Making Space for Enchantment

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I have too much stuff. And this is the year I am going to get to know it on a very personal level.

If you saw my home you might not agree with me and I have to admit I love my home, it’s warm and cozy and many – most really – of the objects I own have some sort of special significance or I just fell madly in love with them. But I’m done collecting and storing. I’d like to think.

This year for me is going to be about living mindfully. Consciously. In every way I can without becoming some reformed fanatic and without walking away and giving up when something becomes too daunting or difficult or even boring – there’s magic in those struggles.

I have been obsessed with purging and organizing since almost forever. When I was in middle school I actually wrote down everything I owned on a notepad. Of course I only had one room to catalog. As an interior designer I used the Chinese art of placement – Feng Shui – in every application I could, and still do in my own home. I’ve read the Japanese Art of Tidying and purged over 350 books, bags of clothes and shoes, chatchkes that had lost their charm and broken plates, furniture, etc. I read Minimalism in a day while I was at my brothers and organized his house with a plan for him to finish and my suggestions.

It’s in my DNA.

So If I am always purging you’d think that, a.) I am a hoarder and therefore have an unlimited amount of things to remove from my home or b.) there’s really nothing left for me to do and I’m obsessive compulsive. There is a third option that I’ve wondered about: do I continue to purchase things so I can continue to purge? Am I perpetuating this because it makes me feel good to clean out?

This will be the test. I do not want to simply organize – although I do love that! – I want to eliminate stuff and exchange it for space and clarity.

My plan:

  • Catalog every item in my home. I will start with just my stuff, but eventually get to my husband’s as well. He’s part of my conundrum. While I could live simply with a few precious items, he hauls stuff in on the regular to fix, keep or sell at one of his various antique spaces. Then there is the pile(s) of “I might need this…” stuff. But we’ll address that, and him, later.
  • Purge what is no longer useful or meaningful. Mindfully putting it in the best hands for what it is. Maybe even selling it to pay off that looming student loan (more on that…).
  • Eat clean 90% of the time. We do this pretty well, but I want to become even more conscious of the companies and people from whom I am purchasing my food.
  • Reduce my carbon footprint any way I can. Reducing the amount of plastic and paper we use, how we wash our clothes and our bodies (making conscious choices with shower products), growing some of my own food.
  • Create a mammoth spreadsheet of my stuff, categorize it, tell it’s story and along the way release what I can
  • Ask myself, with everything I do or bring into my home, “Is this the best choice for me, the planet, my home?” “Do I need it?”
  • Reduce my trash and recycles to next to nothing.

I don’t expect to come out on the other side of this with a chair, a table and laptop only. I won’t be reducing my place settings and silverware down to two sets. But I can make some sound decisions and profound changes that will impact my overall sense of well-being, improve my health and be kinder to the planet.

Wanna play along? Comment often with questions or what you’re doing. Let’s make this a practice we do together. It’s not about making sacrifices so much as honoring your own time and energy and creating the space for an Enchanted Life.

 

 

13 thoughts on “Making Space for Enchantment

  1. mincs1 says:

    Your post has inspired me. I have wanted to simplify my life for some time. I often wonder about all the “stuff” that accumulates in my life. I am going to adopt your questions: “with everything I do or bring into my home, Is this the best choice for me, the planet, my home? Do I need it?” Thanks for a great kick-start to the New Year 🙂

    • Allison Andersen says:

      Awesome! Every year I think, “I need to lighten up.” And every year I do a little. This year I’m hoping to really clear all kinds of things. Let me know how it works for you. If you’re on Facebook I have a small closed group of like minded people working on the same thing. Detox, Reboot and Be Awesome. Ask to join if you’re interested. Group encouragement is always useful and often powerful. Thanks for the comments! Good luck.

  2. Margaret says:

    Well, I have to agree with you. As we prepare to sell our home, we are donating quite a bit to Goodwill. I am also tossing the unusable stuff. We may end up moving twice, so I am hoping that some of the stuff that gets packed, and stays unused, may also find a new home. I am hoping to get to the point where I can create lists of anything and not get anxious and overwhelmed, it’s how I am wired, unfortunately. I love this blog! It came at a perfect time for me.

    • Allison Andersen says:

      Moving is such a great opportunity to let go of stuff! It doesn’t have to overwhelm you. Just remember you chose what to bring in and you can choose what to let go of. It doesn’t happen all at once. Simplicity breeds contentment. I’m sure of that. How exciting that you’re moving to a great new place!

  3. Linda Diksha Altman says:

    Allison, you know me, I’ve got wall to wall stuff & want to clear most of it out. Your insightful post has inspired me & I want more tips & encouragement!

  4. Lorie says:

    Hi Allison, It’s Lorie D> I moved to VT two years, downsized from a 3 bedroom home, but had most of it in storage for a few years. And when my mom past away I ended up collecting things from her house as well. Needless to say it has been a process. I have and had some really great stuff and have sold most of it all along the way. Being an artist(sculptor), a musician, a fiber artist, and a life painter, you can image I have supplies, tools and equipment around which I am ok with storing. Recently, have purged my closets(again) and still getting closer. These past few months I reorganized and cleaned out my files and created a new budget. You know what, I still feel like I need to keep going. Next step is sell more things on Ebay, cuz the cash is always good and maybe next call the collector guy to come get another load. I still feel as thought I have way more than I need so I am jumping on the ban wagon to get support and listen to how you guys and gals are all getting this done. Still feeling loaded down and getting lighter everyday! Peace train…

    • Allison Andersen says:

      It feels like there is always more to do! It is a process. I’ve purged and organized so many times it’s hard for me to believe I still have stuff to let go of. But I do. Quite a bit. This will be fun! Doing it together!

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