February 21. 2015
I’ve started looking at everything with fresh eyes. What can I let go of, what can I give away? My closet, my bookcases, my drawers are all open to this challenge now to the point where I was just in the bathroom wondering if I needed a soap dish for my soap or could I get by without it?
Today, I got a notification from an online sales site that a bag I had posted about a month ago had sold. Only problem is that I had taken it off sale and donated it to the laundry room clothes bin. What to do, what to do? I wrote to the buyer to let him know I no longer had that bag and would he like my other backpack, the one that was still up for sale? I wait to hear.
But, while I was checking my closet to see if I still had the bag – before I remembered giving it away – I saw two sleeping bags and hauled them out. I have my sleeping bag, lightweight and really toasty with a couple of wonderful features, so I don’t really need two more. Gone!
Along with two more bags of books.
February 20. 2015
Two more bags of books and three new flash drives about sums it up for today.
I stopped at Best Buy last night on the way home and scouted new laptops. It’s a real brave new world out there and it’s getting to be a real challenge to weigh the stuff you like, like Windows XP, against those neat touch screens and cool swivel keyboards. I got a little overwhelmed and decided to let my son take on this particular challenge. I want a smaller machine to go along with all the other downsizing I’m doing here. And I am looking forward to establishing a new filing system.
But I did pick up three dinky flash drives because one of the best parts of the 40 Bag Challenge is to clear out your computer clutter too – and I am so ready to do that. I copied all the files that sit in my Dropbox accounts onto one dinky drive and then sorted everything into two general categories: writing and photos. The goal will be to not duplicate the files and scatter them around the way they were in the Dropbox. I want to set up my files so the photos are sorted by location and date – instead of “NYC.” I’ll probably end up with 30% of the files I have now. And if I keep my writing sorted, instead of all over the place, putting together my next book will be a breeze!
The bye-bye book bags are stacking up. Because we don’t have a car and will have to get a car service to cart them to the library, I only want to make one trip. But, I’m running out of big bags already. I’ve been pulling them out of my souvenir canvas bag collection – they are all going too.
Tomorrow, I’m going to clear out the files on my laptop. After all, if I get a new machine, I’ll have to back all my stuff up anyway, right?
Thursday, February 19. 2015
And sometimes you find things.
I was packing up some books to give away, going through piles of paperbacks, hordes of hardcovers, and children’s books my twenty-something children no longer read. I sorted, I organized, I pulled out a couple of things that cried out to me for mercy, to not be dropped into The Bag. And I found a copy of a book inscribed in a particularly lovely way to my daughter. The illustrator of the book had sketched next to his signature and it was wonderful. I saved it for her.
Today at work, I decided to take my 40 Bags there as well. I had a pile of cards and papers on a metal desk organizer that was reaching critical mass. I started pulling things out I hadn’t seen or used in months and brought over the big green plastic recycling bin. I tossed 2/3 of the pile into the bin and found space to store some things off the surface of my desk, I also found some nice note pads I could stash near the phone. All good.
But I was sitting there, feeling good about clearing away the clutter in front of me when my boss looked at me and said, “What’s that?”
I was holding an envelope full of samples that everyone had been looking for while I was cleaning!
Sometimes you get rid, sometimes you get lucky!
Wednesday, February 18. 2015
I have already packed up seven bags of dusty books to give to the public library. Everywhere I go in my apartment, I look for things to clean, things to get rid of, things to donate to anybody but me. I’ve also cleaned out the medicine chest in the big bathroom. And while I know this activity is supposed to last the whole season of Lent, at this rate, I’ll be down to a Tibetan monk’s level of object ownership in no time.
I would put forward that it would not be a bad thing if that happened.
I’ve got too much stuff.
I’m not a collector or a hoarder and I don’t have to pick my way over things to get to the kitchen or anything, but still, I want to own less stuff. I like to travel – a lot – and I want to travel light.
I read about the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge for Lent last year and it impressed me. I wanted to be that, to do that – but I didn’t. And I’ve got the same stuff now that I had last year that I haven’t used or touched since last year. So, it’s definitely time to move on this and today is the day.
To simplify, because that’s what this is all about after all, the 40 Bag Challenge asks you to take a bag of stuff out of your house every day during Lent. When you don’t have stuff that day, you can organize your finances, clean up your hard drive, consolidate your Flash Drives, whatever gets you to a better feeling of organization and loss of clutter. And I am so ready to do this.
I will be posting my progress here and a couple of other places so I can use you all as my conscience. I want to embrace Easter and the fresh season of spring with less clutter, a smaller carbon footprint, and much better organization in my life so I can find things without having to look in more than one place.
Here’s the original challenge site: http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days-2014/
What if you asked me to dance?
Would you see that I don’t know how?
Would you feel me resist when you offer your hand?
Would you sense my fear
as you placed your arm around my back?
not listening to each other
but the music.
Please let me sit down.
I’m embarrassed, exposed,
All bravado with no substance as we move together,
All silk and feathers’ essence as the music plays
and the players ignore us.
I want to beg you to let me stop
but I can’t say anything now
because the dance
the dancing with you
and I understand that I knew how to dance all along.
It’s just today
I am learning
how to dance