Monday, March 10, 2014

The Puzzle is Purchased and The Joys of Simplification

It's now single-digit counting-down days to our beach trip. Gideon and I will be heading to St. Helena Island, SC, a 5-hour drive with Harleigh's dear friend Christina, who's joining us for the week. For Harleigh, only an hour drive, so she'll meet us there. Check-in time for our beach house is 10AM, so I plan on an early start to assure our arrival by as close to 10 as possible. Want to savor EVERY minute I have of this trip. 

On my lunch break today, bought the vacation-must-have 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle (see above), because, honestly, who has time to do a jigsaw puzzle except when on vacation. Also made a trip to the library for a stack of good beach reads. This gal is more than ready to do nothing, and do it well.

Speaking of doing things well — 

Over the past few years, I've felt burdened. Not consistently. But in overwhelming chunks. My life is good. I accomplish a great deal. I have a healthy balance of work and play. I'm truly blessed. But there was always something gnawing at me, keeping me from feeling the peace I knew was attainable. A combination of reading blogs and opening my booth at the antique mall created the big Aha moment for me: I was long overdue to simplify my life. 

A number of bloggers have written about this. I'd read their stories and thought there was truth in what they were saying, but for reelz, could getting rid of possessions and streamlining my processes and approaches truly make life better? It wasn't until I rented my booth space back in September of 2013 that I enjoyed the result of simplifying. I began to clean the house, purging myself of things that I didn't need. I told Harleigh, if you want to keep it, better put a sticker on it, 'cause Momma's getting rid of stuff. It wasn't nearly as hard as I'd thought it would be. Not nearly as sad. Objects I'd surrounded myself with for years moved seamlessly from Chateau Gahan to my booth, staged lovingly. As items were sold, the antique mall employees would tell me stories about who bought them and why. It warmed my heart. 

I continue to curate the rooms of Chateau Gahan, limited only by the square footage of my booth and how quickly items sell. It's been fun and freeing. My big fear of the house looking empty and cold was unfounded. If anything, there's more focus on the things that I've kept. Plus, there's less to dust. I approached my purging of possessions in this way: If I had to move tomorrow and were faced with the horrendous chore of boxing up everything I own, what would I take with me? Seems harsh, but this new mindset has taken my contentment to a whole new level. AND, I made another huge advance this weekend — I pulled a bunch of items out of my booth that haven't sold since September, and boxed them up to take to the thrift store. I know!!!! Who am I???!?!?!??!?!?

Once I had a taste of how good it felt to whittle down my possessions, I turned to other areas of my life in need of simplifying. I take great pride in being organized and detail-oriented, but upon closer inspection, my method of organizing was in MAJOR need of an overhaul. I used my iPhone Notes sporadically to keep track of tasks / to dos. I used a 5 x 7" three-ring day planner for my calendar. And I was in a dysfunctional, five-plus-year love affair with ruled notebook paper to keep lists. This all had to end. And so I went on a search for the perfect day planner. One that would 1) be smaller, 2) have a section devoted to monthly calendar pages, 3) have a page devoted to each day of the year, and 4) not have pockets and sleeves galore (which I tend to fill with "stuff").  Well, it took me a "trip" to Korea to find perfection. This Smiley Diary, purchased on Amazon, is the bomb diggity. I adore everything about it. Since it came from Korea, I had to fill-in all the holidays in the calendar section, but if this was the only down side, who cares. It has changed my life. No more iPhone Notes (at least for tasks and to dos). No more stray sheets of paper. This day planner makes me Smiley indeed.

Hungry for more simplification, I took an entire afternoon one Saturday and cleaned out my personal files (house records, billing records, etc.) and shed a good 100 pounds of paper.

I cleaned out the contents of my purse, giving the wallet a good once-over and weaning myself of a make-up case of items I hardly ever used. And I bought a new purse that's less satchel (which always felt like a catch-all, bottomless tote) and graduated to a messenger bag, flatter and more suited to everything having its place. 

And as far as the literal cleaning of my home, I now tackle cleaning in little snippets, rather than devoting an entire, seemingly endless, weekend day facing a mess (and then feeling resentful because I'd lost a day of my precious weekend).

Here's to the simple life!


Empty Nest Full Life said...

I am at the same place. I am regularly taking things to my booth and quite enjoying less. My son will be getting married in September and I am expecting that they will claim a few things as well. Less is feeling like the best for me right now. I'm with you on this one.

Christine said...

Some how I missed this post and it's a great post!
A few years ago I did the very same thing. As I was reading your words, I was transfixed on my own simplifying tasks.
I look back on those days with happiness.
I like how you took your task even farther, to your purse!

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