Friday, October 17, 2008

Using a Macro-Scope on our Homes

You have heard of a microscope....You can use it to look in giant detail at a tiny bit of something. Our society tends to encourage us to do this with our science, our education, our politics, and even our hobbies and lifestyles. Everyone is a specialist. One expert will even try to out-expert the other....

But today I was reading about turning our thinking around a bit when we solve problems. It is often better to take a MACRO-scope view instead of a microscope view. We can use this kind of 'overview thinking' not only in our jobs --but at home. That concept got me thinking. The bigger picture of life and a sense of prioritizing on a bigger scale are often left behind in lieu of pursuing the specific immediate goodies of life.

Taking a bigger view was brought to my attention this week as I am helping a friend organize her entire home. I empathized with her when she said she had lost sight of what it must look like to other people coming in to her home. She has been overlooking just how bad things had gotten bit by bit. She was so busy adding to each pile of 'useful stuff' that she no longer saw that the same piles were literally overtaking the house. I had last visited her at home about 3 years ago. So my visit this week was a bit of a jolt. But together, we worked out a plan by talking about what she wants her 'macroscopic' view of her home to be again.

I admire that she was willing to step back from her position immersed in 'stuff' to look at it like an outsider would. She wants to move away in six months. In order to get this home on the market and to pack and move with less expense, she needs to get busy fast.

So we started with this list of what she wants her home to be right now in preparation:

1. No piles of paper on the floors

2. All books and magazines in the bookcases and not on the floor as overflow

3. No stacks of movies and games on the floors

4. No trash on the floors

5. No pests/ants/spiderwebs etc

6. No clothing on the floors or randomly unkempt in baskets (she had forgotten if about 7 baskets full were even clean or dirty)

7. No threadbare clothing will be worn--just toss it or make rags.

8. No broken or busted items kept

9. No pet smells allowed

10. No clothing more than 10 years old to be kept (that means 1998 plus--no eighties!)

11. All clothing must fit into each person's closet or dresser. Period. Purge until it does.

12. No peeling or damaged plasticware

13. To be able to vacuum the floor fully to the walls again

14. To donate all craft supplies for all but the remaining 3 crafts she truly loves. (We are talking a roomful of donations!)

My friend really will get to her goals because she has decided on a life change. She wants to take up a smaller footprint on this earth materialistically. It was a big turning point for her. She has always been so good about her own health, the environment at large, social awareness in politics, her childrens' health, and their educations. She just had to apply the same deliberation and principles to her HOME that she does to the other aspects of her world view.

By streamlining her contents inside her home, she is taking the bigger view of what is best for her family. No more paper piles knee high in each room to trip over. No more toxic plasticins in the peeling dishware. No more hoarding board games that they will never play or collecting yarn she will never knit. She is passing any useful items on to others who will truly use them. She is learning to put out her favorite and nicest items so she --and others-- can see them. She is learning to pull out and wear her nicer professional clothing instead of waiting for 'events' and conferences.

Walk around your home. Imagine I am there with you. What would we see? What would you tell me about your home? And what would your home tell me about you?

Take a macroscopic view and decide what can go....


Anonymous said...

Great point mom, I think if we all can look at our homes this way, then soon we can look at global things this way as well.


Stacia said...

WTG for your friend! It's an undertaking that is well worth it! I just did the same around the end of July, getting our home ready to sell, we are now into our new home, YEAH!!! I found it helpful to donate to a local shelter for families fleeing abusive situations. Often these families find it safer to not return to retrieve thier things & have to start over with nothing. I found it much easier to part with more of my "stuff" knowing it was still good & would go to people who really needed it.
I also found a great way to handle the videos/DVD's. I typed my moving list in excel, including my movie titles. I number each box from 1- whatever by room. For my movies I typed the title, the rating of the movie, and the box number it was assigned to as I boxed them up. Then printed the pages, cut the list by box number & taped it to the box with packing tape, the boxes remained untaped at the top so they could be used. The kids actually found everything easier & moving time was simple, just tape it up & go!

Good luck to your friend, it's a big undertaking that is well worth the effort.

Terry said...
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