Do you ever run out of space?
On book shelves mostly, but also in the freezer.
I run out of space on my night stand all the time (also usually book related).
And in the bins meant to hold all the fabric and things-to-be-mended.
But I run out of space in my schedule, and in my life too.
And experience has shown that this is not determined by how much time I actually have in a day.
I bet you’ve read at least one book, or a blog article, about decluttering, no? I have. I LOVE those books! I read them like novels.
And most of them, at least in the last couple years, start at the same point:
Have less STUFF and you’ll have enough SPACE for it.
And it’s true!
- I never run out of space for dishes, because I have only what I really need when it comes to dishes.
- But linens? Three trunks full, three blankets on the bed, one quilt or blanket on each armchair, the napkin basket constantly overflows, and STILL linens lurk in every corner. (Did I mention I live alone, and rarely entertain?)
- Clothes? I have a small wardrobe, and it fits quite tiddly into a very small closet and a large … er … wardrobe … ARMOIRE! that’s better … (which also houses yet more linens overflow).
- But the aforementioned books? ALWAYS my number one storage crisis, and you can rest assured that I have far, far too many of them.
It stands to reason that making space in my life probably involves the same basic principles. Time is really no more elastic than closets and book cases, after all, even if we do try to double-stack, and roll-vs-fold, and overload our days.
So, it seems wise, here at the start of a new year, to set about making some space!
Making space in the house
Let’s begin with reality: I have NO INTEREST WHATEVER in eliminating books.
Books fall directly under ‘Things That Make Life Worth Living’ and I am pleased for them to ‘spawn like reckless moss’, in the wise words of Barbara Feldon¹.
Linens, however, can reasonably undergo some pruning! As can stuff I’ll NEVER mend.
And I’m pretty sure possessions I no longer ‘know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’,² still linger in bins and boxes.
So, in this season, a tiny bit of my renewed energy shall be devoted to making space in my home!
Making space in the day
It’s impractical to make substantial progress on 20 things at the same time, I know this. And I know that three or four major tasks are all that is usually reasonable to accomplish well in a given day, three or four major goals all that we are likely to accomplish in a given season.
So, why do my daily to-do lists tend to look like the outlines of Russian novels? And behave a lot like revolving doors? Why is my ‘Goals to Get To’ list too long to read through it in one sitting?
If either of these states were helping, I’d just suck it up and get on with things.
But the truth is, both are impediments! I lose track, get bogged down, sometimes get paralysed all together. And that saps what little energy I had to begin with!
In early December (out of desperation, not any noble turning over of new leaves) I started ruthlessly pruning my schedule.
No ‘hope to get to’ stuff, no fantasy planning were 11 two-hour projects fit into a realistic work day, and no squinting at a project in hopes of it magically reducing into a 30 minute activity, when I knew it needed those two hours.
And, shockingly, my days became more manageable!
Similarly, when I had had a week or so of far-beyond-8-hour-days, I took pretty much every obligation not required to sustain life OFF of my weekend schedule.
Decadent weekend PLUS not crashing my immune system and getting sick for a week or two? PRICELESS!
So, it’s a lesson I’m very much still learning, but I’m going to continue actually prioritising, and seriously pruning my schedule so that I’m taking up the majority of my time (and ENERGY!) with fewer things, all of which contribute to what is really important to me.
And slowly, slowly, space flows back into in my LIFE again.
Not being as sick gave me energy to declutter and reschedule, but it also give me a bit of energy to engage more in my community!
Go the extra mile for a client with a crisis.
Be there more for a friend.
And heal even more.
And that is worth any effort, and most sacrifices that it requires!
So, what are you up to in this new year?!?
Are you making space, filling space, making waves, or on a completely different track?!?
¹ From the delightful little book Living Alone and Loving It. I highly recommend both the book, and if you live alone, the practice!
² From William Morris (no known relation, even though my father, also a Renaissance Man, bears the same name). I have no idea when he said or wrote it, but I’ve found it a splendid guide. Hasn’t perfected me, but it helps me inch along the path!