I used to have a copy of einstein's desk on my desk., with this quote " If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk? " The only problem with that was I could never see it or find it amist my papers to be graded, memos, extra copies and candy wrappers. I don't really think Einstein was promoting messy so much as trying to put it in perspective. Maybe relativity and the dual nature of light ranks a little bit higher than housekeeping. Jesus sided with Mary rather than Martha on this one too. The teacher next door always had a pretty desk. It was perfectly neat. I bet she never lost papers or couldn't find test keys or ran out of copies. Her room either smelled lemony fresh or like bath and body works when she had a candle burning. It always made me envious.

Lately I have been thinknig about how much "stuff" we all seem to accumulate. We have been doing a little rearranging at our house. I moved the guest bed into Owen's room and alot of his baby stuff out. While cleaning and looking for places to put stuff........I wondered what we would do when we have another baby ( hopefully we will work on that sometime this fall!). There will be no guest room closet to store maternity clothes, scrapbooking supplies, wrapping paper, wedding momentos and my fat clothes in. My attic already seems kind of full. The idea of a storage unit seems obsene to me. When I get more stuff than my house, well maybe I should get rid of some of it before I try to buy more space. Earlier in the week I tried to purge myself of at least 10% of my clothes. I started counting things like how many t-shirts, or jeans or flipflops I own and was slightly ashamed. It was still hard to part with some of my items, even ones i haven't worn in years.......but it felt so good to see 3 full garbage bags and even better to give them away. Almost as amazing as seeing the carpet on my floor for the first time in a while. I also threw away holey socks, expired coupons and stale chips. Much of my house still needs to be purged. It felt like a great catharsis. Like all of this stuff has just been weighing me down. Don't get me wrong -- I still have 8 pairs of jeans, 6 plain white shirts and am just as materialistic as the next girl -- but I am working on that.

Ok, usually I am not an Oprah fan........but I will admit that I watched it today. Her guest was an organization expert. He was talking about ways to de-clutter and some of his clients ( more of Oprah's guest) ...well they make my worst closets and my school desk look like the container store. He spit out some shocking stats.......things like we only wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. He also kept talking about how all this physical clutter leads to every area of our lifes......if you have stuff piled up at that you don't want to deal with at probably have plenty of stuff to sift through in your relationships as well. There is just so much that it seems to be too big to undertake, to much to change and put right that we keep just living in mess or around it. There were a few tips that I liked ( and some were also conclusions that i came to on my own as I sorted through my own stuff).

1. garage sale mentality -- this seems to work especially well for teens, but i fell for it too. If you go through your things looking for stuff to sell in a garage sale you will give up much more than just for charity. maybe this is appealing to more of our greed -- but hey whatever works. About a year ago some of my friends had a big garage sale that i participated in. I went all through the house and attic looking for things I thought people might buy. I was kind of fanatical and priced stuff I never would think to give to Goodwill. At the end of the day I didn't want to haul any of the stuff people didn't buy back to my house and ended up donating it.

2. New in, old out. Simple concept, but harder in practice. If you buy a new something, you have to get rid of an old one. Books for example --- buy a new book, give away an old one.

3. You shouldn't have to talk yourself into keeping anything. If you are going through your closet, garage or whatever and you pause ever so breifly to consider an item -- chunk it. Sometimes I worry about throwing something away that I will miss or need later or whatnot. Easy solution -- give it to a friend -- then you can always borrow it!

4. If you havent worn it in a year -- give it to charity. Easy trick, turn all your coathangers backwards -- then when you wear something, wash it and hang it back up the right way. A year later -- anything that is still facing the wrong way goes. He also did the same trick with kitchen utensils. Put all of them in a box somewhere handy and when you use one, take it out and put it in the drawer -- after a month you probably don't need anything that was left in your box.

don't thank me, thank oprah.......I'm still a little partial to einstein's theory on this one.
p.s. I am sure some of you that know me might be suprised to learn that the photo is from flikr and was not actually taken in my home.


Beth & Eric said...

I'm much more of a Dr. Phil fan than an Oprah fan, but all-in-all, I love this blog! I agree that it's important to clean, but it's definitely not one of the priorities in life. My Mom's house was never clean. We never had chores. But, she loves people, and that's more important! I love your writing. :)