “personal papers”. I’ve limited those to writings and drawings which are particularly meaningful. Then, there is a box which has items labeled “nostalgia”. It’s OK to keep this, and take it out and look at it every year (or five or ten).

my-desk

Where I’m still hoarding, though, is with “stuff” (other than papers). I have quite a few 3 1/2″ floppy disks. (I know, I know) They don’t have anything meaningful on them. I have even found several places I can recycle them, including one which will donate any recycling income to charities. I keep thinking I might “need” them though—who am I kidding? Oh, yeah. Me.

I have my fantasy office, and my real office. In my fantasy office, I have just the supplies I need, neatly arranged in a cabinet, on neatly labeled shelves. I have just enough bookcases, with books beautifully arranged by category. I have my lovely lounge chair, and footrest, and reading lamp, and of course this beastly (said with affection) computer.

My “real” office has books piled on the floor. CDs piled in the bookcase (old games and business software I don’t use now). There are shopping bags, craft materials, notebooks and binders I will never…{wait; wait, they might come in handy}…use, in the cabinet. I have old scrapbooks and photo albums. I have sheet music I don’t even like! I have two soft-sided briefcases with holes in them, along with an assortment of other bags and cases. I have stationery I will not use, because, quite honestly, I rarely send personal correspondence any more; I almost always use email.

And then there’s my closet. I admit it, I hoard clothes! I don’t buy new ones very often because I don’t like to go shopping, but I hold onto the old ones way too long; particularly if I especially like the color. I’m not all that good at picking out colors that look good on me and that I also enjoy looking at. So, when one of these wondrous perfect-color garments wears out, I’m very reluctant to let it go. If the shirt has a hole in it, I can wear it to paint! or do gardening! If it’s even more decrepit, I can turn it into a rag! (You should see my rag bag—I could never do enough housecleaning to use them all!) I have shoes I might wear someday. I have shoes I should be embarrassed to wear any day.

One of the things that helped me out with all the papers I used to have was the knowledge they could be recycled. I am lucky enough to have curbside recycling in my neighborhood, and I’ve contributed greatly to their efforts. Those clothes I am willing to let go of, as well as some items that could actually be used by someone go to charity thrift shops, so that’s all right. It’s those other items; those thoroughly worn out items I have trouble with. They will go into a landfill! Maybe I can squeeze some more use out of them, somehow!

Of course, they are taking up space in my house, now. Is that better than in a landfill? Well, it’s worse for my daily life and peace of mind. And I come, now, finally, to the point of my post. There is a spiritual principal (not religious, but spiritual) which states that physical clutter promotes mental clutter. There’s another principal that states that letting go of items (or thoughts) which no longer serve one makes space for the new to come in.

Also, and what I find intriguing in our consumer-driven society, is that often, as far as personal prosperity and quality of life is concerned, less is more. It’s better to have a nearly-empty room, attractively decorated in a way that makes one feel calm and peaceful, than a room crammed with expensive items which clutter our minds and hearts. Contrary to common sense or popular wisdom, in times of economic stress, it’s actually better, emotionally and physically to get rid of all those extra possessions which really posses us. Living more simply can free our space so we can concentrate on what really matters in our lives. I’m not saying we should live starkly, like monks (if we’re not in fact monks). For those possessions we do want to keep, because they enhance the quality of our lives, we should buy the best quality we can afford. Making lists of the things we actually use most often, or look at and love, can tell us what’s important.

notebook

So, as I go forward in this holiday time, and also in a time of economic uncertainty (but aren’t they all?) it feels very appropriate to be letting go of more and more, benefiting others and making way for the new.

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