Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Time to Regroup, Assess, Plan

First, I want to say hi to the amazing numbers of visitors from The Happiness Project. I've had a sidebar link to Gretchen's site for some time -- it's such a great site. She gathers up and tries out all kinds of tips and philosophies about happiness and writes about her experiences. Each Wednesday is Tip Day and there are sidebar links to all the past Tip Days. Well worth bookmarking and checking regularly!

I feel like it's time for me to regroup, to assess my progress and get back to more of a plan for this project. I have been gentle with myself since Patrick's death and am very grateful that I was able to continue to work on this in a small and steady way over this past year. But I feel like it's time to step up the pace a bit and even tackle some more challenging things.

I've made a great deal of progress in clearing up spaces that have long been cluttered -- and I absolutely believe it's true that energy gets blocked by pockets of clutter in our homes. I think of decluttering as "freeing the chi."

I've also been pretty good about not allowing clutter to return to those spaces, and have had some success in changing habits that contributed to the clutter.

Two notable exceptions:
The Chair and The Kitchen Table.

The Chair that started this all continues to be a magnet for clothes and books and shoes. I've managed to not put files and important papers there since the first time I cleared it, but I cannot seem to stop stowing my shoes underneath, piling books on the seat, and draping shawls, sweaters and jackets over the back.

Some people have suggested The Chair is now more a sculpture, a sort of ever-changing bit of installation art and I'm often tempted to view it that way. In fact, I photograph it regularly.
Here it is today:

I suppose that one way to deal with clutter is to transform one's thinking about it...but how many clutter areas is one allowed to call "art?"

My kitchen table is also a constantly shifting repository of Stuff.
Here is the table in mid-March:
And here it is, as it is today:
As you can see, with the exception of a few things, it's a whole new bunch of Stuff!

In the case of the table, it's not Art, it's a Tool. I use it to help me tidy up other areas, it's a place to pile and sort the Stuff. I need to utilize it this way, it's truly necessary. I think, though, that what I must do is become more organized in how I use it and try to finish the sorting projects and clear it regularly.

There is definitely something about having that table surface free that is very energizing -- when it's cluttered up, it must be a sort of black hole for chi. If you are familiar with the Flylady's organizing site, you know that having the kitchen sink all empty and clean at the end of the day is kind of a touchstone. That, along with putting on a pair of lace-up shoes in the morning, becomes a cue for working to maintain order and organization.

For me, it's the kitchen table and my work desk in the basement.
My basement office desk:

So. I think that I will start with those spots as I regroup-- the kitchen table and my desk. My goal is to get both areas decluttered and functional....and to not allow the day to end without tidying them up.

As for The Chair...I think I'm just going to let it be what it will be for awhile, though with warmer weather in the offing, I just may get those shawls and sweaters put away!