Tuesday, February 21, 2012

paring down: a meaningful ritual

image found here

I have come to accept that I will likely always be in the process of paring down. It is a way of life for me. I dislike clutter, but I don't equate a 'lived in' state with clutter. Although it would not be evident upon visiting my home, I prefer tables, counters & desk surfaces to be spare. All of that stuff that interferes with function clutters my head, clouds my thinking and drives me nuts.

Periodically, I push for the nightly 5-minute sweep to make sure we all (the kids and I really) put our things where they belong and, thus, help keep our systems working. I seriously fall down in enforcing these sweeps.

My girls share a small room. They have sufficient storage for their clothing - the items they actually use - but they cram their drawers full to that point where simply opening or closing a drawer is difficult. Forget about finding a specific article of clothing. This is what they know. It's what they've always done. Empty space seems disquieting to them. My fault... I know.

The kids are home for mid-winter break this week. I snuck away mid-day to work on my own closet & drawers and add to the donation bag. I have avoided dealing with shoes for too long. I have a special fondness for footwear. I came up with one pair for donation and 4 to list on Ebay. Three pairs of these shoes and boots are particularly difficult to part with. I often tell the kids that if they have toys and clothing they are not using, someone else might put these items to good use. Or, they can take those in nice condition to our favorite consignment shop for trade in.

For me, paring down feels like a shedding of weight, a greater sense of freedom. I think the rest of my family experiences this as well but to a much lesser degree. Ultimately, this process of repeatedly evaluating which things we need is probably a fairly healthful exercise. Many of us strive to be more mindful of what matters and live our lives with intention. My recommendation: unload as often as you like.

These are one of my hard-to-part-with pairs of shoes. They're twenty year old saddle shoes that haven't been worn for the past fifteen. I put them in the shop instead of on Ebay as they fall into the category of vintage shoes, boots & objects I list on occasion just for fun. And they would pair nicely with a ruffle skirt!

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