Thursday, March 21, 2013

Clutter, Creativity & Helping Others

Clutter photo by kconnors
Facebook friend and author Heidi Nicole Bird who wrote the wonderful book "Through the Paper Wall", recommended a book today. "Clutter-Less! How to Declutter Your Life and Become Stress Free Forever" by Staci Summers is free for Kindle as of the writing and posting of this blog post. Although I haven't read Staci Summers book yet, it did set me to thinking. Especially after I looked at a basket full of things that I haven't touched in months. It sits there on my bathroom counter where it receives sporadic dusting but the items it holds remain unused.
Imagine how much easier life would be if we all decluttered our space. By removing the excess from our physical space, we throw open the doors and windows to allow clearer thoughts in, a cleaner space to live in and change our direction from stifled to passionate and colorful. Doing this will unlock the creativity that has been constricted by forces we did not even recognize were there. Let's strive to remove the stumbling blocks in our lives and live out loud, colorful and determined!
I'm a mother and grandmother with a house full of things belonging to other people. The question I have to ask myself, and I suspect others at my stage of life have as well, is this - why is it that I allow these things to stay boxed up or scattered about my home for years? Several answers come to mind such as; they aren't really in my way. After all, I don't use that one particular room for anything. The kids (all in the 30s at this point) may need the 'extras' that I have stacked around here - knick-knacks, dishes, clothing and even furniture.
Really? Perhaps the spare room is unused because it is filled with other people's things. What if I cleared it of the clutter? If I emptied out the spare room, I might find a use for it. One idea is to turn it into a cozy hideaway with bookcases, an overstuffed reading chair and sweet little lamp. Doesn't that sound lovely? What about those extra dishes taking up space in cupboards or boxed up in the pantry? Every time I reach into a particular cupboard, I have to move things around to get to the one piece I am searching for because I'm saving the other dishes for someone else. I frequently scold myself. Stop saving them! If they really wanted them, they would make an effort to come haul them away. 
If you don't feel comfortable throwing these things out, box them up and deliver the boxes to them. Set them on their porch, ring the bell and run away. Fast. Keep in mind, too, that consignment stores are happy to resale your gently used items. Typically, they add a percentage so you both make money. 
You may also find that you can clear out your space and help where you feel the need is greatest. Think about your town - which charitable organization is in need of the items that are cluttering your space?
  • Domestic violence shelters are always in need of items to help victims begin a new life. 
  • Homeless missions feed and house the needy. In my town, they also have a thrift store where items are sold - the money goes toward their work with the homeless population.
  • Churches often have yard sales to raise money for their own community help projects. 
  • Animal shelters make use of worn linens from rags and towels to blankets.

You may wish to make it even more personal. We all know of a family in the community who is struggling to make ends meet. Deliver some things to their home. You can also find a way to donate to the family anonymously if you would rather them not know who donated the items.
As is usually the case, when you help others it helps you. In this case, it clears your space and your mind, which makes life less complicated and a great deal more livable. 
As authors, clearing our space will not only brighten the space but open our minds to allow thoughts to flow more freely. That, my dear friends, will lead to a happier, more productive and creative you.