I am a collector! Of what I seem to have forgotten. I hold on to things just in case. In case of what I'm not really sure. This is something I'm working on. I think sometimes I just need to be more organized. I own a label maker and have lots of see through bins, but it doesn't seem to be enough.
Last week I went to Home Depot to get some paint for our play room. I also wanted to look at shelves. Not only did I look at the shelves well I bought the shelves. I couldn't resist they were 40% off for industrial sized shelves. This would be the solution to my messy garage. But would it be the solution to my collections? Maybe. I spent my week-end painting and organizing. I am also reducing the amount of stuff I have been collecting.
I started organizing the garage. After all this would be the new home of the massive industrial sized shelves. I was ruthless. I threw things in the garbage that were broken or useless. I started a bin for donations which is now overflowing and is soon to become two bins. I broke up collections and let go of the things that I was holding on to "just in case". If "just in case" hasn't come around in 2 years it's not going to! I did resist the urge to pull out the label maker. After all the labels would probably just freeze and fall off. I didn't think that a box of summer shoes or the package of paper towels really needed a label. We can see them through the see through bins.
I then moved down to the basement. I resisted the urge to pull a falling apart shelving unit from the garage and bring it to the basement. Instead we placed it gingerly on the edge of the drive way for one of the vultures in our neighborhood to take away. It was gone in less than half an hour. Our basement is a nightmare! We have three children and I run a day care. So when people say I have enough toys to run a day care - yes I do. The problem is that they are not very well organized. We let the kids clean up the whole thing once, bad idea - I wouldn't even call it organized chaos. It was just chaos. I was also keeping toys in three different rooms. How confusing. Now the toys are all together in their respective bins. I again resisted the urge to pull out the label maker. After all can a 14 month old or 21/2 year old read a label that says "little people" or "trucks" probably not. Again I have the see through bins, we can see where they go! I was also ruthless but sneaky in cleaning up this area. I threw out broken toys and began to add to my donation pile. I did have to do this in secret as one of my children HATES to see anything go.
I am trying to look at the mundane things in life and see how they fit into my yoga practice. I saw this cleansing to be very fitting with many of the yamas and the niyamas. Asteya, I feel that keeping all of this stuff in our space is in essence stealing space for things we need, use or just to have space in our home. Aparigraha, it feels like hording all of these useless items just feels greedy, why not give them to someone who could use my old towels or dishes, we don't need or want them. Of course saucha - cleanliness, I feel that when my space is cluttered it is unclean, and this makes my mind feel cluttered too. I imagine that this trickles down to my children and my partner. I do not feel santosha in my home I know I will once the clutter and possessions that are neither useful or that I love are gone. I would definately say that tapas is present in this practice of mine. I am continually sorting and purging and organizing, this is a practice. It is not a battle it is not a re-occurrence it is something that I strive and work towards regularly. Finally the most fitting of the niyamas is this process for me is svadhyaya, self study. I really do study why I collect, keep and desire? Why do we all do it? What am I holding on to and why am I holding on to it. The object is merely an object. If all I really need is food, water, shelter and possibly clothing what is all this other stuff for? Why do I hang on? I try not to judge these thoughts, feelings but just study and answer why. If I have no real answer then maybe I should just throw it away or donate it -
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.