Over the years, there’ve been many articles, books, and TV segments about de-cluttering your life. There are many synonyms, such as:
- trash the shit you don’t need (more a phrase than a synonym, but it still holds)
My personal favorite came to me a few months ago via an article in Good Housekeeping. (Ironically, I can’t find the magazine right now, because of too much clutter from having just moving halfway across the country. Once I find it, I’ll credit the author and post the article name.) The gist of the article was not to approach decluttering as any of the above words, but instead to curate. Your things are your own personal collection. Even more so if you have a dedicated collection of certain items. Like any good museum, you can’t possibly display everything you own all the time. Things accumulate over time and we don’t want to part with them for a variety of reasons. But no matter what the reason, there is only so much space. So we have to curate. Choose the best things (the author specifically chose things for beauty and/or usefulness) to display and pack up or get rid of the rest.
This helped me a lot when I was packing to move, and yet I look around at my new place (the basement in my sister’s house – I’m calling it my own little studio) and all I see is too much stuff. I’ve been wanting to reduce the amount of stuff I have for a while now (perhaps that’s one of the biggest differences between me and my ex-wife. She just wanted to grow her [and our] collection without, it seemed, regard for space) but only recently have I begun to actively curate.
While watching a new series I discovered on Netflix called Dance Academy, it occurred to me that not only was I actively working against many of my goals on my bucket list, but the fact that I was eating Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips while watching a ballet TV series from Australia proves I have fascinating ways of mentally and physically torturing myself. It also made me think about the physical and mental connection between clutter. (Did I mention I also rank very well in Avoidance of Certain Subjects? Yeah, a blog (or 12) is coming about the physical body being a metaphor for the mental body. It might even have something in there about how I should stop writing about getting fit and start doing some exercises.) Anyway, a quick Google search led me to this article, which discusses the link between mental and physical clutter.
My favorite part is this paragraph:
Sometimes it helps to externalize our internal landscape. And sometimes, dealing with our external landscapes can help us deal with our internal ones as well. Finding the proper place for every item, cleaning up clutter, organizing our spaces, helps us find some clarity in our lives. The act of cleaning up clutter challenges us to question where everything belongs, and perhaps in doing so, we can find the places for our thoughts and emotions.
It’s no secret that my “internal landscape” is a fucking landmine of pain, hope, loss, love, betrayal, new creativity, and confusion. Looking around at my “external landscape” is like seeing a physical representation of that. There are boxes still packed, dented from having things piled on top of them. Many things, like books and DVDs and some CDs, have been shelved at least, but aren’t in any kind of order. They look pretty, but they’re all disorganized. My essential clothing (bras, panties, night wear, comfy pants, tank tops) are fairly organized but the rest of my crazy amount of clothing is still packed in various bags and totes all over my room and in the closet. My burlesque persona has been neatly folded into a few large plastic bins for the time being as I take some time to uncover Genevieve.
So, the work has begun. I just have to keep it up. It’s time to continue towards mental and physical clarity.
Go for it, Genevieve!