This morning I listened to the audiobook A Simplified Life by Emily Ley, not so much to jumpstart my simplifying journey but to keep me at it. I’ve started decluttering quite a while back. But in some areas stuff tends to creep back in, so I was hoping to refresh my resolve. The most striking effect the book had on me, however, was the surprising realization that I’ve already done pretty much all of what it recommends doing. And more.
I’ve sorted out my wardrobe, my books, my paper work, my kitchen cabinets and countertops, even my basement. There are still some tiny clutter clusters left in each and every one of them, the last five percent I once called them, – but they are minuscule in comparison to where I began. And I realize I have come to a point where I can start savoring the side effects of an uncluttered home:
W h i t e s p a c e.
The space that isn’t occupied by stuff I no longer need or want, or never needed or wanted in the first place. There is more and more room for nothingness. And I love it. I’ve become used to the calming effect it has on me. The serenity it radiates. The peace it creates.
When I had people over at my place for New Year’s Eve friends brought friends who didn’t know me. So when they saw my place they asked if I had just moved in because it looked so empty. I took me by surprise because my home is not spartan, by any means, at least not by my standards. It is light and airy but still comfy and warm. I have cushions and books and lots of kitchen utensils which I love. But I guess by normal standards my home looks, well, not quite full.
But then what is normal? And is normal healthy? I’ve long felt that all this stuff was suffocating me. It weighed me down. It demanded my attention. It took up my time. And at some point I must have decided I didn’t want that any more. And this spark, this initial first step to opting out of stuff, I guess, created some sort of chain reaction that spilled over and onto many more areas of my life.
I’ve started being much more conscious about how I spend my time. I take the liberty to not answer emails or phone calls, or not as fast as I used to. I listen inwards as to whom I want to be in close touch with. And when. I treasure the moments I decide to share with them. And I treasure the time I reserve for myself.
I also stopped watching TV a good six years back. It all started with an antenna I couldn’t seem to install properly. I swapped to on-demand films using my inbuilt wifi connection, somehow never got around to replacing the antenna, then slowly forgot I had ever watched TV in the first place, eventually only used my laptop and kicked the TV set out altogether.
I don’t miss it at all. If anything it now totally irritates me when I visit friends or family and they have their TV running while we speak or eat dinner. I can hardly concentrate on what they say because it is distracting me so much.
I notice that I get drawn into films that I would not consciously have chosen to watch. I get shouted at by TV adverts that tell me I risk missing out on this incredibly fabulous amazing deal if I don’t rush to buy this thing right NOW. It creates this fake sense of urgency I had long forgotten. The artificially generated need to own something I didn’t even know I was missing before I was told so.
And then I realize how blessed I am. That I have managed to create a refuge, an oasis of quiet blissful white space in my home – where I can just BE.
And not feel lacking anything.
Nothing at all.