Getting Rid of Stuff

I’ve been having fun decluttering my world. I made a little internal pact that every day for a while I’d fill some bags and bring them to Village Merchants, a nearby 2nd hand store. I’ve learned a bunch through this effort. Village Merchants, for one, is more than just a 2nd hand store – it’s a hub of my community – and also the merchandise there changes almost daily = 2 pairs of almost new shoes $16/a piece!

2. I’m getting down to a level of stuff that includes more things I actually use on a daily basis. And, I’ve removed many things that I’ve been carrying around for a long long time – I feel lighter without them in my space.

3. I look forward to my daily routine of the walk to the place. It takes me by Richmond Elementary and the school kids there playing in the playground – what a joy – the squealing laughter has been a nice reminder of play, youth, vibrancy, etc.

4. I’m excited to figure out what goes in tomorrow’s collection because I feel I have a long way to go to really get to the cleared space I want to live in.

5. This all reminds me of my early days of helping Freecycle get started through building up FreecyclePortland in 2003. The joy of passing along precious things to new friends. (Wow, I just learned that the group has almost 50,000 members – hoo boy!)

I think part of this decluttering urge came from visiting some homes in the end of 2015 which were very Zen-like. Max Ribner’s place has almost no tschotchkes in it and being there for one of the Kilikina Chocolate events in December was such a joy. My living space doesn’t look all that different from all the de-cluttering I’ve done, but I think with a few more trips, it will.

I’ve also noticed something else that’s surprised me. I’m now looking at a higher proportion of things that actually have meaning to me. Which means focusing on them, more.  Massage tools, prayer flags, plants, tarot cards and the book shelf full of un-read books.

I’m also excited to learn more about decluttering and the beneficial effects that it probably has on one’s psyche – because I feel I’ve just begun the journey.

If you have any thoughts on decluttering, please share them below. I’m curious what you know, what you think, what you’ve learned and where I might go from here 🙂

Thanks, and happy new year! Happy New Year

Update: 10.2017: Death Cleaning – it’s a thing!

And more 10.20.17 – Clutter is Bad even if you’re not a Hoarder

1.13.2020 – Here’s a great article on Decluttering.

4.20.2020 – Another great article on the topic out of the UK!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2014


Letter from Selma

“The thirty thousand people who at one point or another took part in this week’s march from the Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Selma, Alabama, to the statehouse in Montgomery were giving highly dramatic expression to a principle that could be articulated only in the vaguest terms. They were a varied lot: local Negroes, Northern clergymen, members of labor unions, delegates from state and city governments, entertainers, mothers pushing baby carriages, members of civil-rights groups more or less at odds with one another, isolated, shaggy marchers with an air of simple vagrancy, doctors, lawyers, teachers, children, college students, and a preponderance of what one marcher described as “ordinary, garden- variety civilians from just about everywhere.” They were insulated in front by soldiers and television camera crews, overhead and underfoot by helicopters and Army demolition teams, at the sides and rear by more members of the press and military, and over all by agents of the F.B.I. Most of them were aware that protection along a route of more than fifty miles of hostile country could not be absolute (on the night before the march, a student who had come here from Boston University was slashed across the cheek with a razor blade), yet few of the thirty-two hundred marchers who set out on Sunday morning seemed to have a strong consciousness of risk. They did not have a sharply defined sense of purpose, either. President Johnson’s speech about voting rights and Judge Johnson’s granting of permission for the march to take place had made the march itself ceremonial—almost redundant. The immediate aims of the abortive earlier marches had been realized: the national conscience had been aroused and federal intervention had been secured. In a sense, the government of Alabama was now in rebellion, and the marchers, with the sanction and protection of the federal government, were demonstrating against a rebellious state. It was unclear what such a demonstration could hope to achieve. Few segregationists could be converted by it, the national commitment to civil rights would hardly be increased by it, there was certainly an element of danger in it, and for the local citizenry it might have a long and ugly aftermath. The marchers, who had five days and four nights in which to talk, tended for the most part to avoid discussions of principle, apparently in the hope that their goodwill, their sense of solidarity, and the sheer pageantry of the occasion would resolve matters at some symbolic level and yield a clear statement of practical purpose before the march came to an end.  (read more)

The Acoustic Outpost is playing an incredible show today for MLK Jr. Day.  Give a Listen!

Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for inspiring all of us.