Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

Kripalu Mindfulness Outdoor Experience Guide & Life Coach – Get Outside. Go Within.

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Snowy Day Decluttering

What to do on a snowy windy day? Or rainy day? Well if you read any FaceBook posts it would seem to complain is the thing to do. Let’s not indulge those whose only means of entertainment and activity is to complain because it is too cold to drive to the mall. Let’s move our own lives in a different direction. One of hope, love, laughter, and enjoyment no matter what is occurring in our environment. This includes all the ebbs and flows in life.

Last night I began the act of cleaning and decluttering. If you read earlier posts you know that I did this in the summer and most people visiting would think I really don’t have too much clutter. Compared with some family members, I don’t have any clutter. However, yesterday after my iMovie class at Apple and speaking to the supervisor about a part-time position, I began to think about how to reduce time spent cleaning my home so I could be free to work my full-time position and a part-time position while writing my book, coaching, and motivating others. All of which are a priority in my life. Working at Apple would be an excellent opportunity to learn and enhance my computer skills – cleaning and holding onto items that are no longer useful in my new life are not. So releasing once again was a necessity.

I have hundreds of books sorted throughout the house by category. Women Studies are in the antique barrister bookcase in the living room. All books on neurology and brain – behavior are located on a shelf near the couch in the living room along with teaming and business books. Feng Shui, create books, and novels are on the bookshelf in the dining room. The dining room is also home to a small shelf of children’s books. On the small shelf in the hallway is a small collection of motivational books such as Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. This is strategically located so anyone heading to the bedrooms can grab something that might motivate them. In my office I have a very large shelf that is home to Memoirs, Law of Attraction, Writing, and Spiritual books along with some favorite items like my drum, family photos, and office supply crate. There is also an antique barrister bookshelf that has been home to all of my older philosophical books to include Ayn Rand, Lin Yutang, Jung and others. There is also one bookshelf that belonged to my mother which is home to my journals from over the last two decades. Some of those journals may start in January 1 of one year then in the center may begin with August three years later. There is no rhyme or reason. These I continue to hold on to for my writing material.

This brings me to decluttering. I have a few books on decluttering. Prior to beginning the process I sat with the newest in my collection and discovered a new thought on decluttering. In the past I have read books on decluttering by removing one item a day or donating an item if a new one is purchased. The latter is the way I try to keep a handle on my material possessions. I don’t know about you but it can be difficult to let go of some sentimental items even when they have long worn out their welcome. They sit looking at us day after day and we wonder why we keep them. Then we put it off for another day. Eventually they build up over time – people die and we take something that belonged to them, we can’t allow anything that belonged to our mother, father, aunt, uncle, friend to be passed to a stranger. Or remnants of a former relationship remain in a drawer, box in the attic, in the jewelry box. You know what you have hidden. Here are some of the books I have on decluttering.

Each one spoke to me when I purchased and read them. The book on De-Clutter, De-Stress Your Life was actually from a class I went to on releasing stress from your life. It was a very helpful class. The more stuff we have the more we have to care for – to dust – to find a place for – more upkeep – less time for doing what we want to do. We use our stuff as an excuse not to accomplish our goals. If we have to clean then we can’t write that novel or paint that picture or take that hike. If we don’t clean out that cabinet of food that is not healthy the better chance we will reach in and grab something unhealthy on those stressful days. The less we own the freer we are – that is a reality.

The newest book, the life-changing magic of tidying up – the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo, shares in the value of making one clean swoop and removing it all – removing it from your home immediately. The benefit is a renewed life. A fresh start. A release from what is holding you back.

So I will share what she feels about decluttering books. She said take them all off the shelf – ALL of them. This is a difficult task. As I shared there are all categorized by topic and author. Taking all the books off the shelf and placing them together on the floor. They are no longer lying dormant on the shelf. Then pick up each book and ask yourself “Does this spark joy?”

If too many like myself – she says to divide them by category. General (books you read for pleasure) – Practical (references, cookbooks), Visual (photograph collections), Magazines. Oh did I mention I have a collection of Victoria magazines from the 1990s – 2000 when they went out of business. Ms Kondo shares that you are not to start reading the book – this is what I end up doing. You can only touch it and ask yourself if you need it or not. We have to stop and think about the purpose the books serve. Now mind you, I felt very good about releasing the 60+ books sitting in a pile on the dining room floor. Today, on this cold February day, I shall go back through the books and whereto autographed or not only keep those that inspire me. There is always the library which can house the books and I can go there and borrow them when needed. After all my niece is a librarian and capable of finding books I am interested in reading.

Well I have to go now to place the remaining couple of hundred books on the floor to see which will remain in my hall of fame book collection. It is at once frightening and invigorating – almost freeing.

I’ll let you know how I it turns out. After the books, it will be time to tackle the papers sitting in the files from my writing classes and internships/fellowships from a decade ago.

What do you do when you are inside on those rainy, snowy, windy days?

Hope this helped. Decluttering results in releasing material belongings and freeing you which can reduce stress and improve health. Give it a try!!

Love and Light,

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Enslaved by Stuff

Do Your Things Own You?

Do Your Things Own You?

When I saw this quote it reminded me why I no longer own my home. As a home owner of an older house I spent many days and nights painting, sanding, washing, tiling, and repairing. It became like a child, always needing attention. After I sold my home and relocated I felt free. Free to travel, to walk on the beach, to visit with friends, to explore. Not that I am saying no one should own a home, just saying in my circumstances the home owned me. I worked hard to pay the mortgage, taxes, repairs, fuel, electric, repairs, upkeep, raking, mowing, shoveling and on and on. Now take the original price mortgaged on the house, the interest, repairs, upkeep and so on. Over the life of ownership of the house which was six years on my last home I put in more than I sold the home for. All I asked was to be out from under. When you are looking at the actual value on the home don’t forget to add in all the hours you put in maintenance. Then I ask, do you own the house or does it own you?

What about the car? We purchase a car to take us to and from work, then we work to pay for the car to bring us back and forth. It seems insane but we continue. Into the cost of the car add fuel, oil, repairs, tires, regular upkeep, car washes, and possibly a garage to store it in. Today I paid $120 for two head lights. Owning a car is costly. Yes, we are in a never-ending money pit with a car and house. When you purchase a new car it loses value as you drive it off the lot. When you trade it in you never receive what you have paid out. Do we really know the true price of car ownership?

If you own more than one house or car, do you ever feel enslaved by them. We haven’t even added in things like lawn mowers, snow mobiles, boats, motorcycles or other expensive necessities and toys.  Then we move into the home and start accumulating things. There is the regular upkeep of vacuuming, dusting and washing. Then the repairs, purchases that you never maybe some of those kitchen appliances, exercise equipment. We have refrigerators, stoves, washer and dryers. All need repairs and have somewhat short life spans.

When I think of my rental home and the belongings it surprises me how quickly the house filled with stuff. At first I didn’t have a couch, table and chairs, dresser, washer or dryer. This was by choice because I left many belonging behind with my ex. My first purchase was a shelf for the kitchen. My neighbor came over and shared that her friend was relocating and had a dining table to give me. When we went to pick up the table she gave me five chairs and a china cabinet. I purchased two small grey chairs and a pink cloth swivel rocker for $100 only to find a Pottery Barn knock off white sleeper sofa and love seat for $350. Now the chairs sit on my front porch. There is room however I want to feel ready to leave at any time and this is not the case. I purchased another book shelf because I own over 100 books that needed a space to sit. This is what remained after donating over fifty when I relocated. Now as I look around, it can become over whelming. I loved the empty space when I first moved in and now it is beginning to feel crowded. Not like a hoarders type of overwhelming but a”I have too much stuff” type of feeling. Next summer I will have to unload once again and I am thinking about reducing the number of books even though I love them all. They are like my inanimate friends and when I see them memories of when they were purchased, what I learned and why I kept them fill me. There is no way I can sit and read them all twice so I will choose my favorites and release the others. There is always the local library.

Getting back to the quote you can see it is quite appropriate to our daily lives, at least here in the United States. Not sure what we can do about it but we never truly own something because there is always additional repair/replacement costs and manpower needed to maintain it. Watching people on the news Black Friday shopping caused me to grimace and wonder just how this all came about. People purchasing things they don’t need just because they are on sale. For those of us who do not indulge but have family and friends who do, it can be a painful experience.

As for me, I shall release and be free. I shall learn to say NO, I don’t need that. Thank you!! Living with exactly what I need and nothing else. One day I may just fit in one of those tiny houses or even be free enough to join the Peace Corps without concern over payments or ownership of wasteful stuff that has to be left in storage sheds. There will be very little to be stored. Some Christmas ornaments left to me by my deceased mother and aunts, a few toys that belonged to my children that keep for my grandchildren, some special items from my past, and half of my books. Whatever fits in my car, that is what I will hold on to.

I would love to hear your thoughts on being enslaved by your stuff. Do you feel enslaved by your stuff?

Love and Light,