Well, so far, so good. I am starting each day with some quiet time, just sitting. I am extending that quiet into my drive time, for at least fifteen minutes. And I have made it 24 hours without allowing my pantry to devolve into chaos.
The de-cluttering of the pantry yesterday got me to think about all the other drawers and closets that are overflowing with either things I don’t need or things I can’t ever find. For today’s project, I decided to cull through my three drawers of t-shirts. I do go to the gym a lot, so I do burn through workout clothes, but does anyone really need 63 t-shirts?
In reality, there’s a pretty small number of shirts that are in regular rotation. Then there are a few just for sleeping. To make matters worse: some of these shirts I probably will never wear again, but I have convinced myself that they have some sort of sentimental value (because nothing jogs the memory more than a torn, mildew-stained t-shirt from your undergraduate days, right?)
Now, I didn’t expect to get down to Thoreau’s Spartan-like standards for simplicity–not on a first go, at least. But if I could cull from 63 down to a number that would fit in one drawer–and a drawer that I could easily open and close without first stuffing down shirts–I would call it a success.
The first round was rather easy. I made three stacks:
- Store as Souvenirs
I managed to discard 25 shirts without much thought, and set aside seven as souvenirs. The next go-around took a bit more thought. It’s interesting to note that the more “thought” I gave to these shirts, the more distracted I became…and the more I lost sight of the reason why I was cleaning house in the first place.
As a final tally, I allowed myself four “remembrance” shirts: a “Don’t Panic” t-shirt my brother gave me a few years before he died, a Howard Finster print, a t-shirt my kids decorated with their hand-prints when they were very young, and a Red Sox 2004 World Series Champions shirt. I also managed to discard an additional 14 shirts, bringing my t-shirt count down to 2o–about 1/3 of where I started, and all fitting in one drawer.
As with everything I have attempted so far, I am not claiming to make major strides here toward simplifying my days. All I am looking for are small steps, each of which hopefully will help me reduce unnecessary complexities and entanglements in my daily life–and inch me that much closer toward living deliberately.