The thing about glitter is if you get it on you, be prepared to have it on you forever. Glitter is the herpes of craft supplies.
Demetri Martin

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Purging for More ... Less

I guess it's time I came to terms. Lately, I've sucked at blogging.

It's true, don't even try to defend me. It's not like I've been busy in other aspects of my life ... relocating, buying and selling a house (and anyone who's ever successfully sold a house with two small kids feels my pain), looking for new childcare, not to mention a new job, and doing endless loads of laundry. Okay, I just stuck that last one in there, but you KNOW what I'm talking about. 

Needless to say, things have been rather stark raving mad around here.And a little crazy, too.

So, just so we're clear: I'm moving. To beautiful Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Yippee!

One great thing about moving (cause there's so many wonderful things about moving to choose from...) is that it has helped me in my goal to live more simply. Well, paradoxically anyway. Amongst the whirlwind of activity, I have strived - and had some success in achieving - more ... well, less.

I know, very in vogue with the minimalist culture that has recently become so popular. I'm totally lame.

Lame or not, I have found myself being sucked into this decluttered, anti-multitasking, anti-procrastination uprising. An environment organized through nothing more than simple living is highly desirable to me and totally congruent with our situation.

As some of you may know, I work as a critical care RN in an environment that (sparing the extensive dream-job details) is at best - chaotic. In terms of my speciality (intensive care), embracing chaos is an occupational requirement for success, not to mention survival.

So dispite my distraction from blogging and crafting in the midst of my family's move, I have been examining this 'less is more' persuasion on a rather informal basis and trying to incorporate some of these values into the challenge of downsizing both my home and my life.

Something that I've found rather inspiring and captivating is a blog called Zen Habits created by writer and minimalist Leo Babauta.

With regard to my work, I've decided that my primary role amongst the chaos and technology is to provide comfort for my patient and their family. May seem like a no brainer, but when you've got plummeting vital signs, loudly alarming life support, team members yelling orders, crying, stress-induced body odor, cardiac arrest, running, sweating, prolonged intervals between bathroom breaks, too-unstable-to-move road trips, rapidly depleting bedside stock, devastating prognoses, policies and protocols, skin breakdown, multi-system organ failure and code pager assignment, comfort is often overlooked in favor of sustaining life - to put it 'simply'.

I'm coming to accept that while I can't change many of these things and I may feel conflicted in varying ways much of the time in this setting, I do have the ability to provide comfort within the chaos. I have specialized skills, professionalism and a disposition that fosters comfort, and this is something that I have relative contol over. And this is the simple truth that I am trying to focus on at work.

At home and with our move, I am trying to maintain focus on keeping things as simple as possible. We will be downsizing with this move and accordingly, various aspects of our home are in need of downsizing. All of those dishes you've accumulated since your first appartment - when is the last time you've used them. Likely not since before you bought the 'new' set you got 5 years ago to replace them.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

I'm here to tell you - the sensation achieved through the purging of material possessions is exhilerating. Do you have any idea how much I own that I don't need, use, or in some cases even care about? Of course you do, because you are in the same boat and likely getting wrapped up in the same minimalism net in which I've found myself. Corn-ily stated, yes - but true nonetheless.

This purging is also serving to help the many people who are in need of very basic things, right here in my own community. Whenever I look at something that I don't use or need but have been holding on to because it's really nice OR I might need it some day OR I got a smoking deal on it OR someone gave it to me OR I saved for months to buy it however long ago, I remind myself that someone else may be able to use it right now - that someone might need it right now. And this helps me feel good about my decision to part with the item, and reinforces my sense of selflessness.

As well, this has cut down on much of the casual spending I do with my over abundance of currency. Note the sarcasm... When I'm at the store and I see something that is on sale, potentially useful, that I've always wanted or cool and desirable I ask myself, "Self, do you really need this?" Yes you have space for it in a junk draw somewhere in the house where it can lay idle for the next 5 years, but there must be something that is more worthy of my hard earned and generally lacking funds. I think about the surplus of things I am presently wading through in an attempt to reestablish simplicity. Do I really need to add to that, even before I've truely trialed at overcoming that very thing?

So, unsimply put, this is what I've been at in my absent Third Street days. Hoping to see more of you as this adventure unfolds.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Moving is a great time to declutter, isn't it? And you're right -- you feel very light and free once all that STUFF is gone! Stuff can drag you down, that's for sure.

Good luck with your move to Wolfville! May everything go smoothly!

Andrea on Third Street said...

Thanks. I'm pretty sure that once the dust settles, there will be many a update regarding our family's adventure. Consider yourself warned.

Lyndsay said...

Andrea! I'm sad to see you're leaving, I think I just moved into your neighborhood in Up. Tantallon and you're moving out!
But Wolfville is so pretty, I just love it there! Best wishes for a smooth move, I'll be waiting to hear more on your adventures and hope our paths will cross!


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