Living rooms are where we live, where we we intertwine our lives with those of our family members and where we host others. Our living areas should be peaceful yet practical spaces. Excess clutter in this very visible room bogs me down in part because of grime blowing in daily, lazy occupants, and a stinky pup…
Philosophical Concept: You are not what you own (Ch.2, p.23)
We are not what we own; we are what we do, what we think, and who we love. By eliminating the remnants of unloved pastimes, uncompleted endeavors and unrealistic fantasies we make room for new (and real) possibilities. Aspirational items are the props for a pretend version of ourself; we need to clear out this clutter, so that we have the time, energy and space to realize our full potential
Do: Separate stuff into treasures, transfers or trash.
STREAMLINE: Treasure, Trash or Transfer (Ch.12).
Once you can see everything, divide it into one of four piles: Treasure, trash, transfer and temporarily undecided (that you need a bit more time to make a decision). Start with the easiest:
Trash. Throw away all the expired, broken, unnecessary and unusable. Recycle if you can.
Transfer to a good home what someone else could value or someone you know does value. I prefer sharing gently used with family, Salvation Army, and a few good friends who may value something we can no longer use rather than the hassle of garage sales. If you have truly valuable items then E-bay, pawn or consignment may be the way to go. You may also have quality pieces that belong in someone else’s collection – rather than yours.
Treasure what you cherish, want to see/use for inspiration – not necessarily what others think you should treasure (which should be transferred). Some things can be photographed or digitized to simplify.
Temporarily undecided. You’ll have to make a decision using your own rules: Here’s what I decided:
Tip to self #4. Anything that is not a treasure, consumable or necessity goes into one of two places in the garage: 1) temporary before it is either transferred, or if not taken care of within 3 months trashed or 2) permanent storage (in the garage rafters).
Our living space story.
- Jay’s right. Start this by first getting outside enjoying some fresh air and a clear mind.
- When you return pretend you don’t live there. What’s your first impression? Do you like what you see? Start with what hit you as the most important things to change, then take time to really scrutinize every peace of furniture, pillow, nicknacks, piles, etc.
- Keep what you really need, that has functional and practical use, move around things to see what combinations work best.
- Avoid duplicate TVs, music centers, home office stuff.
- Cull and clean well (Tip #1). Apply tip #4 (above) to transfer what you don’t need and move your treasures so you really see them (tip #6). If something needed is in good condition consider chucking and/or replacing when you can afford it with a more durable, streamlined but pleasing piece. Minimize duplicate TVs, music centers, home office, etc.
- Only keep things you really use and want to see. Consider what you need and want to do over the course of a year, i.e, how will you do Thanksgiving, host a guest (extra bed), exercise, do projects that require table space?
To maintain a joyful living and multi-purpose space
Apply tips 1-4!
Tip to self #5. Maintain a tidy living area and a neat multi-purpose room. Don’t let the “living room” get cluttered with stuff that belongs elsewhere. Tidy daily.
Tip to self #6. Retain only what we use, like and want to see. Showcase what we want to see and keep it looking good: Hide the rest neatly with practical storage modules that have everything you need and frequently use.
Tip to self #7: Expect resistance with family members. Be respectful, collaborative, kind and persistent. Transfer others’ treasures and store without arguing.
Our Living Spaces Transformed
This post is the 3rd in “The Joy of Less” blog series using a book by Francine Jay. It’s part of my annual lenten quest of spiritual growth where I simplify, sacrifice and strive to embrace what our Lord wants me to be. It’s also part of my annual New Years Resolution Plan for 2017.
What do you treasure? What will you transfer? How long will it take you to either transfer or trash items that are neither essentials or treasures?