Friday, July 14, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 14

"Isn't this your old house?" a friend asked, pointing to an image on her iPad. I bent closer. The photograph resembled my old Four-Square: brick walkway, L-shaped porch, and Corinthian columns. In 1995, I had stood across the busy street, trying to determine the best placement for those columns. The house was over 100-years old, and I'd spent three years renovating (in the house's long history, which included overhauls from many owners, those three years were tiny). Back then, I'd painted the clapboards pale yellow, the shutters bottle green. I'd lived there a decade, until my husband wanted to raise chickens and move to the country. I remember leaning against those columns and crying. Well, time to dream another dream. 
A decade sped by. The farm came and went, and now we were living in a 70s Ranch. The old yellow Four-Square had witnessed changes, too. The green shutters were painted brown, the wicker swing disappeared, and the azaleas were trimmed like crepe myrtles, in curious V-shapes. The latest owners had fixed all that, updating the exterior and interior. I liked the new paint: Beige clapboard, navy blue shutters, red door. But I had no clue what had changed inside.
      Now, the couple was moving.
      My friend and I were addicted to the virtual tour, enlarging the photos, fawning over details.  I absolutely loved the makeover. (I wish I could share the photos, but I don't have permission from the copyright holder.) Soft whites, with blue accents. Fresh flowers. A mixture of chairs in the  breakfast room. The overall vibe was fresh, elegant, and understated--just the look I'd wanted for the ranch, but it had been beyond my capabilities.
      While I had no desire to return to the old house, I was inspired. Not so much by the gorgeous, simple draperies and lovely furnishings, but by the designer's less is more philosophy. When I'd lived in the house, no wall had been safe. I had stalked every inch, cramming art and furniture into every niche. Well, it's a family tradition.
                     I hadn't done that at the Ranch, not yet, but I'd been thinking about it.
Now, I made a pact with myself to adhere to a less is more style.
The same thing is true with our emotional selves. We can take on too many obligations or set too many goals. Over-committing can crowd the soul.

Today, I removed one item from each room.
Without stopping to think, I donated a Jeep-full of stuff to Goodwill.
Each day I will try to remove three things from my house, no matter if it's a jar in the refrigerator. 

Today, I will learn how to edit my inner life, too.
I will try to say "no" more often.


  1. I will join you and try to remove three things from my house each day :0) We have been in the same home which we love for 25 years. My husband would like a bigger garage LOL so who knows if he will want us to move some day. I better start downsizing just in case.

  2. I have followed the 40 bags in 40 days group (White House, Black Shutters blog and FB). It is therapeutic, and I have persuaded one sister to join it for health reasons of all sorts. Yet, I accumulate too. {Sigh}. It's a struggle.

  3. Yes...I've been sort of doing that for several months...but in a haphazard way. I think I'll join you...and set a goal. ;)

  4. I can do that! I've actually been editing and donating off and one over the past few years, but yet I continue to add more when something calls my name. I like the idea of 3 things a day. I will start tomorrow, assign a box in the garage, and then donate it all when the box is full. Yes, I can do that!

  5. I seem to have energy for everything but decluttering and have inspired...also yesterday I was feeling overwhelmed by the 5 projects I had set out on the table to finish in the next 2 days, so I simply put the things away and said, not now, relax! I poured some wine and went to the porch with a book, no guilt, just relief! But I am going to declutter, one bagful at a time...

  6. Three things a day is doable, and I have a head start with a pile of things in my closet!