The last few months, I’ve had quite a few time-out moments.
You’ve probably noticed it, from the lack of consistency on this blog.
You might even go so far as to say I’ve been a bit lazy 🙂
Not the slouching on the sofa eating nothing but chips and pizza lazy (well, actually I’ve done a little of this too), but more the haven’t had the energy to sit down and write on my blog, clean my house, answer e-mail, exercise, kinda lazy.
With all the stuff that has been going on centered around my health, work and disability issues, I’ve had a need for an extended time-out. There are times in life where you need to listen to the body and follow it’s lead.
Just take the last week of January for example, which turned into quite a few busy days as it was the last week at my company. I think the air went out of me a bit after I officially said goodbye to my workplace. And I decided to just relax and do nothing.
So instead of rushing around doing all the things on my todo list (and there are a few things on it), I spent my time reading, watching movies, watching minimalist packing videos on youtube, hanging out with friends, booking a trip to Italy this summer (woohoo – and yes, I will write about it), being visited by my neighbor’s cats (soooo cute), sleeping in… you know! All those little things that makes life worth living 😉
The world around us is moving at a pretty fast pace and we as people are trying to keep up. We rush through life, with never ending to-do lists and commitment. Often never really stopping to “smell the roses” so to speak.
We stuff as much as possible into our days, rarely present, too focused on getting things done and racing against the clock. If you ask me, I would say that too much of this is exhausting and draining.
Yeah, I know, there is nothing really wrong with rushing – a little – but it’s difficult to rush and be present at the same time. I would go so far as to say it’s almost impossible to do so.
So why do we do it? Well, there are a lot of reasons for why. Some of them are because of; habit, avoidance, self-importance, guilt, competition, control, too much on our plate, pressure, false perceptions and sometimes even laziness (yeah, go figure)…
Let me explain!
For a lot of us rushing has become a habit, we are so used to it we don’t even notice we are doing it. It has become a state of mind, unconscious and addictive.
We fill our day with constant movement for a lot of reasons, one is we might actually have a lot to do :-). But often it is because one or more of these reasons; we don’t want to deal with our own feelings or stuff, we fear judgment, we want and need to feel needed, we feel guilty or even unworthy when we slow down, we feel like we “need to do stuff” to “be loved”, and sometimes might we feel like we have to do everything or life will fall apart.
Other times we stress because we feel a pressure to perform – from others and ourselves, we are afraid of missing opportunities and we don’t want to be bypassed. You might say we stress to impress.
Our society and us ourselves, tend to value doing over being. Sometimes it is easier to rush through life than to slow down. Rushing allows us to live on the surface, while being present takes energy and intention, as we will have to look deeper into ourselves.
So what is a person to do?
I have definitely been rushing through life at times, and I know I’ve been guilty of more than one of the reasons above for doing so.
I have however noticed that several of these reasons no longer are the same stress factors as they used to be. Maybe it’s age or maybe it’s because of this minimalist path I’ve been on. I believe it’s both.
With age comes wisdom they say 😉 I believe that as you move along in life, you’re priorities changes, and what used to be important to you might no longer matter as much.
I also know that my path towards minimalism, bundled with my health issues the last 5 years, have really had a big impact on me. Because of health, I have had to learn to slow down, and reduce the stress in my life. Because of minimalism, I no longer care as much about what everybody else thinks. There is no reason to “keep up with the Joneses” (not that I ever really did, but now even less so), there is no need to compete (because I’m good enough as I am), I definately don’t “need to do stuff” to “be loved” (if you don’t love me for who I am already.. well that just tough 😉 ) And I could go on…
I think it’s beneficial for everyone to slow down a little. Slowing down and being present can benefit your health, relationships and self being.
So how do we stop rushing through life?
Well for starters, we need to learn to take a break now and then. We need to listen to our body.
If you are tired, take a break. If you are stressed, do something for you that makes you happy. Go for a walk, play with your dog, open a window and look at the sunset and inhale, go for a run, read a book, work in the yard.. whatever that gives you a moment of happiness.
Yeah, but that’s not always easy to do.. you say.. I’ve got so much on my plate!
I know it’s not an easy thing to do, but try this one on for size: Stop and ask ourselves why. “Why do I need to rush right now?” and “What is the rush?” Knowing why often reduces the pressure, and if you can’t even figure out why you are rushing through that particular task, why not just go ahead and stop altogether! Stop and take a breath. Take a moment to slow down, to allow yourself to be present.
Slowing down and letting go, allows you to be happier, you’ll make better decisions, you’ll inspire others, and it could change the way you look at yourself and everyone around you.
Too much stress on the other hand, and it can have a detrimental affect on your relationships and health. Just look at me 😦 It’s high stress over years and years, not listening to my bodys signal, that has ultimately resulted in me now being on disability. So please don’t be my kind of stupid, ok?
Let me tell you a little story!
A few years back, my boyfriend at the time, asked me a question while I was on the phone with him, telling him how I had done absolutely nothing that day. His question stopped me cold… He asked Did you do it well?
I didn’t really understand what he meant at first.. What do you mean, did I do it well?”
He answered back.. You’ve said you’ve done nothing all day… but did you DO it WELL? Did you do nothing well?
I had to stop and think, and realised that no I had not done nothing well.. Quite the opposite! I had jumped from one thing to another all day, not really accomplishing anything (hence the done nothing part)
I learned a valuable lesson that day! I learned that if you are going to have a “lazy/happy/fun” day, make sure to really have a lazy/happy/fun day. No “running around” working on things, no guilty trip over things that don’t get done. Instead, make sure you totally relax into that day 😉
So here is to taking a moment, a timeout so to speak, and doing it well!
I’m taking a cue from these guys, why not join me in a moment of your own 🙂
I can’t believe it’s almost December. One more month and 2015 is over. Where the heck did the time fly off to? Just a short month left (yes, it’s a short month, with Christmas and all, interfering with normal routines 😉 ) to finish up my goals for the year.
I know there are a couple of goals that I will fail at, but there is one goal in particular that it’s time to snap back into.
For some reason I’ve been finding it hard to keep the focus up on my decluttering goal! Last year I was all for it, but this year it’s almost like I’ve lost a step and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I feel I have my home under control (no, not really), or maybe it’s because I’ve already been decluttering for years and I’m getting down to the “nitty gritties” and it’s much harder, or maybe my heart just haven’t been in it?
Whatever reason, the fact is that there aren’t much stuff going out-the-door! Now, fortunately there haven’t been much coming in either, as I don’t buy much, so I’m not cluttering it back up 🙂
But it’s time, it’s time to focus. It’s time to get at least some of my decluttering goals out of the way.
Heather over at Simply Save, has spent November playing the minsgame. So I figure I could take a cue from her, focusing on my decluttering goal for a minute 🙂 There is no way I’m going to be able to shed 465 items like Heather have been working on. But that’s not really the point. The point is just to get back with it, to get the stuff out of the door, to finish my goal for the year, of 365 items out-the-door.
So there you have it… over the next few weeks. The focus is… decluttering! And yes, please hold me accountable.. because it is sooooo easy to slip…
Lately I’ve been struggling with a bit of a cold/flu/chest infection.. or whatever the heck it is… all I know is that it entails a lot of sniffles, headaches, coughs, fever and no energy. Oh yeah.. and no voice! What’s up with that! 😉
The one redeeming factor? It’s a perfect excuse to do nothing but hang out in front of the telly 😉
In the beginning of the year I posted about how one of my goals for the year was to attack my movies/series collection. My goal was to get rid off 100 Movies (half of my collection) and cut my physical DVD series collection by 30% (which is quite a bit as I have a few series).
I figured that, as I’m sitting here like a zombie anyway, this is as perfect time as any, to attack that particular goal 😉
So guess what? The last few days I’ve been hanging out, in front of the telly, with my hot beverages and blankets, all tucked in, having a Dark Angel series marathon 🙂
I’m already through season 1, and depending on how things goes the next few days, I should be done with season 2 soon.. which means that, by the end of the week, there might be 12 DVD’s leaving the premises.
A bit sad to let them go.. but I’ve seen the series a bundle of times, and I need to cut down somewhere, so it’s decided, I’m no longer keeping the Dark Angel series as part of my collection.
I just got back after a few days in Oslo, the capital of Norway, hanging out with some friends who was visiting from US, and it’s time to get serious with my decluttering again. During this summer anyone that have been reading my blog, knows my items out-the-door have pretty much been non existent.
I’m not sure why I have this persistent thought that I need to declutter some more… my house is pretty much under control, I have gotten rid of tons of stuff the last few years, and in most peoples mind I never owned that much in the first place.
I think it’s part of this minimalist journey, wanting to shed more, I see it with a lot of the other “minimalists in making” that I follow as well, that as you declutter and get rid of things, it spills over in other aspects of your life.
As we declutter we become more aware of the things that matter, of what is important to us, either in the items we own, the people we are with, or the things we choose to spend time on. So we continue to declutter our; physical items, digital stuff, mental clutter, social interactions and work stuff, in hope that we will reach the right balance. The right balance between health, family, friends, work and you!
For most of us, it’s a work in progress, a continuous path we are on, one that might never end, as we slowly evolve into the people we want to be.
And this is why I think I still feel compelled to declutter, I’m not yet where I want to be, as I still have loads of “stuff” I want and need to sort through.
Sometimes it takes an event or a major issue to wake you up! An event or issue so big, that it compels you to change your ways.
Me getting sick a few years back, have surely been an eye opener! It has put a lot of things into perspective, and made me realise a few things. I also lost my dad to an illness about 2,5 years ago, which really brought home a few truths, about how I had some of my priorities wrong.
I know I never really write much about the inner changes, this blog has mostly been about decluttering the physical stuff. I guess it’s because the physical stuff is more tangible, it is something you can show the results of.
The inner stuff is harder to put down on paper, especially since the change often is so subtle, you hardly even notice that it happens, until your are way down the line. Then all of a sudden you realize that you have changed, changed the way you view a few things, changed what is important, changed some of your priorities…
It’s this change that made me realise that there are certain things in life that is no longer worth the cost of having it in my life. It’s this change that resulted in me finally deciding to throw in the towel with work and prioritize health. Without this inner change, I would still be at it, working away, ignoring my health, slowly working my way down in a ditch I might never have gotten out of, while at the same time do irreparable damage to myself.
It’s this inner change that might one day make us realise, that the things we used to live and breath for, no longer is the center of our universes.
We might suddenly realize that, “Hey, I don’t care all that much about this thing anymore, this thing that used to be the most important part of my life, this thing I prioritized over everything else, to very often, the exclusion of everything else… whoah!”
I don’t write about my inner changes much, because I don’t know what to say, I can’t quite formulate it all. The only thing I can say, is.. that the changes I experience on my minimalist path, makes me more centered, calmer, more aware of what’s important, less materialistic, more aware of where my energy goes and more in tune with whom I want to be.
It’s a slow process, and I’m on my way.. not quite there yet, but on my way!
And the strangest thing, that every time I shed some physical stuff, it seems to help me along my path to shed some mental stuff. It’s probably because I have to seriously think about if the item is important to me and why. It might also be because I’m getting into the harder stuff, the family stuff, the photos that bring back all sorts of memories, the stuff after my dad, the stuff that carries with them their own ghosts.. some of them my ghosts…
So this is why I declutter, so that I one day might get it all cleared out!
I think, I must be a fraud! There is no way I’m a minimalist!!
I just got back from visiting a new friend, a neighbour that moved in about two months ago.
I met her because she stopped over at my place to ask some questions about a couple of plants she had just bought (and just about killed already).
So what do I do? Well I just took it upon myself to get her a new healthy plant, and at the same time repotted her half dead ones in some pots I had at home! Her entrance area looks much more friendly now.
But let’s get back to the fact I’m a minimalist fraud…
As I delivered the plants, I got invited in. And yes, I know she had just moved inn after a newly divorce, so yes, I get that she might not have had all that much to start out with… But her place was soooo minimalistic when it came to amount of furniture (some might say it was totally empty and bare), and soooo maximalistic when it came to empty space, and I loved it.
Upon entering my own place, I suddenly realised… I have a long way to go, before I’m a true minimalist…
Compared to most people, I’m doing pretty good on the minimalistic path. Comparing myself to my neighbour, I’m not sure I’m even a minimalist in training 😦
Thankfully, I don’t have to compare myself to anyone, this is not a competition 🙂 I know I have ways to go yet, before I’m where I want to be.
What I’m taking away from my visit to new friend, is the inspiration to continue to get rid off stuff, so that I might one day, end up with a place that gives me the same airy feeling, as I got when I stepped into her house.
So, it’s time to get cracking… again 😉
I never knew, when I planed out doing a packing party, that it would turn out to be as hard as it was.
It sounded so easy, this idea about doing one room at a time, for just a few days. And I had this notion that it would go by in a flash, and would reap large rewards in decluttered items.
Well, that’s not quite what happened, as you probably have gathered from how long it actually took me to do this!
I started out real good, and then somewhere half way, I ran into a bump, mostly due to the fact that I really didn’t have enough boxes to pack things in. And I did not like how cluttered my guest room was becoming, from all the discarded items from my other rooms. My own fault, as I couldn’t seem to get the items out the door, because I was fumbling around, never taking the time to actually take the pictures and sit down and write the post about them. Yeah, my bad, I know!
I’m telling you, it will be a long time before I try something like this again… if ever 😉
I did learn a thing or two though during my declutter party!
I learned that I obviously have short staying power… the first days out, I wanted to do my whole house all in one, but as I had said I would do one room at a time, I had to pace myself… Yeah! I’m not good at that. I’m more of the the get it done now kinda person, rather than the slow haul kinda person… guess I should keep that in mind for my next project 😉
I also learned that as much as I had decluttered, there are still “mountains” of stuff left that could probably go out-the-door, but I have also learned that sometimes we need time, before we are “ready” to let it out of our lives.
The things that have left my building during this packing party, are things that have survived several culling before, and I can see there are a few items, that made it through this round, that will most likely go out the door, next time around (after I’ve had a minute to think about it).
I guess this is just the way it is, slow and steady getting there, on our path towards minimalism!
Even though I never quite got rid of as much as I hoped I would, there was a few rooms that surprised me in the “loots” they provided.
I expected to find most of my stuff in the living room and guest room, this is not quite how it turned out, even though these rooms wielded the bigger items. It was the kitchen and my bedroom that surprised me most, as these where the rooms I was sure I had already gotten down to the “bare bones”. Guess it just goes to show, that we change our level of needs and wants as we move along minimising our possessions.
Since I have called this post packing party – a sum up, I guess it’s only fair to let you in on what my packing party amounted to in out-the-door items.
So here it is a total of 194 items out-the-door!
- Bathroom – 33 items
- Bedroom – 54 items
- Kitchen – 51 items
- Living room – 26 items
- Guest room – 30 items
Not quite the number I was hoping for, but chipping away at it will get me there in the end 🙂 Fortunately this time around there was a few “big” ticket items, leaving me with a bit more “empty” space as a result!
As with a lot of things in life, it’s easier when you get a little help along the way. I could not have done this without some of my fellow bloggers, who have either decluttered alongside with me or cheered me on. There are to many to mention, but you all know who you are 😉 All I can say is, Thank you!
In 2009, after having lived in the US for two years, I came home with enough stuff to fill up a entire house (after having furnished an empty condo in Houston), and I already had a house full. Since then I have slowly but surely gotten rid of stuff, and I’ve dwindled it down to one household again. But as good as I had been at it, I felt that there was still more that could go out of the house. Which is why I decided a year ago that I would make 2014 a year to declutter and living with less.
And to be accountable – I started this blog 🙂
I decided my main goal, would be to get rid of an average of at least one item a day, all through 2014 – yepp, 365 items!
I also made a second goal, a promise in my post I want. I want – I want it now!!! – to make an effort to buy only necessities, needs rather than wants.
Have I managed what I set out to do? The short answer – YES!
So here it is – my MAIN goal;
2014 tally of items out-the-door – 634 items, 2200 bookmarks and 14485 emails 🙂
Curious about what items I shed? Check it out;
- January tally – 63 items
- February tally – 45 items, 2200 bookmarks and 2450 emails
- March tally – 12 items and 7535 emails
- April tally – 58 items and about 4500 emails
- May tally – 126 items
- June tally – 22 items
- July tally – 22 items
- August tally – 45 items
- September tally – 103 items
- October tally – 7 items
- November tally – 23 items
- December tally – 108 items
My second goal – only buying necessities;
I did better on this during 2014 than I did in 2013 (which was the first time I tried this). I replaced broken items, only if I had too. I used up before replacing or even did not replaced at all.
I did really good at not buying anything but necessities, until my trip to US in September, when I ended up buying some clothing I didn’t really strictly “need”. I do however have an excuse as my luggage was lost for several days, and I got sick of walking around in oversized men’s clothing that I had borrowed. So I caved and bought some ladies things 😉 And it’s not like the clothing won’t come in handy, when I wear out my older stuff…
Other than that, as far as I know, there are only a few other items I got, that were strictly not a necessity. 1 small box set I thought was really cute, that I really haven’t found a use for, yet! And then I got a a few cheap IKEA wine glasses for my birthday grill party, as I did not have enough glasses for the champagne toast! (thinking about it, I believe this could be considered a necessity 😉 )
I did have some allowances for the year! Things I could do and things I could get that aren’t really necessities;
Books – I could buy up to 10 books/magazines – I bought one physical book, and two or three e-books
Eating out – the goal was to cut down to half the amount of times we (a friend and I) eat out compared to 2013 – we didn’t quite manage, as we only cut 39% on times. But what we did manage was to cut the amount we spent, with more than 50%, which was ultimately the goal.
Flowers and plants – The goal for 2014 was to cut down to procuring less than half of what I normally would – Done 🙂 I did even better than half as I cut my procurement of plants for the garden closer to 70% compared to any other years.
So all in all, I would say that I passed my goals for 2014!
Did I pass with flying colours? Hmmm, probably not, I’m sure I could have done better, but I’m pretty happy 🙂