Clearing Out the Mental Clutter

June 27, 2011 § 4 Comments

A year ago today was one of the worst days of my life, following the worst week of my life. As a nod to not tempting or encouraging fate though, I’ll expand to include it in the top five worst days of my life.


Image by spengy via Flickr

To commemorate this auspicious occasion, I did a whole lot of relaxing over the weekend and planned on spending today indulgently, engaged in pampering activities and a spot of retail therapy (which according to a spate of recent articles actually is therapeutic- go figure).

Instead I woke this morning with a jolt and an undefined pit in my stomach at the uncivilized hour of 4:08 a.m. I couldn’t swear to it, but if I were a betting woman I’d say that was the exact time that I awoke with a similar sense of dread exactly 365 days ago.

I won’t expand on the drama, though I might fill you in on the details at some point. After tossing and turning followed by a moment of perfect clarity and melancholy memories, I wondered when that feeling would fade. While I’m sure this day will always be meaningful, I doubt that I’ll be as emotional next year at this time. What I’d like to do without most though, is the punch in the gut via memory.

Which leads me to my next thought.

A lot of the physical clutter that I struggle with started insinuating itself into my life last year at this time, when I was too distracted and physically unable to clear it away. It became a vicious cycle and ongoing annoyance and as the physical aspects became overwhelming, the mental clutter became more burdensome.

My point being, when life throws too much in your direction throw some of it out. It will give you a sense of control even during a time when you feel as though you’ve lost all control.

My other point being, memories serve a purpose, reminding us of both good or horrendous, but when bad memories take over the present, it’s high time to clear them away and make room for new, good memories to form. I remember reading a study which suggested that for major occasions a positive life experience anything from a concert to a vacation, was a better investment than the physical – say a new necklace. The premise being, that you could enjoy the experience more in your memories as they changed and you recounted or remembered fun elements of that particular experience.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready to clear out the bad memories and bring on the fun!

The Minimalist Blogger+ A Sharpie

June 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s shiny. It’s new. It’s a blog about paring down my possessions and yet I have to fight the urge to populate it with too many posts discussing my too many things. So I shall resist.

Sharpie Disposable Twin Tip Marker

Image via Wikipedia

The internet and blogosphere is overly crowded with too many incomplete thoughts, ideas and subcultures. While we all want to have our say, too many of us tend to express this in a disorganized if not completely chaotic or incoherent manner. For that reason, I’m going to try to post twice weekly only, or when I have a breakthrough or setback that’s interesting enough to warrant a post. Then again, I tend to get swamped with last minute projects, so you might find me disappearing for weeks or months at a time as well.

Which leads me to my next thought on a pared down life- balance. Neither too crowded in, nor too exposed, but a healthy mix of memories, inspiration and beauty.

Last night’s efforts included sifting through old paperwork. Tip for the day- if there is only a minimal amount of crucial information, consider blacking out the sensitive bits with a Sharpie before recycling. You’ll save time and energy on shredding.

The First Setback

June 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

My sister likes to use an old Yiddish saying that means something to the effect of- the first fight is the best fight. In other words, you show the other person what you’re made of-  if it means that you don’t back down or are willing to compromise, it’s that first real fight that sets the stage for future discord.  Only it’s a lot harder to fight your own nature or inclinations.

Boxing Gloves

Image via Wikipedia

After a public announcement of the need to divest myself of all of the extras, I realize that it isn’t a one time clean up I’m after, but rather a chipping away of a lifetime’s worth of bad habits. Whether brought on by a love of beauty or the American shopping ideal, I’ve become slightly overwhelmed by the things that surround me on a daily basis. And now that I want to pare it all down, I have to decide where to begin. Is is the kitchen, the room I’ve affectionately nicknamed ‘the prize closet?’ or is it the half of my bedroom that doubles as a somewhat dusty gym  (complete with a six foot tall Bowflex)? Do I rework my space to suit my aesthetic, or strip it all down and start from scratch? Your guess is as good as mine.

If I had my druthers, I’d magically migrate to a pristine Eichler house with enough space so that my thoughts don’t crowd in on me. Realistically though, until I’m ready to follow that dream, I need to tailor my living space as well as my head space.

So round one Rachel-0 Bad Habits-1

(and here’s what I dream about)

Clutter Free, Me?

June 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

If you know me, you know that Modernism and all that it represents is my ideal. Sleek wide open spaces with lots of room to breathe and not too many tchotchkes.

Mid Century Modern Cabin

Image by dreaming_of_rivers via Flickr

If you really know me, you’d know that I collect paintings, knickknacks and other charming collectables and ephemera from my work and travels. Also makeup. Also shoes. Also earrings. And the list goes on. I also live in New York, where space doesn’t mean much and location is everything. Only it’s getting harder for me to locate everything in all of the clutter. Okay, not really, but my Zen ideal has me feeling like I’m a hoarder lite.

So here’s the plan. I want to de-clutter both my space and my mind. I want to divest myself of at least 50% of my belongings and not regret any of it. I want not to worry about old bills, old love letters or old jackets that may or may not ever come back in style. I want to own things that I love and not feel like my belongings own me.

Or at least that’s the plan.

Where Am I?

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