If you’ve read any of my blogs or tips on organising your photos, digital content and projects, tagging, categorising, and labelling, you might be under the (mistaken) impression that my house is in similarly good shape, with “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Alternatively, you might (more accurately) recognise that a person who spends all that time on her computer files, doesn’t exactly prioritise housework!
Most of the time this doesn’t bother me too much, and fortunately the people I live with are even more oblivious to the mess than I am. Every now and then I waste half a day trying to find something that hasn’t been put in the right place, and then I determine that I am going to get organised if it kills me! Sadly the burst of enthusiasm that follows never lasts very long at all. I have had some very successful clutter “purges” and managed to give away, sell or donate quite a lot of “stuff”. But somehow it still keeps accumulating!
Until now. There are two huge changes in my life that together are both forcing me and enabling me to confront the mess head on. Firstly, I have resigned from my paid employment. I realised that apart from 6 months off following the birth of each of my children, I have been studying or working continuously since 1961! I have never experienced the freedom that an empty calendar provides, and I can finally contemplate spending time organising and decluttering. I can start a project and have a reasonable expectation of finishing it before the business of life crowds in.
Second, and more imperative, is our impending move to Doha. As we will be overseas for at least 18 months, we plan to rent our house while we are away. Decluttering is no longer just desirable, it is essential. I have to make a decision about every single item in my house. There’s no putting it in a pile or a box or a drawer to think about later, today is the day. We don’t know exactly when we are leaving just yet, but we expect it will be within the next 2-3 months. When they finally settle on some dates we may not have very much notice at all, so we really need to be ready to leave at short notice.
Having lived in this house for some 23 years, there’s no shortage of “stuff”. As I said, I have to make a decision about every item in every room.
Will we take this with us?
Will we store this for however long we are away? Is it worth the cost of long term storage? Will I still need this when I get back?
Will we give this away, throw it away or try to sell it?
If I can manage without this “stuff” while I’m away, will I need it when I get back?
Will I ever need this item again? How sorry will I be if I dispose of it?
Which are the items I absolutely can’t manage without?
How far can I go in the pursuit of minimalism?
Although I love old things, and real (paper) books and fine china, Im also pretty excited about how easy and practical it is to transport things in digital format. I can fit my entire music collection on an iPod. I can put hundreds of books on my Kindle. And most importantly I can fit all my photos and photo books on an external hard drive. No matter what else I have to manage without, I get to take all my digital scrapbooking supplies with me! There’s no minimalism when it comes to digital content! (Have you seen the new kits from CottageArts, Kaisercraft & Little Feet Digital Designs?? So many to choose from! Who am I kidding? I don’t want to choose – I want it all!)
By the time I write my next blog, I hope I will have answered all these questions! Meanwhile, if you have any advice for me, I’m all ears.