2012 New Year’s Resolution

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Starting in the Smallest Places

I find that more and more people are working towards a simpler life, which means something different to each of us. To some it means a move to the country, to others cutting back on rampant consumerism, still others believe baking bread and cooking from scratch will bring a simpler life.

But, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know you don’t need acreage in the back-of-beyond to have a simple life. It can (and does) start in the smallest places. It can start in a closest.

I know that sounds a bit strange, so bear with me for a moment, folks. I’m a firm believer that you can tell more about a person from looking in their closet than looking into their soul. The amount of “stuff” packed on closet shelves; the disheveled stacks of sheets or blankets; the boxes of personal belongings; the jumble of casual clothes, work clothes, and special occasion clothes; the pile of shoes and handbags are a better indicator of one’s frame of mind than anything else. Closets are private places. They are hidden. They are where we ready ourselves to meet the outside world. How your closet is arranged, the amount of belongings you have is a better indicator of your state of mind than you might think.

Humor me a little longer, folks. Lay your head back, close your eyes and visualize your closet. Picture the clothes and shoes, purses, totes, and hats. Now think about what you store on the shelves. Can you see it all? Does just thinking about it make you shutter? Now, ask yourself, do I need all these things? Really need them? Or, are there things you could get rid of? Do you really need ALL those purses? Are there clothes that you haven’t worn in years? Clothes that are out of style, faded, damaged or don’t fit anymore? Do you have a stack of hats, but only wear one or two? A pile of shoes, but consistently wear the same ones?

If you sifted through and only kept what you truly needed and truly used, could you find the closet floor, space on the shelves? With a little bit of gleaning could you make your closet feel new again?

Where there is order and tidiness and arrangement there is simplicity. Removing excess items and corralling the clutter in our living spaces, both seen and unseen, is a first step in developing a simple life. Worry about the grand cleaning later. But, start tonight with one small project, like grouping your warm weather and cold weather clothes together. Or, see if you can put all your sweaters in one place and notice how walking into a more organized space with only the basics makes you feel calmer and less stressed. Notice how all those choices actually got in the way of your mood and thoughts before you even started your day. When you get dressed, appreciate this one small step and applaud yourself for the accomplishment.

A place in the country may be in your future for sure. But tonight, let’s clean our closet.

As for me…this is where I started many years ago. I still go through my closet every few months and give it a quick straightening up. I also have a rule that when something comes in, a like item must go out. This way I never have a build up of unused items.

Here’s to small steps and simplicity!

Creative Commons License photo credit: DJP3tros

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