We spent the day cleaning our barn out yesterday. It felt so good to get things moved out of our space that we no longer have use for. It is always an interesting balance to strike between ‘making no waste’ and becoming hoarders! We have taken the stance that if we have a project in mind right now for an object, then it can stay, otherwise, it is better served somewhere else…anywhere but in landfill! I now have a shrinking pile of things on my front lawn for free, that people can pick up to use! It feels so good to know that the items will be used. Having things stored in my barn is wasteful.
I keep returning to this idea of decluttering in my life. I am constantly searching for ways to simplify. Living with less stuff seems to speak to me. Perhaps it is because it offers the opportunity to strip away something of the consumerist culture that is ever present, despite efforts to quell its influence on our family. Moving though my days, it is amazing how often I come in contact with consumer ideologies. We don’t have television and very rarely listen to the radio. We don’t read newspapers or subscribe to any magazines. This reduction of media flow cuts out most advertising. We still have two bundles of flyers appear in our driveway every week.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was really interested in price matching and couponing to reduce our family’s grocery bills, making the appearance of the flyers at least useful. I found that I began buying food that I don’t normally purchase to ‘get a deal’ and began to question just what type of ‘deal’ I was in fact getting! Now when the flyers come in, sometimes I glance through a few (the stores that sell organic products), and the load of them ends up filling our recycling bucket. I am almost ready to toss the lot without even looking at them, but when organic food is on sale, I will still sometimes stock up. The truth is that the food that goes on sale is rarely whole food, and when it is, it is generally not organic. As we move away from shopping in a grocery store, the time I use every week to shop the flyers would be put to better use preserving food I’m buying in bulk from local growers.
It is this cyclical thinking that keeps me spiraling. I’m working my way toward detaching fully from mainstream life, but I’m just not ready for a full break away yet. What is feeling more productive is to keep pushing towards it. Leaning into our edges wherever we can in order to make some progress. When climbing a mountain, any amount of progress is progress. And so, I’m always on about clearing out our spaces. I crave minimalism. A life where what we’re living with is only what we’re currently using. It is difficult to let go of some things. Things that have bits of my identity tied up in them. As I consider tackling my studio, with the bin of fabric that has sad untouched for years, the pastels, charcoals, and paints that speak the word ‘should’ instead of ‘inspiration.’ So for me, clearing of things is a way of clearing my energy. Clearing my assumptions. Clearing my holding patterns. And so, I keep pushing against it, leaning into it, as uncomfortable as it is, because one day I will be able to release my grip and find the freedom I’m searching for. My hope is that one day I will find I have declutteedr my inner landscape too.
I’ve read every decluttering book I’ve been able to get my hands on, and these are by far my two favourite resources: