Monday, May 31, 2010

In Search Of Inner Freedom And Peace

First I want to say a huge heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our incredible service men and women who defend this great country of ours and who willingly put their lives on the line for us to live in freedom. God bless you and your families!!

Here is a shot of the lovely mammatus clouds that passed over us earlier today, at the tail end of the thunder and rain. Aren't they cool looking?

I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like to lately. I've been studying SEO and making changes to my shop. With over 200 items it is quite time-consuming and I am really hoping that these changes will help my sales start to climb. I feel like I've done as much as I can handle for awhile, having spent the past month on this, almost exclusively.

For a little change of pace I am looking at re-organizing my work area. For those of you who read my blog, you know this is an ongoing project for me. I am still in search of that ever-elusive perfect arrangement! This time I'm trying to apply some of the techniques I have learned for other areas of the house, like putting items nearest to their 'point of use'. I have certain drawers and places that are easier access than others. For those places that are prime real estate, I want to only keep things that I use most frequently. Things I use less frequently will go in the harder to reach and farther away spots. That seems simple enough until you start to apply it and there is limited space and it can get rather complicated.

Being a person who recycles old jewelry and bits and pieces of almost anything, makes it even more of a challenge to maintain order. I keep things that many people would deem "trash". Of course it also makes it hard to ever get rid of anything! I do have to be a bit brutal here and let go of some of these things. I just dread the thought that I will finally get rid of a piece and the next day the inspiration for that piece will hit me, and I just threw it out! It almost seems inevitable. But I have to thin things out a bit so I will have to bite the bullet! I can at least place those questionable items in a farther away place from the work area.

One thing I find most challenging is how to store my tools. I use them constantly, so I don't want them in a drawer. But I don't like them strewn about either. For now I have them in a re-purposed oatmeal box. I cut the box to the right height, then removed the inner cardboard circle from the lid and replaced that plastic rim onto my cut down box for added strength. I keep all my tools in there and it's worked very nicely. It's not the most attractive piece. I could finish it with duct tape, which would make it even stronger, or I could paper over it. I don't mine the Oats label enough to bother.

I'm a huge fan of "bouquets" - those open round containers like this one, for keeping tools, or kitchen utensils or pencils in one easy to reach spot. It's so much easier to grab something out of a bouquet than to open a drawer and go fishing around. I have a stainless steel one in the kitchen for all my wooden spoons and cooking utensils. I found it at the thrift store of course. That's where about 75% of my belongings come from. I especially love finding the kitchen throw-aways from restaurants, which are very high quality stainless steel pans and utensils. Maybe they have a dent or ding but they are perfectly usable for me and I could never afford this stuff new!

Another project on my mind is to set my house to "cottage mode" for the summer. I like to lighten the load in whatever areas I can so that I have to spend less time washing dishes and doing laundry, and can spend more time doing fun things like yard work and swimming, and making jewelry.

One way to lighten the load in the kitchen is by reducing the number of dishes we use. There are only three people in my little family, so why do we need 8 dinner plates? Whatever number of dishes I have, that is how many will be used. It's a law of housewifery. It doesn't matter how many people there are, or even how often I wash the dishes. At some point, every plate in the house will be dirty, and this will happen often. I don't own a dishwasher so even with only three people, dish washing is a constant chore. I will give each person one plate, cup, bowl, and silverware set. Then the most I will ever have to wash is 3 of each item! Sounds good to me. I'll keep the rest in an upper cabinet for when we have company.

I have done the same with bed linens and towels. Cut down the number of items available and it automatically cuts down laundry time. We've actually managed to cut our laundry time to half of what it used to be. We have one set of sheets that are washed, dried, and replaced on the bed in one session. No more washing several sets of sheets and pillow cases. We used to use, wash and dry a dozen towels every week. That's two loads even in the big front loader. We cut that in half by simply putting half the towels into storage, along with the extra bedding. When the ones we're using wear out, we'll pull out the next set.

If you are feeling really brave, you can cut down laundry time even further by taking an honest look at your wardrobe. Here's where the old 80/20 rule comes into play. It says that we typically use only 20% of the clothes we own. The other 80% sits there either waiting for "when I lose this weight" or "that special occasion", or whatever the case is that you have made for keeping it. The advantage to never culling your wardrobe of course, is that someday you will have a closet full of awesome vintage items! You can amaze your grandchildren. If you have plenty of space and that's your thing, go for it! If you want to live a little lighter, definitely give this a go. You will be amazed at how freeing it is to get rid of those pieces that you only hold onto because you spent "good money" on it - even though it's ugly or doesn't fit you anymore. It's a purifying and exhilarating experience to unload those pieces and in the process, unhooking yourself from all the bad feelings associated with them! Just imagine opening your closet in the morning and seeing only clothes that fit you today, only clothes that are flattering and pretty, and only pieces that you really like to wear! Talk about lifting your spirits!!

I take this philosophy to every room in the house. You can apply it to the bathroom shelves, the kitchen drawers, those storage units in the garage, everywhere you keep things that you own.
It is an ongoing process for me. I have purged the entire house a few times, and the result was a profound experience of new inner freedom and peace. Our material possessions do cost us beyond their purchase price. We need to periodically weigh those costs and benefits to be sure our possessions aren't possessing us and squelching us.

Here's to finding more freedom in our lives!


  1. I totally agree about lightening of clothes and laundry and everything! I recently did a culling of clothes in the hopes of being part of a clothing swap event type thing. It was very freeing and I hope to be part of something like that again. As an artist, it can be very hard to cull inspirational objects that look like trash to others. I haven't been as successful at thinning these objects. It is amazing to me how much objects hold us in their sway! Some 'trash' I have a hard time imagining not in my apartment.
    I love the bouquet idea! I will have to try it soon.

  2. I have yet to find the energy after this cold to actually get down to applying these things! Maybe today is the day.
    Thanks for reading and commenting Lia...I always love seeing your feedback here!