Finding Out What Made My Life Simpler

Just before I became a clutter buster, back ten years ago, I started taking an honest look at the things in my living space. I remember going through my books and seeing that most of them I wasn't reading. For some reason I'd been hanging onto them and I never thought of letting them go. I must have felt good seeing a bookcase full of books. I think it made me feel intelligent. But when I looked at it honestly, I realize they weren't actually adding anything of real value to my life. In the immediate moment it no longer made sense for them to be there, so I put them in a box and brought them to the neighborhood library.

Later I took a real look at my CDs. I had a pretty good collection. I had over a couple of hundred. I liked knowing that I had all the Neil Young and Bob Dylan CDs. It gave me some kind of comfort. I felt okay. I felt I wasn't missing anything. But then I noticed that when I needed to take a drive some place, I would stop by my CD towers and try to pick one out for the ride. I felt conflicted because I had so many choices. It wasn't easy. I'd end up grabbing four or five for what was only a half hour ride. Too many things got in the way of enjoying things simply. I started feeling like I wanted to enjoy ease rather than more. So I picked my 20 favorite CDs. These were one's I was always happy to listen too. I sold the extra CDs.

I used this approach for other areas of my life: clothes, art on my walls, things in my kitchen. I noticed that it began to feel good to have space in my life. Space was soothing. It made me relaxed. I think I used to collect things thinking they would make me feel good, and when I felt good, I would feel relaxed. But that never really worked, because I was finally feeling relaxed by keeping the few things that I enjoyed now and letting go of everything else.