For Day 10, Mme. Ferris suggests that I work to “simplify my life for abundance.” This is not in the least a bad idea. Several years back, I worked steadily to “declutter” our house and I would estimate that I gave away well over a literal ton of stuff – books, clothes, bits of furniture, household goods, and so on. As Mme. Ferris points out, decluttering is not a one-time task – there is always going to be a flow of things coming into your space, so there needs to always be a corresponding flow going out of your space.
She lists some very down-to-earth, practical tips in Day 10, including using an “outbox” as a sort of cooling off space. In other words, clear out a bookcase, a drawer, a shelf, etc. and put the “maybe I won’t keep these” items in an outbox, which can be a literal box or a bag or some other container. If you don’t suddenly realize that you need something that you’ve placed there within a week or two, scoop up the box and take it away.
She also reminds us that:
- The object isn’t the person. Even if it’s a gift or memento of a treasured person, you’ll still have the memories of that person. You don’t need to hold onto the lamp, the Victorian settee, or whatever the object may be. It’s okay to pass it along to someone else.
- It’s perfectly all right to donate something instead of trying to sell it. Some would argue that donating things generates better karma anyway. If you want to go to the trouble of selling the objects, that’s fine, but you don’t have to.
- Less really is more. Keep fewer things, but have the things you keep be treasures instead of stockpiles. I’ve seen this in my own life, so I can testify to the truth here. You really don’t need everything you have and if you say, “But I might need it some day” and you haven’t used it in more than a year, no. No, you don’t.
Decluttering is hard for me, yet I know how much better I feel once I’ve cleared out a space. I think the trick is to do it slowly and carefully. Don’t expect to clear out an entire room in a day; that’s just not going to happen. She suggests making a list of five areas that are cluttered and that cause you stress, then pick one of them to tackle. And that one can be a single drawer or shelf. Start small. Today, for instance, I took on a single closet shelf. I moved a few things around, started my “outbox,” and was amazed at how much I just didn’t need – and was willing to let go.
If you want some more guidance on this, there are many, many places online to work with. You might find this “declutter challenge” to be a good place to start. This site also serves as a good guide, and for years, I’ve sung the praises of FlyLady’s 15-minute declutter tactics.
So pick a spot and set a timer for 15 minutes – you’ll be amazed at what you can do!
Come back tomorrow for our next “practical inspiration” as we move through our 30 Chic Days!