seat of the week

You often hear about the chair in this journal.
I say ‘chair’ but I speak of every object in the room.
When I say chair, I speak of the table,
I speak of the bed
I speak of books
I speak of you.

When you see or hear about the chair in this journal,
allow it to take on the shape of any object you’re ready to start dialogue with.


Above: Clean design, optimum comfort. Spotted in the Paramount at South Market.

See others that have been featured here.

 

paperwork pile up

Here’s the thing about procrastination: The longer we put it off, the more frightening it becomes. But when we finally sit down and get to it, we realize it’s not so bad after all. This is the case with all things declutter. It’s not ideal to let our papers pile up, but the greater the distance between ourselves and our clutter, the easier it is to let it go when the time comes.

The first step is to make a decision. Always. Not just in design; not just in declutter. In all aspects of life, we must first decide we want to make change before it can actually happen. Shift from “I should probably…” to “It’s time that I…” Decide on a day to sit down and organize your paperwork. If you have a sporadic schedule, choose a month instead of day. Plant the intention in your mind and commit to it.

When the opportunity arises, seize it. Start by adjusting your attitude. Instead of dreading the process, imagine how light you’ll feel as you eliminate chaos from your home. Create an uplifting atmosphere. Light candles, play music, listen to an audiobook or a podcast, invite your pet. Allow yourself to get excited about finally letting go.

The goal is to trash what you don’t need (likely the majority of the clutter), organize what’s left and develop habits that prevent pile up from returning. Most of your paperwork will fall into the categories that follow:

Junk mail
Trash. It. All.

Receipts
Most likely all trash. Even the ones you kept just in case you decided to make a return. That was probably months ago and the receipt has probably expired. When given the option, only accept receipts you need. And even then, be real about your behavior. Are you a person that actually makes time for returns? If not, don’t bother with the receipt.

Bank Statements
Hard copies aren’t necessary. The info is neatly organized online and doesn’t take up space in your house. Shred em all and opt for paperless statements.

Bills
Same. The info is online. No duplicates necessary. Go paperless.

Insurance policies, investments and retirement accounts
It might help to have a hard copy of account details for reference. Organize into an expandable folder or a file drawer if you have one. More than likely though, you’ll end up calling customer service with your question anyway.

Manuals
We hold onto manuals as if there’s major danger looming amid our electronics. And while malfunctions are imminent, it’s instinct for me to take my questions to YouTube. Thousands of people experienced the same problem and more importantly have found a fix. Plus, many product manuals are online as well. I prefer to keep manuals for speakers, TVs, game consoles, etc. But that’s just in case I decide to sell. And that’s only to make the purchase feel more official because the buyer too, probably takes their questions to YouTube.

Business cards
This one’s tough. I personally feel guilty for throwing away people’s cards. It feels like I’m trashing their effort. At the same time, people giving out business cards should know there’s a chance they might end up in the trash. Even business cards that get used only get used a couple times. Once you’re in communication with somebody you probably have their number locked in or their email address saved. Then the card is useless. Eventually, I accept that sometimes decluttering is cut throat and I trash what I don’t need.
Cut back on what you bring home by saving the number on site or taking a picture of the card. In some settings this might not be appropriate but do what you can when you can to reduce what comes home with you daily.

Will Read Eventually
Eventually is now. Start reading through the brochures, flyers and miscellany you kept for later reading. In less than three minutes you’ll know if it’s a document you need.

tree housing

tree housing.JPG
“The rotting trunk now becomes home to a complex living community. Wood ants move in and chew the moldy wood to make their paper nests. They soak the nest walls with honeydew, the sugary excretions of aphids. Fungi bloom on this substrate, and their fibrous web stabilizes the nest. A multitude of beetles are drawn to the mushy, rotten interior of the cavity. Their larvae can take years to develop, and therefore they need stable, long-term accommodations.”

The Hidden Life of Trees | Wohlleben | 2015

seat of the week

mac collins

You often hear about the chair in this journal.
I say ‘chair’ but I speak of every object in the room.
When i say chair, I speak of the table,
I speak of the bed
I speak of books
I speak of you.

When you see or hear about the chair in this journal,
allow it to take on the shape of any object you’re ready to start dialogue with.


Above: Iklwa by Mac Collins. “…when used, the throne conjures up notions of authority, empowerment and dominance against oppression.
“Drawing inspiration from his African Cultural heritage, Mac has created a furniture piece which is in tune with the ideas of Afrocentrism and Afrofuturism. Through a composition of powerful, spear-like forms, an encompassing backrest and a vivid, ultramarine hue, the designer has created a visually intense object designed to dominate and overwhelm its surroundings.” As described on maccollins.com

See others that have been featured here.

making space after they move out

from living with love to letting go

making space

1. Make a decision

The decision might take weeks, months or years to make. Either way, you can’t move on until you’ve made a solid decision to do so. Get clear on the reasons why you need to move forward and then commit. Don’t waste energy pretending with yourself. If you think you’re not ready, ask why not? More than likely you know what’s best for you. So what’s holding you back? Is it fear of being alone? Is it refusal to accept rejection?

2. Get rid of their shit

Once you’ve committed, all there is to do is move on. If they left something useful like a blender or a pack of light bulbs, there’s no harm in making use of these things (unless of course, the objects are emotionally charged and you can’t make a smoothie without crying). Otherwise gather up the other’s belongings and get them out of your site. If returning them to their owner isn’t an option, trash or donate. Envision yourself throwing out the tension and confusion that often accompany a break up. Also consider decluttering your devices. Maybe you unfollow their social media, delete text threads or get rid of pictures.

3. Vacuum, Sweep, Dust

Even if we sweep regularly, the past still finds a way to pile itself on the floor in the form of dust, hair, crumbs and dirt. All remnants of days that have already passed. There’s a lift in the atmosphere after a room has been swept or vacuumed. There’s a sense of renewal after dust bunnies and cobwebs have been cleared. These chores should be practiced regularly but are vital at the dawn of a reset.

4. Smudge the space

Crack a window and light your sage. Light your palo santo or your incense. Whatever resonates. Smoke out the main areas (bedrooms, living rooms) and also pay closets attention to closets, corners and the space behind shelves. Imagine the debris from the relationship dissipating with the smoke. Recite affirmations if you need to.
“I deserve to be loved, caressed and treated with respect.”
“I no longer accept abuse as the norm.”
When you’re done, take it outside and let the ashes catch the wind.

5. Rearrange the rooms

Build new space. Move the bed around. Move the desk and the lamps. Change up the book shelves. Switch up what’s on the wall. The part of you that’s attached to the other will no longer know how to navigate this new space and thus you’ll create new patterns.

6. Find some new energy

Buy yourself something new. Get a new plant or some flowers, an accent chair, a new rug, art for the walls, new sheets. Or go big and buy a new couch or a bedroom set. Again, you’re creating a space where the ‘old you’ is no longer comfortable, thus requiring you to do something new.

The six steps might happen in a day or they might take a few months. Healing looks different for everyone. So be gentle and allow yourself to go through the process. Sort through your feelings. Figure out what’s at the core of your anger or your confusion. Be grateful for what you learned from the relationship. And most importantly, understand that the universe is helping you declutter your life to make room for what’s next.

the dis-ease of dislocation

wanderer three

“Georgia wasn’t her home, nor Cleveland or California. They had been only way stations that she had passed through. The thought of her dislocation was stifling; the number of places she couldn’t claim, dizzying. She had stopped at them all only long enough to get her picture taken.”

Linden Hills | Gloria Naylor | 1985

seat of the week

finn juhl cheiftain

You often hear about the chair in this journal.
I say ‘chair’ but I speak of every object in the room.
When i say chair, I speak of the table,
I speak of the bed
I speak of books
I speak of you.

When you see or hear about the chair in this journal,
allow it to take on the shape of any object you’re ready to start dialogue with.


Above: Cheiftain Chair. Originally born in 1949, this Danish design was resurrected in 2002 by Finn Juhl. Materials: Teak, walnut and leather.

See others that have been featured here.

For keep’s sake Let it go

knowing when to let go of gifts and other sentimental objects

keep's sake

Countless times in cleaning, I come across dust-coated objects that are utterly useless to me but still decide to keep them, only because they were gifts. Is it ever appropriate to throw out a gift someone gave you?

If your goal is to enrich and evolve yourself, you’ll naturally shed what’s no longer useful. If you’ve lost the connections you once had with gifts from loved ones or objects that were sentimental, don’t feel guilty about it. It’s a sign of growth and that should be celebrated.

For me, the realization that it’s time to let go often comes like an epiphany, usually accompanied by tears. I cry because I’m mourning the girl that I am no longer and at the same time I’m making space for who I’m becoming.

For you, letting go might look different. Maybe the realization builds itself up little by little over months or years. Maybe you know you’re not strong enough to let go and enlist help from a friend who’s not attached. Maybe you won’t feel right until you run it by the gift giver: “Hey, remember that book you got me for my birthday in 05? Man I read that book a thousand times. It fed me for years. I’ve been thinking lately though, maybe someone else could benefit from it. How would you feel if I donated it or gave it to a friend?”

keep or discard?

If you’re not ready to let go, don’t.

If you aren’t sure, ask yourself:

  • Is the item useful to you?
  • If not, can it be of use to someone else?
  • Is the item’s sole purpose to represent a memory? If so, consider taking photos of it or writing down what you love and what you learned from the memory. Then, let it go. Give the item to someone who can use it or throw it away if it’s useless.
  • Is the object emotionally charged? Do you look at it and travel back in time, reactivating emotions you felt? Is this productive or destructive for you? Are you holding on to hurt by keeping this item around? If so, let it go. Let go of hurt. Make space for love.

becoming

becoming one
becoming two

“As a person’s self image changes, he or she is able to put away or dispose of objects that no longer reflect who they are, and acquire or make others. Thus, where we live becomes a kind of stage set onto which our self-image is projected…The house interior for most people – unlike the structure itself – is rarely wholly fixed or finished. Like the exploration of self, the arrangement of the domestic interior is often in the process of becoming.” House as a Mirror of Self | 1995