One of my current goals is to eliminate the clutter from my life and to live more simply. I had the opportunity to go on a service trip about a month ago that was really impactful for me. Our group traveled to Jonesville, Virginia to assist in repairing homes for low-income families through the Appalachia Service Project (ASP). ASP focuses on making families homes warmer, safer and drier. Unlike Habitat for Humanity, the organization does not build or rebuild new homes for the families, but rather improves the exisiting structures. This can provide unique challenges where you never know what you might find after pulling up a floor - the boards underneath could be rotten, the joists could be uneven (in our the walls also uneven, which made cutting new floor pieces a challenge as each was a custom fit). Our group certainly ran into obstacles along the way, but in the end, we did some meaningful work for some really great families.
Through the trip, I reflected on the way that I live, and was inspired to find opportunities to live a rich, but more simple life. I have found that to be much harder to do back in my own environment, surrounded by chaos. I don't work regular hours, which contributes to some bad habits like eating out more often and leaving my apartment looking like a hurricane blew through. I'm not the most frugal person, and I live in a sea of clutter - both things that I want to change. I am generally not a neat person, and have struggled for some time to find new methods of organization that work for me and that I can maintain. I am committed to clearing out the physical, mental, and emotional clutter from my life so that I can be a happier and healthier person.
One resource that I've found to help with the physical clutter is The Clutter Diet. I found it at some point last year through Real Simple or another similar magazine. It is this great organizational web site that treats eliminating clutter like losing weight. You get a newsletter each week with different action items that break down organizing into specific areas of focus each week. You weigh in each week, with "weight loss" measured in putting time towards the different action items and eliminating bags of trash, or boxes of items to be donated. There are additional online tutorials and trainings for different types of organization methods and for specific areas of the house, as well as cleaning manuals and other helpful items. I first utilized the site for a period last spring and found it to be really helpful. Not everything applies to me (i.e. I don't have a garage), but I've committed that time towards other areas. I just re-registered (for $14.95/mo), and am excited to begin making progress on my apartment.
As a side note, I had an unexpected major purchase this past month when I had a tire blow out one night. Note to self: Don't hit the median. It's expensive. I ended up having to buy two new tires, which certainly isn't cheap. The reality is that my car really needed all four replaced, and so I'll likely be getting two more before next winter. Ahh, the expenses of being a grown up.
I'm thankful for springtime the beautiful weather that we are having, and I look forward to the pool opening at my apartment complex in just over a month. There's no better way to spend a weekend afternoon than laying out by the pool with a good book to read.