Awhile ago I mentioned that Alan and I were doing a bit of decluttering. We got rid of a lot of stuff. An embarrassing amount, actually, for two people who truly believe that we never go shopping. How does it find its way in here then?
That’s a question for another day. Today I want to tell you what I’ve noticed since the big clean-out.
I feel like I’m on vacation, people!
This despite the fact that summer is our busiest time. And the bakery is undergoing an expansion/renovation. And
weeding gardening season is upon us (I’ve even taken over the mowing part).
Despite all of that, I feel like I have acres of time and so much more room in my head for thoughts and dreams and writing ideas.
And it makes me wonder if vacations are so wonderful because of all the things I think make them wonderful – the lack of schedule, the laziness, the absence of bosses. Or are they wonderful because we’re away from our crap?
Think about it. When Alan and I travel, especially if we go by plane or train, we take one carry-on bag each. This means we bring a few, versatile clothes, a minimum of cosmetics, not a lot of electronics. And then we have a ball, not missing any of the stuff that didn’t fit in our luggage and not feeling compelled to buy gifts for everyone we know because it won’t fit anyway.
Through the years, we’ve taken lessons from these trips. My cosmetic collection at home is really not much bigger than it is on vacation. My wardrobe is getting smaller all the time. Bit by bit, we’re paring down and realizing that not only do we not need all this crap, we, in fact, need to not have this crap in our lives at all.
We won’t be taking a vacation this year. The bakery renovation is sucking up all the room in the budget.
But that’s fine. Because we both feel like we don’t need one. There’s enough space in our lives now that we can rest.
It makes me wonder. Modern life is very stressful. There are people who study these things and they all say that we are more stressed out now than we’ve been at any other time in our history. OK, maybe not when bombs were dropping or famine was afoot, but factoring those out, we’re a pretty stressed-out bunch.
And I’ve read a lot about how it’s caused by over-work or constant online connection. Bad food and too many commitments.
Is it possible that too much stuff is a factor as well?
Houses have gotten bigger over the last generation or two. And we’re not sitting in empty rooms, enjoying the view. We’re filling them with stuff. Likely we’re filling them with more stuff per square foot than those smaller houses were expected to hold. There just weren’t the plethora of closet/kitchen/bathroom organizers available back then. You had shelves or hooks or closets and that was about it. Now…
And when that gets to be too much, you can always rent storage space. For stuff you don’t actually have a use for, but that still weighs you down.
I don’t know about you, but I feel exhausted just thinking about it.
But once I’ve cleared it from my life, once I have passed it along to where it stands some chance of being useful again, a lightness creeps in. I feel rested. Strengthened. Happy. All the things I hope a vacation will leave me feeling.
So the next time you have that “I need a vacation!!!!” feeling, instead of searching for great destinations, you might want to try clearing out your junk drawer instead. And then move through the rest of your crap.
You might find that taking a vacation from your crap is all the vacation you really need, one that’ll last far longer than the two weeks a year most people get.
And if it’s not, at least you’ll have a lovely, tidy house to come home to.
Amen! My husband and I lived in a one bedroom apartment for several months during the process of moving. All our crap was in storage and we felt SO free! We now have all the stuff back that we thought we needed and it is such a weight hanging over us. We’re desperately trying to pare down and minimize, although the process is taking way longer than we expected. As you said , it’s amazing how much two people can accumulate! Any tips for making the process easier/ smoother/ quicker?
I enjoy reading your blog, keep up the good writing!
Thanks so much, Mel!
Now that you know you can live without the stuff that was in storage, would it be possible to pack it back up and send it on its way?
Whenever I’m doing a big declutter, I try to set aside a bit of time at the end of the session to tidy up, get any boxes of stuff out of traffic zones and have a quiet cup of tea while high-fiving myself for all my hard work.
Hope this helps!