Prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?
Lately, it feels like there are more ‘next steps’ in my life right than there are in this season’s “Dancing with the Stars” choreography. Do you ever feel that way?
Don’t get me wrong, though; I’m enjoying the dance of life right now. I’d much rather have things to learn and look forward to than feel stuck and stagnant. I have had times like that, too!
Today’s action was mundane, but much-needed. Today I tackled something that has been a huge inaction all year: organizing my clothes closet.
The hardest part about closet cleaning is not the dust it stirs up (there’s Zyrtec for that!) but the memories. Yes, I am a memory hoarder.
One way I hoard memories is by hanging onto clothing that reminds me of people I love, especially if they gave me that garment. (If there isn’t a patron saint of hand-me-downs then I’ll surely be nominated in the afterlife.)
The only way to keep all these memories from bogging me down is to move quickly. I have to treat the act of closet cleaning as if I were going for the fast break in basketball. The moment I sit down and start contemplating, I’ve lost.
So I crank peppy tunes, take frequent breaks and use a timer. Today I set the timer for 20 minutes. Each time it buzzed, I rewarded myself with 5 minutes of blog-hopping. I made a lot of progress using that little carrot on the end of a stick. I also discovered that:
I’m not the only one cleaning out their closets right now!
Melody over at Wayfarin’ Vagabond, talks about her struggle with paring down her belongings in a wonderful post titled,On relationship to stuff – after the latest visit to my storage unit.
As someone who is now storage-unit-free, I can tell you, it is so worth it! I’m not even talking about the money. Since 1987, I had things packed away for, “some day,” a some day that never came.
Meanwhile, I bounced all over the place, moving 16 times in the past 10 years (and who knows how many since 1987!) After my divorce, I let go of things little by little (sometimes big by big, actually) until – at last – everything I owned fit in 20+ boxes (as you can see in this photo.)
It felt good on so many levels to distill my belongings down to what would fit into a single room. Dealing with my physical stuff felt good on an ethereal level, too, somehow. It’s hard to explain. It was simultaneously tangible and symbolic.
Gwen Bell wrote a thought-provoking post simply titled 11 that, to me, sums up this feeling:
Our internal lives are heavier than our luggage.
Gwen also addresses the digital baggage we are rapidly accumulating at the end of her post, where she writes:
The data we carry – even the thousands of archived email messages – will inevitably get us. Those bits are the luggage we carry. What can we do now to plan for the next 5,000 days?
So, another action step of mine is to create a simple routine that quickly deletes or archives what I wish to carry with me into the future. I need to do this on a daily or weekly basis, so that it doesn’t become a huge chore – like cleaning out the closet was today.
What about you? How are you dealing with digital and analog clutter these days?