Joy of Less post. Seems as though many of us are very challenged by the possibility of less stuff ... and actually being glad for the stuff we choose to keep. I received several emails asking me to keep exploring this topic with you all.
It is rather fascinating to find out how other real-life people tackle this dilemma. I feel the same.
I'm in love with the idea that empty space, empty shelves, empty cupboards and even empty bins is a good thing! This allows breathing room for that which we truly want. When stuff is "stuffed in" it's not doing anyone or anything any good.
Additionally, another one of the key principles I have been using on my purging "benders" is the whole useful, meaningful, beautiful tactic. It helps me do less waffling and more decision making. Here's my take on it:
Useful: Yes, I know it can be used and someone on this planet uses it regularly. But do you? Do you actually and regularly use the melon-baller, the 72 flower vases, or comprehensive set of ratty "painting clothes?" Or how about towels and blankets, socket-wrenches and aprons, dvd's and puzzles? If you truly use every item, great. Keep it. But if each item doesn't make your life consistently easier and more joyful than move it all along. The melon will come out with a regular ol' spoon.
Meaningful: Sometimes stuff isn't that valuable or useful, it's just meaningful. This area is a tricky wicket, because it's quite subjective. If the item in question was destroyed in a fire would you actually be sad about it? Is it a family christening gown that may be yellowed or a bit shabby but lovingly represents the generations of your family tree? Or is it an outfit that nobody really knows the story to and doesn't really care about but it's kinda old and somehow you inherited it. Are you keeping it just because you feel like you should? Is there guilt involved? As said in the book, "You won't hurt your stuff's feelings if you get rid of it."
Beautiful: Again, subjective, but valid. There are some pieces in my home that speak to me on a soul-level. The beauty of it registers with me deeply. Might be a book, or a plant, a set of curtains, or a travel tschotske. There isn't inherent value in the object itself, nor is there generations of family history. It simply speaks to me and a glimpse of it brings a smile to my face.
If an item in question does not fit into one of these categories I'm ready to move it along. And ... and this is a big one ... if you have multiples of an item worth keeping do you need all of them? Would keeping some be better than keeping all?
So tell me. Does this help? Tell me how this works for you. I'm interested!
(By the way, that Reisenthel basket in the above pic is sheer awesomeness. I've had it for over 5 years and literally use it daily. Library books, farmer's market, swimming lessons, picnics, you name it. The trick? Keep it empty so it's ready to use!)