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The art of shedding. For once, I’m not talking about the ‘woodshed’, as in woodshedding, as in jazz /music practice.  My theme is the art of minimalism, of travelling light. After the process of packing and moving house, I have increased insight into the freedom of getting rid of worldly possessions. The intoxicating feeling of delicious lightness. Believe me, it gets easier and it becomes addictive. I want to live with less and less and less. For each item you jettison, a space will open up in your life for the things that really matter. If it’s not a tool of your trade, if it doesn’t translate directly into useful experience or income generating activity, you don’t need it. Release your life force and…shed it!

Top Ten Tips for those who find it difficult to shed.

Are you naturally a hoarder?  Here are some different perspectives to help you get unstuck. Especially useful if you are about to move house and need to down-size.

1. If you haven’t worn it or used it in the last 2 years, chances are it’s no longer a relevant part of your life and work. Dig it out and reintegrate it back into your life. It will either prove immediately useful or it will become as irritating as it was when it first started to dwindle into the background. The universe is speaking. Listen. Shed it!

2. Go through your bookcase. It’s hard to shed books – it seems morally wrong. Books are good, books are worthy. They may have huge sentimental, intellectual value. But just dust them and go through them and give them all a good shake. You may be surprised at what you have been holding onto. Are they full of unexpected love letters and photos from an old flame? Mine were! Old energies and connections means stagnation. Laugh, cry and let it go. Shed it!

3.  Clean environment means a clear head. As without, so within and vice versa. If you are constantly looking at clutter it doesn’t help your mental hygiene, which then goes on to create more clutter. Have a day of hoovering and dusting. The simple process of cleansing your affairs will unearth a lot of stuff which belongs in the dustbin.

4.  I managed to get my DVD collection down to an 8th of the size by throwing away (recycling, actually) the cases and putting them in a soft folder. Kept about 3 of the paper covers as they were great movie posters. No more stacking and storing. What a relief.

5. Teachers and musicians – go through your teaching files built up through hard graft over the last 20-30 years. Do you really need endless paper variations of the same lesson plan? Or that file of course notes/interview forms/assessment reports you wrote for students in 1996? Collate any essentials into 2 or 3 files. As for the rest, shed it!

6. Face the fact that you are never going to build an artistic sparkly metallic recycled sculpture of out dead guitar strings. It’s a project you don’t need. Shed it.

7. Have a sober look at your underwear draw, especially the stuff you avoid wearing. Confront your inner demons. Why do you still own those underpants? You know that sock has gone solo and it’s counterpart is never coming back. It’s a solo sock. That’s right. Shed. It.

8. Get into camping/boy scout/survival mode and have some fun with it. Run down your kitchen and bathroom cupboards and you’ll find that you can compress things. Herbs, spices and teabags go very well in polythene cash bags and you’ll save a lot of space by liberating anything that’s still in its original box. Soft clothes like t-shirts and socks can be put to use as packing and padding for other things. Let everything have a function that serves the whole. if not, shed it. Do some free-cycling by talking to friends and see who needs what. You may find a good home for that cafetière, drum machine or clock.

9. Be firm about unwanted gifts that you hang on to out of guilt. Give them away as ‘gifts of gifts’ or discreetly send them to recycling or charity shop. If the person that gave them to you really cares, they’d want you to shed it.

10. Be free even if it scares you. Embrace change. Do you have a perception that you need more than you do? That you require a buffer zone of goods, clothes, status symbols, keepsakes, mementos, historical baggage that proves you actually exist? If so, take a leap of faith and shed it!

Finally, if you are moving, I recommend Shirley’s Removals with whom I had a great experience recently. They provide a lorry plus 2 workers. Female run, Lesbian + gay friendly. Fast, efficient and no breakages.



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