A package arrived in the mail on Monday. I’d ordered it from Amazon, and I’d been waiting with baited breath for it to arrive.
Nothing hugely exotic or romantic; I’d ordered a simple brayer.
Two brayers, in fact: hard rubber and soft, the hard one with the black rubber being identical to the one I sold for pennies on the dollar (ahem) at a yard sale a couple of months back.
Clutterbusting, it seems, can go a bit too far.
I divested myself of the (quite possibly never-used) brayer, a quart-sized bag full of erasers (for carving stamps with), and my (granted, very limited) collection of rubber stamps, including some letters I’d carved myself.
At the time, I couldn’t imagine I’d have a need for these things, and my goal was the rid myself of the weight of all the stuff I had but wasn’t using.
It seemed only logical to sell the brayer and stamp stuff. In fact, I was proud of myself for letting go.
Then I signed up for an online class with Kelly Rae Roberts, and guess what was listed on the supply list.
Yep, a brayer.
At first I figured I’d wait and watch the videos, and see whether I really, really needed one. Surely I could get by without, right?
Well, yeah, I could have, but it just looked way too much fun. A brayer seemed like a textural tool I’d want to use, like, forever onward.
So I bit the bullet, shelled out fifteen or twenty bucks, and bought myself two new brayers, which have been getting a lot of loving since then.
This is one of my favorite pieces that shows off some brayering (the white layers):
The Moral of the Story: SHED
It would be easy to conclude that the moral of this story is to hang on to everything, because you never know when you might use it, and in fact, that was pretty much my life philosophy for a long, long time.
Which is why I now have clutter issues…
Clearly holding on to everything, just in case, is not the optimal solution, so what is?
I’m about a third of the way into the book, and I have decided that Morgenstern is a genius. She has pinpointed one of the biggest problems when it comes to clutterbusting: once you’re ready to start letting go (which really requires relinquishing an old identity… which is why it’s so godforsakenly hard), it is all too easy to be so indiscriminate and ruthless about clearing stuff out that you get rid of stuff you regret letting go of later.
Morgenstern’s solution? To come up with a theme, or vision, for the future you’re walking into. “A broad goal or feeling,” she writes, “an overarching simple expression of the adventure you’d like to be on.”
In other words, if your life were a book, what would the title of this chapter be?
The 2 1/2 years when I went on 57 first dates, for example, might have been titled The Quest to Find My Life Partner.
When the relationship that started at the end of those 2 1/2 years broke up, it started a new chapter, which might have been titled The Quest to Find My Life.
My current chapter title might be Creative Expansion.
The Importance of a Theme
Why is it important to have a theme for the chapter you’re starting (or in the middle of) now? Well, it gives you a sense of clarity about what you want to clear out, and why, and what you want to keep, and why.
As Morgenstern writes, “your theme will be your beacon, focus, and filter, paving the way….”
Had I read SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life and come up with my theme of Creative Expansion before I first ran the Great ClutterBust, back in April, perhaps I would have held onto that brayer (and stamping supplies), and not be kicking myself now for spending money on something I’d just sold for pennies at a yard sale…
Ah, well. Correct forward, as they say, and I will soon have a great opportunity to do just that, because I’m running another Great ClutterBust in October!
In the last Great ClutterBust I totally overhauled my studio, but I have a lot more clutter still to bust — physical clutter, time clutter, habit clutter — all of which Morgenstern tackles in SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life, so I’m excited to go into the next Great ClutterBust (which starts on October 1st!) with a much clearer vision, now that I have a theme.
Here’s some of what I accomplished with the first Great ClutterBust:
Reading SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life is the ideal preparatory read as I get ready to do another deep dive into clutterbusting, starting October 1st. If you’ve got clutter to clear out, of any variety, you may want to check out Morgenstern’s book yourself, and I hope you’ll join me for the Great ClutterBust! Sign up on my mailing list to get notified when I open up registration.
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!