Getting organized

Have I mentioned that this summer I read Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project? In it, she takes 12 months to tackle her vision of the world and tries to make it more positive. The first chapter is dedicated to clearing out clutter–a first-world problem to be sure, and one that I, although a self-avowed minimalist, have suffered from. Never again! Or at least, headed in that direction. This past week, with the kids back in school, I’ve been cleaning, organizing, and donating, enough that the guy in the Salvation Army truck now recognizes me. And I have to tell you: I feel better! Less is more. I know that. And yet I cling to things. Old clothes that don’t fit. And never fit, possibly. Which I never wear, because as a minimalist, I wear the same things all the time: Jeans and a t-shirt, white or black. Occasionally, a shirt of a different type. My children beg me: Wear something else!

Another thing Gretchen Rubin recommends is a Gratitude Journal. And although at first, this struck me as “so California” (Gretchen’s from New York), I quickly realized there’s no down side to taking stock and counting my blessings. I do this constantly. However, I never write these thoughts down. My journals, which I’ve kept since girlhood, are filled with things I dread or fear, or rants and complaints.

So this morning, while my son is reading quietly beside me, I will take note of a few things I’m grateful for:

  • All the obvious ones.
  • Yesterday, I got a flat tire on my minivan, going north on the 101 freeway, and safely pulled over. I called AAA and within 30 minutes, a tow truck arrived. Ten minutes later, my tire was fixed. Thank you!
  • Our tomatoes are in, and they are fabulous. Gazpacho for days. Enough frozen for spaghetti sauce all year.
  • A Friday lice check at school and we are clear!
  • Playdate today at our house, and the sun is shining so we can go outdoors.
  • This year, my goal was to read more books, and I have done that.
  • A few pending adoption cases in Guatemala have been approved, and the number of waiting families decreases.

An additional subject Gretchen talks about is making and collecting memories, through photo books and albums, and scrap books. For organized people, and I know you are out there, this is a given. For me, this remains uncharted territory. But this year, I’m motivated. The boxes and boxes of pictures that surround my desk downstairs will be organized. Not to mention the thousands of digital images that live on my computer. Soon, eventually.

If you haven’t read The Happiness Project, go borrow it from the library. (One less book to fill your shelf.) Keep an open mind, and, like me, you may finish feeling more in control of the chaos that is daily life.

Image credit: Amazon




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3 Responses to “Getting organized”

  1. David Cisco says:

    Thanks for letting everyone know about “Girl, Adopted” on PBS. Very emotional, guaranteed to make you cry.

  2. Jessica says:

    A powerful and worthwhile film. Thanks, David.

  3. [...] Rubin’s book, “The Happiness Project,” and the impact it made on my life. As I recounted here, Gretchen’s first few chapters motivated me to clear psychological space in my life by [...]

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