My Journey To Eliminating Physical Clutter From My Home
"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace." I Corinthians 14:33
It has taken my husband and I three decades to do something about the clutter in our home. How I wished we had started earlier. Apparently it was not meant to be.
Setbacks, such as my husband unexpectedly losing his job in 1999, prevented us from pursuing any kind of remodeling. During the time he lost his job we had taken out a small loan, and we were in the process of redoing our kitchen. Old brown vinyl had been replaced with white ceramic tile. Our kitchen countertops were now an attractive beige formica. New cream colored cupboards eliminated the former old dark brown doors, addling light to a previously dismal room.
As I stood in our new kitchen I loved the clarity of the empty countertops. I decided at that moment to keep them that way. I wanted to experiment and see if we really needed "stuff" taking up space on our counters.
It worked. Twelve years later the counters are still bare, with the exception of my heavy duty mixer in the far corner. Our toaster is accessible on a top shelf of the lower cupboard which can be easily retrieved and placed on the counter and plugged in.
The result? Every morning I awaken to clarity in our kitchen. It's a wonderful way to start the day.
After the kitchen was done, we had to wait a long time to do any other repairs so we could regain what was lost when my husband's job was taken away.
Starting in 2008, we gradually remodeled our den, living room, bathroom and bedroom. All carpeting has been replaced with laminated wood floors - due to the hair shedding problem generated by four spoiled cats.
During these makeovers I developed a habit of asking myself three questions each time I looked at an object contributing to what I refer to as unnecessary clutter:
1) Do I need this?
2) Is my life without it sufficient?
3) What will my family do with this when I die?
If the answers are, "No, I don't need this," "Yes my life without it is sufficient," and "My family will throw this away when I die," I either pass it on to a friend or family member, give it to the Salvation Army, or throw it away. End of story!
We had our living room done over a few weeks ago. We had the carpet ripped out, gave our couch to my close friend's daughter and had a light brown laminated floor installed. The workers also built me a small closet to create an area for the ironing board, vacuum cleaner and iron. Since we only use the living room once a year, at Christmas, we converted the extra space into a dining room. We purchased a dining room table and ten chairs. This will prevent the inconvenient crowding we have always had to deal with each year in our small kitchen alcove. The transformation is incredible.
With each room we have done over I have eliminated putting back what was originally there. For example, when we re-did our bedroom I put my glass vanity table out to the curb, and I prayed someone would come along and give it a new home. I did the same thing with my grandfather's dresser. Within minutes both were picked up by another family.
Believe it or not it was sad saying "good-bye" to those material things I have held on to for years. Therefore, I take a picture, and I place it in a Memory album I am creating.
I have happily discovered that eliminating physical clutter has addicted me to clarity. I can focus and concentrate so much better when I enter a room void of confusion.
I am constantly reminded of what my sister said to me: "Even if a person has little or no money, he/she should have a clean house. A clean house is freedom, and it attracts energy."
The journey continues. I have a long way to go. We need to tackle the cellar and my writing room - two major projects. All this takes time, patience and money. In the meantime I can always get rid of the material things to prepare for the clarity ahead, and enjoy the journey along the way.
Blessings, Sparklea :)