Too long for your interest/time? Check the tl;dr.
Not interested in my clutter experiment but want to read about next month? Skip the next three paragraphs.
Ah, October 2013. Thank you for being a part of my life. I learned much. That is, I learned much about how I don’t want my life to be. Don’t get me wrong. Every moment was a blessing, but my actions and some things out of my control (let’s not get into that philosophical discussion today) led to states of mind that were unhealthy. This led to loss of focus and many things fell behind. Today, of course, I’m talking about last month’s experiment.
Keeping clutter to a minimum was feeling too easy. I wondered why it didn’t feel very different from how things in the house are normally kept. A talk with Arshdeep Kaur concluded that perception of what clutter looks like had become skewed. In our house, we have proxy locations for things that need to be put away when time doesn’t allow for it to be done right away. Empty beverage cartons that need to be recycled go by the sink, things that need to go upstairs go on the bottom stair, paper that needs to be recycled goes on a particular ledge, folded laundry goes on the window sill, etc. When time does allow, the items are overlooked and these locations fill up. That is the time items are taken to their proper location. The problem with how I’d started the month was that these locations still counted as “proper locations” and that shouldn’t have been the case. Habits needed to change to skip these locations and go right to the destinations. Once this started, things really started to look clean; we marvelled at how pleasant it felt.
Something happened, though. Forgive me for not sharing personal details, but I started to weaken mentally and spiritually. For a number of things, including the clutter, there became a state of indifference. While things were generally clean, I easily forgave myself for leaving things out overnight or if I didn’t complete a household chore for a while. It took some time, and some good spiritual therapy, but I’m coming around again, Gurprasaad. The clutter-free month resumed and we even made a few dollars on Amazon from selling some possessions. The month could have been better, for sure, but it was a good experiment and I’m certainly continuing the practice.
For November, I’m taking the August experiment of no YouTube to another level. This month, I’m eliminating video entertainment. It was going to be just Netflix, but I decided to add in cable television, physical discs, cinema, video-sharing websites and, for good measure, video games as well. Some of those, I hardly consume or never, but decided to add them in just in case I resorted to them with the absence of the main ones. Too many times has it been the case that we think we don’t have enough time to do seemingly difficult but worthwhile things but manage to fit in enough time to get lost in meaningless activities. I’m aiming to weed those out this month and concentrate on those things that will change my life for the better.
To be clear, so many movies are fantastic. There are documentaries that provide perspective on a great number of topics about which we should know. The motion picture medium is brilliant for so many things in both education and entertainment. My problem with many good things is consistently that I don’t draw the line and fall into the territory of wasting time and miss opportunities to do so many other meaningful things. With a one month bootcamp of sorts, it allows the control to strengthen and the grip can be loosened enough to draw the line where desired.
My replacement habit will be reading. I’ve recently gotten back into it and enjoy it very much. Opening a book and getting lost in other worlds was a joyful activity when I was younger and I used to read for days (I’m a bit slow). I keep track of my books over at Goodreads and would love to get suggestions on books to read.
October was a weird month. Keeping things clean is good. I will not watch videos or movies for entertainment this month. I will be reading a lot.