“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in
your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
- William Morris
Over the years I have acquired more than my fair share of “useful” items that ultimately served no better purpose than to contribute to the clutter in my life. (An electric pasta maker with a wooden drying rack immediately come to my mind.) What forgotten treasures do you have stashed away in your cupboards, closets, pantry, attic or garage? Perhaps with the coming of the the new year, now would be the perfect time to renew yourself by clearing your home of anything that is unused, unwanted or unneeded.
In her book, Simplify Your Life, Elaine St. James writes about living a simple but elegant lifestyle and her credo is as pure and to the point as William Morris’: “If you haven’t used it in a year or more, get rid of it!” Elaine suggests that you start purging your clothes closets first. She goes on to tell you how to rid yourself of everything from junk mail to personal debt and describes how liberating and freeing your efforts will be.
Elevating the process of uncluttering your life to a spiritual level, order is the third of six principles Sarah Ban Breathnach unearthed in her expedition inward, as chronicled in the book Simple Abundance. This daybook is the product of Sarah’s soulful search for the true meaning of self and home. To Mr. Morris’ golden rule, Sarah suggests an additional category of things to keep in one’s home—items of sentimental value. Her test for determining what falls into this category is to ask yourself if the item tugs at your heartstrings or if you would truly mourn it if it disappeared. The other simple abundance principles Sarah guides you through are gratitude, simplicity, harmony beauty and joy.
If you need more incentive to spur you on to eliminating the clutter, excess or junk in your home, consider this: According to Suze Orman, money cannot find you beneath an avalanche of “stuff.” In The Courage To Be Rich Suze writes: “In order for you to become a beacon that illuminates the way for money, you have to clear the way for money, clear its path of the emotions, thoughts, words, actions, and external objects—the clutter, the chaos—that are blocking the way for more money to come in. This in turn will bring you closer to your true self and light the way for more.”
As you begin to tame the chaos in your own life—for whatever reason—be sure to have a “game plan” that incorporates a methodical search of each room in your home, including the garage and attic. Organize castaways into three piles—one to give away, one for the consignment shop or a garage sale, and one to be tossed in the trash.
When you’re done, the true beauty, character and spirit of your home will be free to shine through, and so will your heart and soul!
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