One night, my freshman year of college, I went to hear a Buddhist monk speak. Part of the talk was about the freeing quality of owning less. It made no sense--the less you have, the more you'll feel in control? Except that my life felt quite out of control at that point, so I was willing to give it the old college try.
I went back to my dorm room and dumped most of my possessions in the trash room down the hall. I removed every picture from my wall, gave away any book not necessary for my studies, and tossed out dozens of small items I had accumulated in the first six months of college.
I had a lot of regrets afterwards. I also did feel more in control in my life, less cluttered. There was thinking space.
I can't make myself get into one of these decluttering states--they mostly come to me when I'm very anxious, but when they come, I always ride out the impulse, using it to reorganize, pare back, give away anything unneeded. I accumulate so much stuff. Drawers of tiny play-doh samples and twelve pairs of scissors and used birthday candles. I have dishes we never use, broken measuring spoons, a can of mandarin oranges we will never eat. I have more books than a library. I literally have several thousand books, a large chunk of which could be donated and put to better use.
I have been decluttering for a few weeks now. In the process, I've also been redecorating. One of the strange things about this house is that there are no doors on the closets. Every closet opening is a strange size and we need to get new doors cut to fit the space, except we've never gotten around to it. It occurred to me that I could put up a curtain in place of a door and buy myself more time to work on that project.
So Lindsay and I headed to IKEA for furniture and decorative items. We were debating between two choices--a white curtain with a black pattern that would have been safe in my white and black kitchen or an orange curtain that would make me happy every time I looked at it. Even though my head was telling me "white curtain white curtain don't be a fool, Melissa, white curtain" my very loud heart simply said, "orange." I went with orange.
It is not perfect, nor does it look very grown-up, but as Josh said, "it is whimsical and therefore, it's you. And the orange is us. It makes me happy when I sit down to eat." It does make me very happy. We all just like to sit in there now and talk at the table.
On the theme of decluttering, we went to the river for tashlich, which is part of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. We stood at the river's edge and figuratively threw into the water all that we didn't wish to take with us into this upcoming year. A soul's decluttering. Gone is the jealousy, the self-doubt, the bitter feelings. I mean, until they bubble up again. You know, since clutter usually returns.
In addition to telling us what has happened in your life in the last month, if you could grab an uninterrupted day to declutter and reorganize one room of your house, which would it be? Until this week, it would have been my kitchen. Now it's my living room. What I would give to get rid of the huge pile of papers in the corner...
As always, it has been about a month since we met, bitched, cried, comforted, and caught up each other on our cycles and lives. Pull up a seat and I'll pour you a drink. Let everyone know what is happening in your life. The good, the bad, the ugly. My only request is that if a story catches your eye, you follow it back to the person's blog and start reading their posts. Give some love, give some support, or laugh with someone until your drink comes out of your nose.
I have a ton of assvice in my back pocket and as a virtual bartender, I will give it to you unless you specifically tell me that this is simply a vent and you do not want to receive anything more than a hug.
So if you have been a lurker for a while (or if this is your first open bar as someone who found this space through IComLeavWe), sit down and tell us about yourself. Remember to provide a link or a way for people to continue reading your story (or if you don't have a blog--gasp!--you can always leave an email address if you're looking for advice or support. If not, people can leave messages for that person here in the comments section too). If you're a regular at the bar, I'll get out your engraved martini glass while you make yourself comfortable. And anyone new, welcome. I'm glad you found this virtual bar.
For those who have no clue what I'm talking about when I say that the bar is open, click here to catch up and then jump into the conversation back on this current post.
So have an imaginary cocktail and tell us what is up with your life.