Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"Ought to"

I realized yesterday that a lot of the clutter I have difficulty with is of the "ought to" variety. My imaginary minimalist house (the home I am working for) is a restful place, without stuff ordering me around. I realize now that I need to get rid of the "ought to" things that are cluttering up both my mind and my home.

A realization came to me when I saw the business card case full of cards for a volunteer position I hold. I "ought to" use those, I thought. Then it occurred to me that I have not had a desire for the cards, they were a gift to all the volunteer leaders, and I had not had a need for the cards or the holder in the year or more since I received the cards. With that, I dumped the cards and the guilt. I no longer will think about the things I should do when I see it, every morning in the basket where I keep my hair accessories. (Another question might be why the case was there, but it is to no purpose now.) I could both declutter the physical object and the responsibility associated with it.

That is my problem with a lot of clutter I have around the house. The laundry detergent I can not use with my new washer -- I "ought to" do something with that. But I have another stain remedy, and it works better than the soap does. I just need to let it go! I "ought to" frame the fruit crate labels I bought for the kitchen 15 years ago -- but I have other decor, and I don't need another errand. So I will put them on ebay today, and someone else can enjoy them.

If I get rid of the clutter than causes my guilt, anxiety or stress, I am both minimalizing my environment and my internal life. Which is the point, isn't it? Minimalism is supposed to be about eliminating the excess in my life so I can enjoy the desirable elements.

I don't always realize the difference between clutter and the things I need. I am getting better at understanding the reasons for keeping some of the things I have kept, things that do not add to the enjoyment of my life. I'm really happy every time I recognize a stumbling block for what it is, and I am able to avoid it in the future.

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