Thursday, October 30, 2014

Don't organize, just purge!

Choosing a life afloat means choosing to live with less stuff. We just don't have the space. Minimizing, purging, reducing, and downsizing are all becoming popular. This article from the New York Times bounced around on my Facebook feed for a couple days. Marie Kondo, a Japanese home organization expert, encourages people to clean out the clutter in their lives by examining each item they own by asking themselves: "Discard everything that does not spark joy, and do not buy organizing equipment."

This made me laugh. I sometimes find myself on an organizing kick: surely there must be some boxes or baskets or shelves that could contain this mess? And then I scroll around on Pinterest for hours looking for the right kind of catch-all for that space. I may buy a basket or two, or reconfigure a cardboard box for the space, but, more often than not, I realize my main problem: too much stuff. Overstuffed bookshelves don't elicit the same kind of relaxed feeling in me as, say, an overstuffed chair does. Instead of buying bookends and creating dividers to contain the stuff, I simply get rid of some of the things.

This is the one space on the boat that we "organized."
 It used to be a bench, but only a 3 foot clearance to the "ceiling," it would only work for kids.
We took the bench out and built shelves.
Bottom left: art supplies. I constantly clean and assess, otherwise it quickly overflows.
Middle: baking goods. I recently went through all my baking supplies and now only have what I really use.
Far right: cookbooks and alcohol. Ahem. Someone needs to purge the cookbooks and I can't do it.

The bookshelf in the main cabin. This is what it looks like everyday. I didn't spruce it up for the photo! It's nice to have a clear space where the girls can spread out books, add toys, and use for a play space. And it also looks so much nicer than a shelf crammed full of books. (Like it used to be.)

Parents of young children are also embracing this emerging trend in minimalism. Less toys =  less stuff to pick up and put away at the end of the day. Less toys = kids will actually use the toys they have. Better yet, less toys =  greater chance for imaginative play. Freja spent hours yesterday creating and playing with her farm, which was the inside of a cardboard box that she had decorated with stickers and markers. Matilda, meanwhile, played on the back deck in the baby bathtub, pouring water in and out of containers.

I feel like I'm moving more and more towards a barren aesthetic - no knick knacks, empty shelves, clear counters - because my mind can rest when my eyes can rest on a clear, clean space.

And the one clear counter on the boat. This space is always clear; my visual sanity. A quiet place to rest my eyes.

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