I am clearing out my files, cutting them by more than half. I am taking it in little chunks, doing some each day. When each paper requires a decision, yes, no, maybe, keep, go, I can only do so much at one time before my head gets muddled and the decision process becomes clouded.
Some are easy. Why have I kept this, moved this for so many years? It goes. Others, are less clear. I like this, but will I really use it, ever? If probably not, it goes. Armloads out to the recycling bin. Hooray! Feels good to let it go.
Some papers are like renewing an old friendship. I love the colors in that room, the friendly way it looks. Ask, what makes that room work so well? Rooms that spark creativity and togetherness. So far I've been focusing on the house and craft type files. Two drawers are empty. What I have kept is broken down into smaller, more focused files.
Two very fat decorating files became smaller folders divided by room or by topic, like slipcovers or painting. I had a surprising number of magazine clippings of laundry rooms. Not sure what is the significance of that. I did save a few of those, ones that combine office and craft along with the washer and dryer. That is not a room I would think of decorating. In this house, it is part of the garage, but perhaps our next house?
Another fat file, crafts, became sewing, knit and crochet, painting, Christmas, but most of that I eliminated. I am not going to do crafts like I used to (reality = had planned to do someday).
It feels so good to be taking stuff out the door. To be refining and purging the piles of papers. Still several file drawers to go through, but progress is good.
In one file, I found an old list I wrote for a scavenger hunt. Descanso Gardens was a place we enjoyed each season. Acres of grounds were maintained with gardens of roses, camellias, native California plants, tulips in the spring, chrysanthemums in the fall, ponds and streams, and an old house that alternated art exhibits. We loved to go, to spend the day exploring the paths and picnic. We would hike the trail up the hillside and label the trees with familiar characters. That tree is Piglet's house, that pack rat's pile is Eeyore's house, Owl lives in that tree.
One visit, we were going with another family. I made up a two page list of things for the kids to find. Observation skills. Each had their own list, but they could work together, making notes of where or what they found. It was fall, so I included things like a pumpkin, yellow and orange leaves, and a scarecrow. I also included totally random things, like a woman in a purple dress, a hummingbird and an apple. They found everything on the list that day. The woman in the purple dress probably wondered why the kids were all giggling at her. Hope she didn't develop a complex.
As I sort through the files, I sort through memories of houses where we lived, plans I had of things to create, spaces I wanted to design, activities we made together, all looking toward building the home I want for our family. This has been a good project for me, to realize the heart of our home is not in the files and the plans and the wish-it-could-be, but in the reality of what we do have, what we do use, and the spaces we live in every day. Now, today. Not hoarding, storing up for some dream-day, but living here and now, with what we have, today.
Traveling lighter, carrying less on our journey, as we go.