This is what I call freedom! The last of my purging was done this week, so my brain has plenty of room now to grab new ideas floating by. The weight of all that stuff is off my back at last.

Purging-freeing-makes-room-from-new-ideas

Blank space: surprisingly satisfying!

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine feeling such satisfaction from an empty shelf. But here I am on the brink of one, where only the remnants of income tax prep are left on the second self! Culling through all my stuff has been a simple, yet not so simple way to clear my home AND my mind. Not a bucket list kind of thing, but definitely worth the relief I’m feeling now.

I am, admittedly, an anti-clutter fanatic and have been working through my things ever since we moved to this little home five years ago. It’s fairly de-cluttered by now, but three important things had been procrastinated to death: the to-do box sitting on the corner of my desk, a growing cache of photos, and a very long list of emails. I bought a fancy file box for the top of my desk once because I thought its beauty would somehow coax me into keeping it up-to-date. I was wrong. In it now were dozens and dozens of notes to do something about something. The pile was high, but I attacked every last note with resolve. The appointment to get my hearing checked is in two weeks!

Email purging. This was easier since it’s pretty obvious what to keep and what to toss. Inbox is for everything that needed some action. Overdue replies moved to the top. Those to keep for reference, maybe a date or a useful link, went into their own files for future recall. I’m a Mac user so my email files are called “mailboxes” and my own list includes: my children, blogging, computer help, writing, website, and the all important Misc. Messages. I do have one called “Newsletters”. I subscribe to several and automatically drag them to their own file when they come. This was a mistake. There were 86 unopened in there, a testament to “out of sight, out of mind”. From now on they will stay in the inbox until read, then either deleted or saved for future reference. Oh yes, she does have lofty goals! Last email tasks: empty junk file, empty trash. Only current data faces me every day now. Bye bye deadwood.

Last and the hardest of all, photos. Whenever I ask people what they do with the hundred’s of photos they take, they shrug and say, “Nothing”. In other words, must-have snapshots sit gathering cyber dust and are seldom ever looked at again. Luckily, I organized my photos one time when the numbers were fewer. I had good intentions of keeping them organized and set up lots of individual albums. I even started labeling each photo to make it easier to find. Ha, the labeling part disappeared pronto. The trouble is the pile just keeps growing, so if you have thousands of pictures, you have to cull a little bit every week to get the job done. Otherwise, how on earth can you show someone the amazing trick your beloved puppy did one day?

The trick is to set up easy-to-recognize categories. Then after you cull out duplicates, fuzzies, and the what-was-I-thinking photos, you can distribute what’s left into their own albums or files. Don’t forget to label one MISC because some shots just defy a category! My own collection includes things like art, an unforgettable Air Boat adventure, dancing, sunsets, pig in the backyard fiasco, Las Vegas and, of course, my children and the grands.

Everyone has to organize in their own way. This is about my own journey. I don’t do stress well and work hard to nip anxiety in the bud at every turn. lf the weeding out seems overwhelming, asking a friend for help will jumpstart the process, ease the pain, and make it more like fun than work. I’ve helped and I’ve been helped. Getting on top of the mess seems daunting because making decisions can be exhausting. Really, starting is the hardest part!

The point is how freeing it feels to get all those ducks in a row. Let’s see: ♣Inbox, check ♣Photos, check ♣Emails, check; ♣Empty shelf, check. A clean slate leaves room for whatever happens next. Yahoo!

Weeded out this week: “Stuff” has power and can eventually start closing in on you, robbing you of your sleep and narrowing your field of vision. Now that I have more room in my brain, I’m looking forward to a year of soaking in new ideas and inspiration. Fingers crossed!