- On February 20, 2014
- 1 Comments
I’m in serious purge mode.
I guess it’s just a predictable continuation of the path I’ve been traveling – trimming weight off my body, streamlining farm operations, and now, jettisoning useless stuff from the house on an epic scale.
We’ve lived in this little house for going on nine years now. Boggling to realize. And I keep saying I’m going to get our quantity of stuff down to an amount that fits here comfortably. That has not happened. No matter how often I pick at the piles, they’ve never really gone down, much less away. The clutter keeps my mind in a constant, low-grade, frustrating muddle. Projects pile up, sticky notes get lost in the shuffle, brilliant ideas evaporate for lack of an action plan… it’s just no way for a person–a mom, wife, entrepreneur– to live. I’m tired of being embarrassed about my house. I want my space back — both in my home and in my head.
Clearly, it’s time for the Scorched Earth approach.
The book “Unstuff Your Life,” by Andrew Mellon, has been very helpful for me, and I intend to listen to it again while I work. Andrew gives me the permission and the courage to just toss stuff that really isn’t adding value to my life, no matter how long it has been stuck here, or what emotional baggage it has picked up along the way. (“That lamp is NOT your grandmother. It is not even the memory of your grandmother. It is an ugly lamp that you never use. Let it go.”)
But my latest inspiration has come from a classic in the field of personal productivity, “Getting Things Done,” by David Allen. I’m usually the last one to the party — you may already be familiar with this work. Mr. Allen’s Getting Things Done system (it has its own acronym – GTD) takes a little different approach. I heard the money quote recently in an interview he gave: “Your mind is a great place to have ideas, not a great place to hold them.” He encourages you to get your thoughts and ideas down on paper, and out of your head, where they just occupy your psychic RAM, and slow down your whole mental computer. Once they’re on paper, they can be turned into action items that might actually become reality. That made a great deal of sense to me. Adding to the drag on my brain function, along with all the unrealized dreams and ideas, is all the physical stuff that has piled up (acting all Vital and Important) around my house.
The garbage has to go. I’ve been learning that, thanks to the internet age, I don’t really have to hang on to all the paper that has overfilled my filing cabinets and drawers. I can let go of literal reams of stuff that had brought my efficiency and creativity to a screeching halt. If all those boxes of paper weren’t so heavy, this would actually be FUN! This exercise in freeing myself is also a bit of, well, exercise. Nothing wrong with exertion for a good cause, I guess.
Another area of my life lining up in the crosshairs: I plan to liberate about 90% of the fiber that has stacked up on my back porch. Can you use some nice alpaca or sheep fiber? Most of it is very nice, but grassy or short skirtings or “seconds,” and would be perfect for rug yarn or doll stuffing. Personally, I surrender — I’m never going to get to that fiber and it shouldn’t go to waste. Please let me know if you can use some of it. I need it gone.
I have been a little slow answering emails and voice mails recently, and I apologize, but once I get the flotsam out of the house, and work on implementing David Allen’s organization system, I think you’ll see a drastic improvement in efficiency, productivity, creativity, and joie de vivre around the homestead. And that makes me crazy happy.
How do you stay on top of the stuff in your world? Got any good tips to share?