Sometimes the process of decluttering and decrappification is not about messy rooms or an overabundance of possessions. Sometimes it is about time and commitments. There are a finite number of hours in each day, week, month, and year. How we apportion our time has an impact upon us.
For example, for the past three years I’ve been on the Board of Directors of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Maine. It’s been an interesting experience, and I enjoyed being with the people on the Board. However, when my term recently expired, I chose to not continue. The thing is, I found myself stretch thinly more often than not this past year. As much as I valued being on the Board, it wasn’t an essential use of my time.
I once read a suggestion that one should make a list of one’s top five time commitments, in terms of personal importance. Anything that didn’t make the list would then be considered optional. For me the top five commitments (in no particular order) are work, church, friends and family, home maintenance, and exercising. Among other things with which I was involved in varying degrees, the Board didn’t make the cut, so I cut it. Cutting commitments which aren’t essential, useful, or pleasurable frees up time for those which are, and decreases my stress. Give it a try!
Time can’t be made or found, but it can be prioritized.
I work for the Maine CDC. I mention this because beginning at 12:01 AM July 1, 2017 Maine government shut down for three days due to lack of a budget. There is much I could say about that, but this is neither the time nor the place. What I’d like to relay to you is how my spending habits changed for those three days.
As soon as it became clear that the shutdown was going to happen, I curtailed my discretionary spending. That is to say, on July 1, 2, and 3 I did not buy anything besides groceries. I did go see a dinner musical with friends but we had already bought the tickets a while ago. What I found enlightening was how easy it was to not spend on frivolous things. I made coffee instead of going out and buying it. I read some e-books and e-zines I already had. I made my own meals (again, the sole exception being the show I went to).
While I was (and to a degree remain) annoyed by the shutdown that kept me out for work and which had every appearance of going on for a couple weeks, it was a valuable lesson on spending and priorities. I guess this cloud really did have a silver lining!
It’s amazing what you don’t need to spend money on.
There are always more than one way of considering any task or endeavor. When it comes to decrappification, this certainly holds. For the most part I view my efforts to reduce the number of things in my home as subtractive. That is to say, how much can I get rid of and not diminish the quality of my life?
But what if I were to look at decrappification from a different point of view? Suppose I looked at each item and considered how – or if – it adds something to my life. I’m not big on hanging on to stuff simply for the sake of doing so. There must be a reason for me to keep something.
That reason can be practical such as keeping a frying pan because I need one with which to cook. It can be aesthetic such as a framed print of a Monet painting which brings me pleasure to view. It might be a bit of both such as an old red woolen sweater I like which keeps me warm and which has an interesting pattern.
I challenge you to look around your home and view your possessions with an eye toward the benefits of keeping them rather than the benefits of eliminating them. And then eliminate the ones that don’t pass the test.
At our present velocity through the universe time passes at a constant rate, or so closely as makes no practical difference. Each of us is given 24 hours each day in which to live. So why is it that some days it feels like we’re trying to cram 30 hours of activity into 24 hours? Since time is constant the variable in the equation must be us.
I see two ways of dealing with far-too-busy days. The first way is to simplify our schedules. We don’t have to say “yes” to every demand upon our time. Take the time to create a list of the six or so most important things that you have to do. Set that list aside. Now write down everything else that sucks up your time. Once done, draw a line through those things that you can stop doing or that you only do out of habit. Lose them. Basically, it is okay to say “no” to things. If you weed out the things that you can say “no” to you can free up amazing amounts of time. You’d be surprised how well the world can continue on its way without our direct involvement.
The second way is to sleep for no more than 30 minutes per day, preferably but not necessarily consecutively.
I liked this blog post so much, I wanted to do more than just link to it. Kristen asks among other questions “Why do we balk at paying $6 for a pound of local chicken, but not at paying $5 for a cup of coffee?” Read her blog and see what you think.