Paring Down and Moving On

The older I get, the more I want need to get rid of the excess. I spent too much of my twenties accumulating things for no good reason. When I think of how much money could have been socked away, I shudder. Now that I know better (although I did know better before, I just ignored the trap of consumerism), I do better. A lot better.

Over the summer, I decided to put special emphasis on cleaning out my life (all areas) for the last six months of the year. Taking that much time has been important, this way, I don’t feel rushed or too crazy and I can still maintain my life. So far, I’ve given away hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of books and a bunch of gently worn clothes that the child, nor I can or will wear anymore. I’ve also thrown away a bunch of crap that would be of no use to anyone.

One of the reasons that I am doing this is because stuff is a distraction. The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to keep up with and keep clean. No Ma’am! I don’t want to spend my “free” time cleaning, arranging and organizing. I have things to do and places to go.

In many ways, my Six Month Clean Out is setting me up to be more productive in 2011 and beyond. I’ve been pretty productive this year, but next year, I am going to blow it out of the water. The initial step I took was getting rid of my television in the spring. No television wasn’t new to me. I lived for three years in NYC without a television, enjoying life and talk radio, until my mother decided that I needed a television; that was in 1997 and I just got rid of that same TV. Buh-bye! Now, that nearly $100/month for the cable bill goes toward something that needs to be paid off — student loans.

I’m extending my purging into my online life as well. I’ve been reading Leo Babauta’s Focus (free PDF) and I have realized that being overly-connected to the Matrix internet, can be just as damaging as being overly-connected to material objects. Neatness, order and simplicity bring a certain feeling of peace, to me at least and after I cleaned up my computer desktop and organized my files yesterday, I unsubscribed from at least 75 blogs in my Google Reader and organized the rest via folders. I barely read half of them anyway and now I don’t feel like I actually have to read them all. Less pressure is a good thing.

Over the rest of the week, I am scaling back on my social networks, particularly Facebook, Twitter (I have 4 accounts on Twitter alone) and LinkedIn. I will keep my accounts, but I’ll be deleting folks and scaling back my usage of them all. I don’t need to check them several times a day and with the advent of applications like Hootsuite, I can schedule all of my business-related tweets.

Here’s to getting all of my house in order so that I can spend more time being creative, productive, and building a better me!