Sunday, February 15, 2015

Decluttering and sharing

I am conscious that I am blessed. I am also conscious that I have been supported by special friends in the past, and that I too have the capacity to support others. Last weekend I had the opportunity to help out a friend. After a divorce, and a period of boarding while she studied, my girl friend has moved into her own apartment. She hasn't had a steady income for a while, and I wanted to help her get the new abode started off a little cheaper.

I went through the cupboards and found duplicates of items - so many duplicates. I can't imagine why I ever needed three manual orange juicers! We had a cutlery set we've never used in 20 years, sets of glasses we didn't remember we had, and multiple tea pots, cups, mugs, bowls, cake tins.....

All packed up into a couple of boxes, along with our spare microwave (who needs two of those!) and the spare bed, a couple of chairs and lamps......

You know what? I'm ashamed to say, with all of these things gone, you can hardly notice the gaps they leave.

Decluttering is mentioned in many books about the simply life, as having both a physical and mental benefit. Physically, there are alot of things in our homes we just don't ever use, need or like. These things could have a more productive life with other people. Once the house and living space is decluttered, one finds that there is more space in your mind for creativity, compassion, and genuineness. Another philosophy that promotes declutering is that of mindfulness.

I've recently read a chapter about interdependence, relationships, and community. I was reminded that in todays world, objects are used to define us - the car we drive, the shoes we wear, the handbag that matches... these objects are used by others to put us in  relatable boxes. We then build relationships with those objects because we know they help define us. So what happens if you don't have objects to relate to.... you find out more about who you are. And what if we remind ourselves that many objects are purposeful - they have a function - and that's why we have them.

The function of squeezing oranges is not improved because I had three objects, all the same, to do that with... Tea will not be incredibly different because I gave a teapot away..... in fact someone else will enjoy some tea too.

I started last year to focus more on simplicity in my life - and the challenge continues this year. I have much more decluttering to do, and some big decisions to make about purchasing items - life sofa's, a new car, bikes etc.... hopefully the principles of simplicity, community, and mindfulness will play a big part in those decisions. 

Update from the recipient: I've just been to see my friend settled into her lovely little place. She still needs a table and chairs, but she's settled in and all those unwated things from here have a new home and new jobs. (21.2.15)

1 comment:

Jeanie said...

Last night I had Rick read your Tour Down Under posts and saw you had a new one out there! (I haven't checked the blog roll for a couple of days!).

Yes, I'm in that process, too. The big, ugly basement. And it feels good to find homes for things -- whether that home is the Goodwill or a friend who needs something. I have SO much to do -- you can't tell I've done anything. I'm heartened to have a fellow friend doing the same!