inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #76 of 119: Lauren Rosenfeld (lgosenfeld) Wed 4 Jun 14 13:54
    
Elaine: Yes, containers can not only be an excuse to hang onto
clutter, they can become clutter in and of themselves. I'm not a big
fan of colorful containers and creative organizational schemes. 

I see lots of cute ideas like these on Pinterest. So, for example: a
shoe box with upright empty toilet paper rolls hot-glued inside as a
way to store 157* or so markers. It's very clever. But I want to know:
Why do you have 157 markers? 

*I don't know if 157 was the actual number. It just looked like it
from the photo. :)
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #77 of 119: Celia Chapman (lark) Wed 4 Jun 14 14:51
    
"retain therapy" paging Dr. Freud.  

Much to think about with respect to information.  For me it's all
about satisfying curiosity, learning and being informed.  And I'm
always afraid I'll get rid of a book or article and then want to read
it.  I have had that happen unfortunately.  (With ebooks and secondhand
online booksellers and libraries with their catalogs online I don't
worry about that as much as I used to.)
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #78 of 119: Elaine Sweeney (sweeney) Wed 4 Jun 14 14:59
    
>"retain therapy" paging Dr. Freud.  

Truly.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #79 of 119: Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Wed 4 Jun 14 15:20
    
I use an addon for Firefox called Scrapbook. It saves web pages into
folders that you can name and organize. Stops me from the "100 tabs
open" issue, because if I have a tab open for several days and haven't
read it I'm probably not going to get to it soon. If I want to keep it
for reference, I can do it there without my browser getting unusable.

I used to use services like Furl and delicious, but they kept going
defunct, so I went for the local solution.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #80 of 119: Celia Chapman (lark) Wed 4 Jun 14 15:30
    
("Retain therapy" is actually brilliant shorthand for summing up why
it's so tempting for some of us.)
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #81 of 119: 99 Percent Pseud Free! (mim) Wed 4 Jun 14 15:35
    

(aside: delicious is no longer defunct... I use it all the time)
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #82 of 119: Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Wed 4 Jun 14 16:31
    
(Yeah, I know it came back but it was my second attempt at an online
solution and I gave up on it.)
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #83 of 119: Elaine Sweeney (sweeney) Wed 4 Jun 14 16:39
    
Yeah, the "retain therapy" is a nice metaphor - we go out and get
something because we think it sustains us or feeds us in some subtle
way, and then we retain it because it's tied to that myth even though
all the evidence tells us it doesn't.

It reminds me of the man who wrote about meditating on his home
workshop and why he had all these tools - the Swiss router, the
top-of-the-line bandsaw, when he almost never used them, and almost
certainly never to their capacity - he realized he had an image of
himself as a master craftsman.  And the money (and space) he had sunk
into the tools fed that.

I think that is why many of us say we have trouble getting shed of
books, or articles, or magazines, or online references - we feel we are
master knowledge-workers and all that feeds that image, so we retain
it.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #84 of 119: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 4 Jun 14 17:30
    

Very well said, Elaine.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #85 of 119: Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Wed 4 Jun 14 17:54
    
That makes a lot of sense. And even the most master carpenter or
knowledge worker can only use so many tools.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #86 of 119: Elaine Sweeney (sweeney) Wed 4 Jun 14 17:59
    
That's true - but it's particularly bad when it gets to not being able
to find the tool you need beneath the piles.  Or not even remembering
you have it.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #87 of 119: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Thu 5 Jun 14 08:15
    
>Are any of you interested in the idea of a whole clear room? The
breathing space that is part of the title of the book? 

I'd say that this book has gotten me noticing the *space* as much or
more than the stuff. A very cool figure-ground shift. I think we've
gotten so used to valuing tools and stuff for the what they do, or
promise to do that we forget what space does.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #88 of 119: Lauren Rosenfeld (lgosenfeld) Thu 5 Jun 14 11:32
    
First of all: Retail/Retain Therapy! LOL! Brilliant. 

And in regards to the comment just above by RVW: 

Yes, we've come to value stuff and tools over space. Space makes us
nervous -- we've come to associate it with boredom and scarcity. So
when a space opens up, we rush to fill it before we've had a chance to
explore the potential that is held within the empty space.

I think we all could develop a gentle curiosity about what the
emptiness could hold for us. 

Maybe emptiness hold UNknowing. And maybe (even those of us who
consider ourselves "master knowledge workers" could get comfortable
with unknowing. 

So let's say you don't have a whole room to hold open. What about an
empty corner? An empty chair? An empty shelf?

What if we held emptiness to be sacred? And what would that look like
in each of our lives? 
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #89 of 119: Frako Loden (frako) Thu 5 Jun 14 13:37
    
I think one of the reasons I love to watch Maru the cat is his environment.
It's very Japanese, very light-colored wood and tatami mats, everything very
neutral-colored and clean. No music, no TV in the background. No clutter.
Maybe a small white appliance or two in a corner. It's so peaceful and
serene to me.

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxdmq41kWOE>
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #90 of 119: Celia Chapman (lark) Thu 5 Jun 14 13:44
    
I'm always impressed by how uncluttered Maru's house is!
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #91 of 119: Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Thu 5 Jun 14 14:00
    
I love Maru and Maru's house.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #92 of 119: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Thu 5 Jun 14 15:15
    
What space is looking like to me this week (and I think you allude to
this in the book) is the opportunity to get calm and centered. The last
couple of weeks have been hectic and I've noticed myself scanning
empty space as renewal opportunity. For example, earlier today, with
every surface in my cube at work cluttered with the week's activity,
instead of running out to take a break to get away from it all, or
anxiously shuffling more paper, I noticed how empty and inviting my
guest-chair was. So I went over and sat in it. Ahhh!

Two other things I'd like to comment on: first, it's really
interesting having my self-judgement softened by your emphasis on
compassion.  Even though I've been too busy to do much decluttering,
the too-many-things around are draining away less of my presence and
attention.  Often I look at something and it reminds me of something I
wanted to do, should do, etc. (like the shorts and the knitting and the
future reading mentioned above).  This week, I've been paying more
attention to what I *am* doing.  One crazy day, not untypical, coming
home to many shoulds and worries, all I managed to do before bed was
the dishes, listen to my daughter work through a school presentation,
and catch part of the ball game.  And I surprised myself as I was
falling asleep by not running through one more time what I hadn't done
but instead how fun listening to the presentation was, etc.  It's a
powerful point you make in the book that you don't build your capacity
by flogging yourself, you build it by celebrating yourself.

Second point is a question.  It always seems that discussions of
decluttering end with the stuff leaving the premises to some vague
"away" as if tossing is all you need to do.  But much of my anxiety
about letting things go is shame about how wasteful my/our culture is. 
I hate sending things to the landfill, and often hold onto stuff just
because I'm deterimined to find a better way.  So with increased
awareness of reuse and recycling, and new ways to get rid of things
like Freecycle and e-bay, have you noticed any change for your clients
who might have a similar anxiety to mine?  Any recommendations?
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #93 of 119: Celia Chapman (lark) Thu 5 Jun 14 15:41
    
I was looking at my very cluttered desk today and trying to imagine
all the surfaces clear.  Wondering how that would feel.

Meanwhile I am off to get a copy of the book!  At my local independent
store if they have it in stock.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #94 of 119: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Thu 5 Jun 14 16:23
    
I still haven't found my original copy.  I guess when I find it, I can
mark the event as a de-cluttering milestone.

But it's sorta weird - books are the one thing I usually do not lose!
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #95 of 119: Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Thu 5 Jun 14 17:10
    
I don't think of stuff as sacred, because that's not my way of
approaching the world, but thinking of space as useful or nurturing or,
I don't know, worthy might be a way to describe it, definitely
stretches my mind. Space as something that has its own meaning.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #96 of 119: Lauren Rosenfeld (lgosenfeld) Fri 6 Jun 14 10:54
    
Rip Van Winkle: Yes, not wanting to waste is a huge motivation for
many cluttered individuals to hang onto their stuff. And I understand
that. I don't want to fill up landfills either.

So yes, Freecycle and recycling are excellent options. As are
Craigslist and Ebay and donation centers. Just so long as these don't
become excuses to hang onto things longer. If you have a pile of stuff
that you were going to list on Freecycle or Craigslist, etc. and that
pile has been sitting around for more than a year, chances are you are
not going to list it. So, better to give it away. 

I try to steer people away from fantasies of repurposing, though. I
find that many people who are cluttered have plans to turn milk jugs
into greenhouses or old records into guitar picks or broken ladders
into bookshelves ... We have to be honest with ourselves about whether
we have the time or the energy or the interest in doing such things.
And here's why: 

Ultimately most everything we own is going to wind up in the dump. And
if we don't sort through it ourselves, separating out the meaningful
from the not-so-meaningful, the significant for the insignificant --
then somewhere down the line, it's likely that someone will decide it's
all too difficult to sort through. They'll figure they'll never make
sense of what mattered to you or not. And they'll dump it. Which is why
I say MAKE SENSE OF IT NOW. If it's trash, it's better that you send
it to the dump then make it someone else's job.

Because, ultimately, the waste happens when we purchase things we
don't need in the first place. Either we overbuy or we impulse purchase
or (and I've seen it many times) we go to thrift stores and try to
rescue things that might be of use, but never are. And I believe that
we often shop and acquire out of our consuming emotions: guilt, fear,
worry. We are uneasy about our own impermanence so we buy things that
are new, not realizing or recognizing that those things, too, are
impermanent. 

As a society we need to come to terms with the amount of stuff we
purchase and dispense with. We all need to change our habits of being
and our habits of acquiring. 

So yes, absolutely, if it can be recycled, reused, or repurposed -- do
that! But don't let the drive to save it from the dump be an excuse to
hang on. Sort what you love from what you don't. Live just with what
you love. And let what you love be your legacy. 
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #97 of 119: Frako Loden (frako) Fri 6 Jun 14 12:19
    
So wise--and good to hear that.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #98 of 119: Julie Sherman (julieswn) Fri 6 Jun 14 13:47
    
Our two week conversation with Lauren Rosenfeld has come to an end. I
want to thank Lauren for a great discussion that leaves me, for one,
with a lot to think about and a new way to look at my clutter. As
always, this topic will remain open indefinitely for further
discussion.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #99 of 119: Jennifer Powell (jnfr) Fri 6 Jun 14 13:57
    
Thanks so much, Lauren. You've given me a lot to think about.
  
inkwell.vue.477 : Lauren Rosenfeld, "Breathing Room"
permalink #100 of 119: Cliff Dweller (robinsline) Fri 6 Jun 14 14:12
    
I just passed the book on to a friend who thinks she can't throw
anything away. I think the spiritual aspect will particularly appeal to
her. 
  

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