Organization is a spiritual practice
I’m craving streamlining. I want a spotless laundry room, sparseness in my bathroom, essentials only in my suitcase.
I say this after lugging six (real) books (yes, I have Kindle, no, I don’t like it) and ten pounds in ankle weights from Tucson to Germany, then back through London and Dallas. Ugh. No wonder I’m craving streamlining. This insight from designers, Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent keeps coming to mind:
“Organization is a spiritual practice. The deepest expression of what’s going on in your life, is what’s going on in your home.”
Even if you’ve already KonMari’d your world, removing anything and everything that doesn’t spark joy, a nudge to go deeper never hurts. Clutter-clearing is an ongoing process.
You’re not going to believe me after what I just told you, but I put a lot of thought into packing. I don’t like having extra just-in-case stuff. It’s never the clothes that get in my way, it’s the “activities” - the weights for my workouts, the books for my writing., the IPad and laptop because there are some things I can’t do on my IPad.
My challenge is forcing said stuff into the one carry-on and tote I envision myself strolling through airports, with ease, like the seasoned travelers I watch with envy. What I want and the reality of pulling it off hasn’t quite happened yet. Something needs to shift. Either I leave some stuff at home, check a bag, or find another way.
Which reminds me of this from Julia Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way:
“Shifts in taste and perception frequently accompany shifts in identity. One of the clearest signals that something healthy is afoot is the impulse to weed out, sort through, and discard old clothes, papers and belongings.
“When the search-and-discard impulse seizes you, two cross-currents are at work: the old you is leaving and grieving while the new you celebrates and grows strong. As with any rapture, there is both tension and relief.”
I’m craving lightness, ease, clarity, the essentials in place, at the ready. Maybe a system (or a new suitcase) would help. Shifts take effort, but they’re always worth it.
Nate and Jeremiah “move without moving” three times a year - like, pack every room, in boxes, taped and labeled. They say the process provides a slow, methodical look at what you already have. You re-connect to your belongings and re-place them in different ways, maybe even in different rooms, which can re-energize a space without spending any money.
Robert bought me a new suitcase for my birthday. I think I’ll focus on packing that before I tackle the house… or not.
If you’re with me on that, here are more do-able tips the design duo shared during their This is Fifty presentation in August:
Get rid of the dried flowers. This was literally, the first thing they said. Without any other explanation other than, “just do it.” I chose to believe plastic flowers weren’t included in this ;)
Stop copying someone else’s home. Take time to collect ideas and pictures of things you like so you get a sense of your style. Don’t feel pressured to make it right, right away.
Progress, not perfection. Your home will never be done.
Your home has the opportunity to serve as the timeline of your life. Always have something that reminds you of who you used to be, who you are now, and something that represents who you aspire to be.
Function is having a space to sit. Design is loving where you sit. Which takes cost out of it. If you love it, enjoy it.
Use your best things everyday.
Rituals bring a house to life. Light candles (“It’s not about buying candles, it’s about lighting them.”). Nate and Jer have a morning playlist and an evening playlist. How sweet is that? One gets the household moving, one calms it down.
If it’s not absolutely beautiful or functional, get rid of it.
And this reminder about organization as a spiritual practice - it’s FREE.
Are you in a season of streamlining? How do you go about it? I’d love to know.