I’ve always loved to organize and clean out. I hate to clean – you know the dusting, mopping, toilet scrubbing variety – but I absolutely, 100 percent love to clean out a closet, organize a drawer, or set up a system. I once even organized my mother-in-law’s pantry as a surprise while she was away on a trip. Is my love of organization a sickness? Perhaps.
I’ve been known to clean out a closet and then continue to walk by it throughout the day, open it up, and gaze in satisfaction as all of the things are neatly lined up and in their place. For me, there is a sense of accomplishment and order in this action. Please tell me that I am not alone here?
On the farm, I even get a little nuts with the critters, and when I am totally on top of my organizational game, each horse has a signature color complete with feed bucket and matching rope and halter set. Okay, yes, I might have a problem because I can guarantee you the horses care not one little itty bitty bit what color their buckets and halters are when it’s feeding time. Shocker, I know.
As I work to keep things in order, lately, it seems like our house has become a pass through for stuff. I buy things, organize things, remove things, and buy more things. We’ve constantly got a give-away pile going – we’re donating stuff to charities for auction and fundraising, donating to the local thrift store, giving things away to friends. I’ve even got one dear girlfriend who has a closet full of amazing shoes, well because Zappos and I have become entirely too good of friends, and I only have so much room.
However, if I’m honest, this constant give away pile is driving me a little batty. Recently, I said to Cowboy, “What if we just pull back a little? There’s nothing we need. What if we just bask in being grateful?” To which he whole-heartedly agreed on many levels, but especially since he is the financial wiz of the household (or farmhold, is that even a word?). Every time the give away pile grows, he does the math of what we’ve spent on things we don’t need and things that fundamentally don’t make life better.
For me, sometimes I accumulate things because I am looking for the perfect combination of things. As if it at some point, there is the concept of never needing to buy another thing. If I have the perfect combination of shoes for potential occasions. If I have just right set of cookbooks. If I have one more inspirational sign. (Gosh, I just love a good inspirational sign.)
But here’s the deal. There will never be the absolute right combination of things, because life’s not about things. And more than ever, I’m realizing it’s about the soulful, grace soaked journey and not about arriving at some mythical destination where you know all you need to know and have every imaginable combination of things you could possibly conjure up. Life is not perfect. It’s a beautifully imperfect, personal journey we all must take and define for ourselves. And at the heart of it is gratitude, and sometimes so much physical clutter just gets in our way.
I’m learning that this search for the right combination of stuff is just a search to fill up space, a space that signals some sort of arrival or accomplishment. But blank space can be amazing space. It’s a place that allows us to imagine, to create, to find inspiration. And if we are always filling up all of our space with more stuff, rotating through the stuff, and adding new stuff, we are often missing the point.
Look, I’m a girl who loves to shop – from Amazon to a local boutique – I absolutely love the thrill of the hunt. But for me, at this point in my life, I’m starting to see the beauty in the blank space. In the thrill of the experience, the laughter, the creativity.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying stuff is evil or bad. Stuff is what you make of it and what you let it become to and for you. Things can hold treasured memories. Things can inspire you. Things can provide much needed functions. What’d I’d say is just don’t let the things define you, because you are so much more than the sum of your things.
And on that note, I’m off to organize a closet, and enjoy not filling up the blank space