This is my sweet friend and newest superhero model, Nicole Socia. Isn’t she beautiful? You will find her and the gorgeous Sonja modeling on the superhero jewelry site.
Nicole is an actress and will be performing with the brilliant sketch comedy troupe Killing My Lobster here in the Bay Area in July. Go see her!
And Sonja is from Amsterdam and has been living in San Francisco for a few months. We will be sad to see her go! But maybe she can be my personal stroopwafels dealer. (Just kidding. You guys were so kind to tip me off about the stroopwafels in my neighborhood and the idea of warming one up on top of tea gives me a sugar high just to think about. Thank you!)
My other obsession these days (besides cookies) is organizing. That’s Organizing with the Big O. It suddenly hit me last week that if I could get rid of every object, every piece of paper, every item of clothing, that doesn’t serve me, my life will feel lighter and more free. I will be, as Rob Brezsny says, “a better, smarter, happier person.”
So yesterday I went on a little cleaning bender. I recycled most of the paper in my large filing cabinet. The bag was so heavy to take out to the recycling bin, I had to have Matt help me. All I could think as we carried it out is, “This is how much lighter my mind will be.”
It reminds me of growing up and how my mom would suddenly lose it one day and threaten to throw out anything we didn’t put away (or nail to the floor). I think I inherited the ruthless I’m-going-to-throw-all-your-shit-out gene. And I get it now. I understand why she did this. We feel weighed down by our stuff. It takes mental energy and actual time to manage all the stuff of our life.
I want to feel unencumbered, free, clear and spacious. And I get excited when I imagine the creatiivity that is possible from this new space. Do any of you have a story about this?
It’s been awhile since I posted on your blog, but I actually wrote about something similar (but rather more abstract)in my blog. I’m home from college, and my family uses my room as a storage area. We are a family of packrats. But it’s gotten to the point that I’ve been itching to throw things out myself.
What amazingly beautiful new models you found! Made all the more gorgeous and sparkly by the jewels they are wearing!
Oh how I can relate to the need to purge for a better life. My husband and two babies are living in my family home with my father. My mom died 4 years ago this 7/14, and my baby brother moved to Santa Barbara 2 weeks ago leaving most of his pack-rat-ness behind here… and we are swimming in many lifetimes worth of collections of crap… other people’s crap. Not to mention the tons of our own crap!!! And that leaves me to sort, sift and chuck it all on my own. Its a painful process to weed through my mother’s lifetime of stuff. I want to be careful to keep the really sentimental stuff, but not too much of it. I’ve been working on it for 4 years, and it could still be a full time job for me, if given that amount of time, for at least a few months. Its difficult to get anything done with two babies, and soooooo here we are in the midst of dusty memories. Not the way I want to live.
I want so badly to simplify. But the toys keep accumulating and the memories keep collecting dust. HELP!!!!!
I feel cluttered and overwhelmed. Also overweight… I wonder if all the extra stuff was gone if it would be so much easier to lose the extra fat on my body too????? I bet my bottom dollar that it would.
Hurrah for you for purging and organizing! I love hearing about it. Wanna come over and help ME?????? I promise to have stroopwafels and tea for you!!!
wow, they are both beautiful!!! did you say where the stroopwaffles are in the neighborhood?
that word is so fun to say! stroopwaffle. 🙂
oops, i spelled stroopwafel wrong. but i did get to say it again.
I’m going through something similar. I’m moving to Michigan *next* week, and I’m not packed yet. However, I only moved in February to this new apartment and at that time purged through much stuff. I felt lighter then, and this week will be sent further winnowing through the collection of a life. For whatever reason, reading how others have done it makes it that much easier for me!
I am naturally inclined to minimalism. I have to share a small closet with my husband and we each have 1 dresser. If I aquire an shirt, I get rid of one. I am always going through things and passing them on to people who will appreciate and actually use them. I often say, “i am cleaning my house today” and spend 5 hours in my dining room arranging the dishes, folding linens, polishing silver…There is something very peaceful in opening a drawer or closet and finding everything neat and organized. Less is definitly more. I collect memories, friends, experiences-not knick-knacks:)
Your friends are hot.
That is not really a story of purging.
I feel sad now, so it is hard to think of a good story.
Instead, I will just admire the attractive people.
someone recommended to me that if I really hate to get rid of something because it’s sentimental, take a picture of it. Getting rid of a ‘thing’ doesn’t get rid of the memory of it.
First, she is a beautiful woman. Second, I feel you on the throw-all-your-shit-out gene. I think I got it from my momma, also. Clutter makes me feel like I am drowning.
Beautiful, beautiful young women — and jewelry, of course!
We were in our house for two days before the movers met us here. All we had were air mattresses and a few toys for the kids. It was heaven! I loved walking through its empty rooms. My fantasy house is practically empty. When I was a kid, I rememer a family down the street with no furniture except for a phonograph, a huge dining table and mattresses. My mom said they were poor and I should feel sorry for them, but how I envied them!
Lately with all the clutter we’ve accumulated, I’m miserable, can only create in small amounts and am getting ready to do a little reducing and reusing myself. Actually, the whole family is grumpy…time to get out the trash bags!
You’d think my being a professional organizer would be a help with my own stuff. 😉
But I have boxes of things from my mom who passed away a month and a half ago. It’s too soon to make decisions about them, but I’m looking at my own space to see where I can make room for some of her treasures. It’s bittersweet.
We have a new vacation home in Sedona, Arizona, which is mercifully free of nostalgic tschotkes so far. But everything has meaning to me, so I guess that things will be accumulating there, too. It’s tough being a Moon Child.
Andrea, I so enjoy visiting your site! You have a gift for sharing what makes life worth living. Thank you.
What a great posting..I am consumed with soo many BRAND NEW wedding gifts my husband and I received over a year ago now and have not had a place of our own to use them. We are moving in late August and now I am overwhelmed by so many boxes and totes filled with goodies and also some junk! I am finding myself surrounded by all kinds of clutter.. Clutter of boxes filled with home things and “emotional” clutter.. Knowing we are moving into our very own brand new condo/home and having to “let go” of our first time homeowner’s fears.. So many things to do, so little time! It’s all cluttering up my mind!
Each day I organize something new, so I don;t have as much stress when we move and I can have fun in my first home!
Andrea, what a great posting. I think we can all relate in some way or another. Clutter sometimes helps us to see the beauty in things when we clear it all away. It is such a cleansing feeling to clear away unneccesary “junk”…
I love how much lighter I feel when I purge stuff. One of my favorite TV shows is “Clean Sweep” on TLC. I like watching how others can get rid of their junk, it inspires me. Good luck clearing the clutter!
I took a photograph that has had me thinking about what it is to “need,” for several days now, and reading your story inspired me to finish it:
Thanks for the inspiration.
Keep them coming . . .
I’m scared of throwing things out, I like to recycle things. But I have more ideas then time and energy, hence I end up with a big corner full of things to make/do/build/sew etc.
This is the first time in my life (now 27) where i live somewhere where I might stay for a while. I have alwasy been scared of accumelating things. So now once I got it, I’m even more scared of throwing it out.
Funny thing that people in generall tend to hoard is toiletries….
I think my mother’s ruthless I’m going to throw all your shit out habit is the reason I find it so hard to throw anything away. I mean, the woman sold my teddy bear at a flea market. My teddy bear!
But I am learning, when I practice, the goodness of being free of crap I just don’t need to be carrying around, including bad relationships. Those can go out with the trash too, because then there’s more room for the good ones.
For me the pleasure comes in knowing I could locate anything I need quickly. That Banana Yoshimoto book I love so much? Right here. The phone bill? Right over here. Oh, you need that blue sweater that zips up? that’s in this box, here. And a de-cluttered house is necessary to be able to know where things are. I think the feeling of mental lightness comes from knowing what you have and where it is. You’re not running a program always in the back of your mind that sounds like “have you seen the… but where did I put the… do I still have the…”. That’s where I find the mental freedom. Uncluttered spaces bring about a kind of mental serenity.
I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks (love it – very inspiring!), and I would usually never comment, but since you asked… I’m going through a major decluttering phase as well. (In fact, the name of my blog is “Decluttering my life”.) I had to think about it for months before I could commit to getting rid of all this STUFF that we just have, but now that I’ve started, it feels so good to be done with it. I’m working on it one room at a time since I tend to get lost in the memories and get overwhelmed. Once I get rid of it, the bigger challenge will be not accumulating MORE of it. It’s hard to live simply in this day and age, but perhaps that’s a discussion for another time. Anyway – good luck to everyone who wants to live with a little less.
I’ve been going through waves of purging. I was amazed to find that clothing that I thought I still liked while seeing it on the hanger, looked awful when I put it on. It wasn’t my style anymore and/or didn’t fit right. Some stuff had negative connotations from a previous relationship. How delightful to pack it up for the thrift store!
Another big breakthrough for me: You don’t need to hold onto the item to hold onto the memory. WOW. This was huge for me. I got rid of a ratty fleece I haven’t worn in years and my grandmother’s purse.
Another breakthrough: You don’t have to keep something just because someone gave it to you.
I’ve got a big bag waiting to go to the thrift store and I feel another wave of organizing coming on! 🙂
I know what you mean about organizing – I went on a cleaning rage last weekend, and I must say, it is so wonderful! I go on one weekend a year, usually New Year’s, when I go through my closets and throw out everything that hasn’t been used that year…kind of nice to plan that into your year instead of just doing it because you can’t stand all the crap anymore.
Girl, if tossing clutter and crap is the key to freeing up the creative juices, I should be a freakin’ creative CZARINA by now! 🙂 Seriously though, it’s ALWAYS a good thing to do. I read a great line yesterday: “If you want to move toward your dream, don’t be attached to your fears.” (Sonia Choquette) And sometimes it’s actual THINGS that we’re afraid to let go of. (I liked that line so much that I plan to use it as a starting point for a post and see just where the hell it takes me.) Happy De-Cluttering! May the Feng Shui gods smile beatifically on you! xo
Others have said it but I will say it again: you have such gorgeous friends. I think what it is, is that your camera lens is really your eyes, so we see what you see when you look at them, and that lens is a lens of love so we can’t help but think them all so lovely.
Good for you uncluttering your spirit. As a collector of things that clutter up my house and my brain and my spirit, I find this quote to be very helpful:
Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
Whenever I do that kind of no-holds-barred cleaning — which I call “purging” mode — it’s also a kind of introspective look at myself. When I sift through the things, I don’t just ask, “Do I really need this?” I also ask, “Why?” Sometimes I’m holding on to something because it represents a dream, or a future, or a memory. Then I have to examine if I really need to hold on to that just to remember the good times, or if I can remember them all on my own. Or if I will still hold on to this particular thing, because it keeps me going in reaching my dream. Or if I’m not going to keep this or that thing now, because it no longer represents the current me, or I’m letting go.
I think the whole experience is about what and when you want to let go, actually.
After having spent the last year backpacking around the world with my wonderful new husband the biggest shock on returning home was HOW MUCH STUFF we had in storage!! The leaving behind of most of what we owned had been tough at the time but in the end the experience of ‘going without’ for so long actually proved far more empowering than being a slave to a housefull of material objects. I salute you and your new incredible lightness of being.
I sooo… feel you about the wonderful lightness that follows getting rid of items no longer needed!!! I have serious “pack-ratty” tendancies. I come by it honestly from parents who were children of immigrants and grew up poor in the Depression of the 1930’s. I remember my mom saying not to throw something away because we, (or someone?) might need it someday….so that is the mind set passed down to me. But I am learning to rise above it. Once a month I make myself go from room to room, closet to closet and throw out or donate at least 10 no longer needed items. I also have to check myself when shopping…if it doesn’t pass the “do I REALLY need it test”…, I don’t bring it home. It seems to be working. I don’t struggle as much with trying to maintain order amidst the clutter. The feeling of freedom & spaciousness in both my head and home is the BIG pay-off!! Here’s to all of us learning to no longer be prisoners of our stuff!!…. P.S. Nicole is lovely. Where do you find all the beautiful peopl you call friends? OH….On another note, I found “mini” stroopwafels at Trader Joe’s. Imported by a Dutch bakery named Daelmans. They are small about the size of a half dollar. So I guess this means that you could eat more of them for the same amount of calories….you think?? 🙂
I too crave regular “donations” of stuff out of my house, my life, my mind. I tend to do a bi-annual clean where I completely take each room to bits systematically and then get rid of bunches of things, and clean the daylights out of what’s left. In my case, I think it’s because my parents were indifferent cleaners that I have such a strong need for the aesthetic of “open”.
We purchased a new house at the end of May, and for a full month; we had the bare necessities to live on. It was WONDERFUL. While there are some of the items that have now made it into the new place that I?m glad to have back in my life; there?s an awful lot that just feels like junk. Unnecessary extra items that take up space both physically and mentally without any real benefits.
The act of either contemplating or actually purging some belongings always makes me think of the scene in the movie Labyrinth. Sarah is trapped in a dream; and there?s a ?Junk lady? character who tries to convince Sarah that her quest to save her brother isn?t important or necessary by attaching all of Sarah?s belongings physically TOO her. In the movie it?s the moment where Sarah symbolically realizes that in order to grow up and take on responsibility she has to leave behind the toys of childhood, and recognizes them as so much junk. For me however it?s always been about how much the ?things we can?t live without? weigh us down and derail us from getting where we should be.
Could you ask her for permission to sketch this photo and post it on my blog. I love this pic….
I too understand the need to organize however I am finding that I have to do it when my husband isn’t home, because he always goes through the stuff I am getting rid of and takes half back. Not that I even dare to touch his things. This is all my stuff! How do think we’ll survive? Hee ( A hint – he has one room in our apartment where he can do what he likes -it’s called the office and I am typing in it now, surrounded by lego projects he completed when he was 10, a hulk hogan wrestling ring and his 2000 plus vinyl collection. Don’t even start me on his CD collection that is stored in 3 x 6 drawer tall boy dressers. But as I look around it’s him and I love him so that all this stuff has meaning to me too…I think I’ll go bake him his favourite cookies hee!)
Thanks again for a great entry – Ihope you like the stamp box
Andrea, I first want to thank you for your pictures and your writing. I have been reading your blog for over a year now (not an easy one!)and your entries always bring a smile to my heart and a sense of inspiration and enlightenment. Your view of the world and the people arround you never ceases to amaze me, there is so much love. So again thank you so much for sharing your live and inspiring so many of us.
Now back to your entry: This past year I have lived out of a suitcase, only with my art supplies, my beads to make jewelry, my clothes, 3 books and my AMAZING 3 year old daughter. This all really fits in 2 suitcases…and it has made me realize how simple our lives can really be. There is so much weight to carry around with all these “things” that we are supposed to need. Less is more as they say…more space to breath, more to appreciate in life, more space to live, so much more FREEDOM!
I’ve been on a total and complete organizing streak for a month. I’ve packed up, thrown away, given away or recycled so much. I feel like I can live more freely than before. It feels so good. I’ve also been filing like a mad women. I had no idea I was so un-organized. I’m feeling the weight lift already and I’m only half way done.
I have done this twice.
Once, in order to fit my entire life into a 4-door to move from SF to New Orleans, I sold/donated/threw away every single item that was unnecessary and every item I did keep had to have a convincing sentimental reason if it did not serve a necessity.
Twice, in order to fit me and my guy’s entire life into a SUV to move from New Orleans to NYC, I sold/donated/threw away every single item that was unnecessary (etc etc).
Every time, I felt my life lift away from me and go to a place of possibility and lightness. There is a quote/idea from this book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior that talked about how real wealth/richness laid not in getting more, but in learning to enjoy less. That’s what unloading my life felt like.
Like I was stripping away the “abouts” of me and challenging myself to look at myself without my own definitions.
I know what you mean about the gene. How do you know when you’ve got it? If when you sort things out and decide what to eliminate and what to keep it makes you feel like your getting a new beginning with new possibilities.
My boyfriend is the opposite because he saves everything. He goes through my wastebasket and removes stuff I’ve tossed. (that’s annoying) When he jogs he picks up trash and recyclables on the side of the road and brings them home to get rid of properly. (I admire him for that)
Your journal is refreshing break.
This purging/organizing theme has incited a huge number of passionate responses! Andrea, I met you at a trunk show last fall and admired your jewelry. I help people get organized and be more productive, and it’s always interesting to me to read about how others approach this activity.
It’s interesting to note that when people are travelling they rarely notice the stuff they don’t have. They’re engaged in experiences, in the people and sights around them, in what’s happening now. It can be helpful to hang onto that mindset once you get home; to remain an appreciator rather than an acquirer; to focus on having the experience rather than buying the equipment for it.