Thursday, November 6, 2008


Yesterday I finally got my laptop back after it spent 6 weeks in the shop being repaired. Of course, the hard drive has been wiped clean- everything removed-which I knew would happen from a previous experience. Fortunately, a dear friend K helped me set up an external hard drive on which to back things up, so I didn't lose any of my photos or important information.

Getting the computer back without anything on it gives me a fresh start- there's no clutter! I'm determined to get organized: I'm going to put my photos in folders by year, delete things I no longer need and have a lot less "junk" on here. It's a good feeling to pare down to only what is essential.

On a larger scale I've been trying to do that with our house and closets this fall as well. Admittedly, it's more difficult to get rid of "real" items as opposed to folders and files on a computer. So many things we hang on to just because we might need them some day. I believe we are programmed to do so, the hoarding mentality of our ancestors, for when times get tough.

I've especially seen this behavior with my grandparents: the effects of the great depression. Nothing is wasted, from the tiniest scrap of food to tin foil, which is rinsed and folded up for another use. How wasteful we have become! I know I think nothing of rinsing the extra food off the plates, down the drain, completely wasted. When my grandparents passed away and my parents had to clean out their house they found the closets and basement stuffed full of old cans and jars of food that were probably 20+ years old. It's understandable why someone who had to live through a difficult economic time would want to have something to count on if times should become hard again. But can't there be some balance between having what we need, not wasting, yet not hoarding?

Yesterday while waiting in the doctor's office I read an article in one of the magazines that was lying around about a woman who was forced to evacuate her California home due to wild fires. She was later shocked at the posessions which she grabbed to take with her: her dogs (of course), sweats and shirts, some flea market finds and makeup. She said that upon reflection she couldn't believe she didn't grab her family photo albums, some underwear and her kids' momentos. I suppose part of the reason could be chalked up to panic, not being able to think clearly in an emergency, but it also does make you think-- what would I grab if I had to evacuate the house? What is truly important to me?

I have to admit it's a bit ovewhelming to think of my entire house, all my posessions, and try to pick out a few things that are most important to me. The computer is much less overwhelming, I can start there. I will get rid of all the clutter on my desktop and in my files and perhaps will feel so good from that experience that I will be motivated to de-clutter other areas of my life as well. Clean closets, here I come!

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