A Zen parable tells of a wanderer who happened upon a river. He wanted to cross it, but there was no bridge. Afraid to wade across the river on foot, he spent hours building his own raft from vines and trees, which ultimately carried him safely to the other side.
However, once across the river, he thought to himself: This is a good raft; I might need it again if I must forge another river.
So the wanderer carried the raft with him for the rest of his life.
Are you carrying your own raft – belongings that once were of service, but quietly morphed into dead weight? Most of us do. Your closets, attic, basement and garage might be overflowing with a lifetime of accumulated possessions – not just your own, but other people’s. Perhaps you are spending lots of time searching for things. Or you have paid good money to buy items you already own because you couldn’t find them. Maybe you have lost gift cards, checks and bills in stacks of paper and had to pay late fees. You may have a vision for the basement or spare room which has to remain a dream, because the space has transformed into a storage facility. Are you longing for an oasis of calm but somehow can’t unwind? That raft you are carrying might be to blame.
We have a love affair with stuff. Some experts estimate that the average American home contains 300,000 items. Items that don’t just cost money to acquire, but can make us pay dearly over time in terms of space, time, money and even our health. We’ll look at each of these, and how they wreak havoc on our lives, in the next installment of my blog.
If attempts to get decluttered and organized on your own don’t lead to the desired results, consider hiring qualified help. Professional Organizers help clients declutter, organize and take control of their space efficiently and effectively. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) provides a convenient practitioner search tool at their web site www.napo.net.