From Where I Sit – Taking Back My Space

The March 2014 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine is themed around the topic of de-cluttering. From Oprah’s opening bit (“Here We Go!”) to the last page’s “What I Know for Sure” the message is clear. Freedom and clarity of purpose is yours if you get rid of the superfluous in your life.

A six-page spread about Oprah’s own efforts featured just some of the hundreds of pieces of art, furniture, accessories, and knick-knacks that were auctioned off last November. Proceeds of over $600,000 went to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation College Fund. Like most of us she has changed, grown, and evolved. And she had the courage to act on it.

The letting go of purchases and gifts was difficult but the result was worth it. Now, apparently, Oprah’s surroundings reflect her current priorities in life. The lesson she has been learning is that ?knowing what you need is more than knowing what you want.? And what she needs is ?dogs and books, light and space.?

Naturally, her friend and organizational guru, Peter Walsh, has something to say on the subject of de-cluttering. A foldout calendar challenges us in March to take back control of our lives in blitzes of one to thirty minutes. From cleaning the car, the fridge, and the sock drawer to giving back through donations to Goodwill, he’s managed to make the exercise fun and conquerable through bite-sized chunks.

A series of thirteen rules urge us to give it away now, use what you have, fork it, finish the cycle, and more. From dealing with an estate or a divorce, from selling versus giving, from using mantras to getting permission to get rid of?, there is page after page of inspiration and tips.

This attention on our accumulation of stuff is not new. There are careers, TV programs, speakers, and books dedicated to the mission. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve written (or done something) about it.

What is different is a new tactic I’ve tried. Late last fall I entered the world of consignment. I gathered up clothing, scarves, and purses that were no longer serving me. With weight loss came items like leather jackets that no longer fit. The frugal me felt a need to try to recoup some of the money I’d spent on these items.

So, after making an appointment with a shop, I brought in a selection of items to be assessed. Intellectually I understand they know their customer, their inventory, and their business. That didn’t stop me from being offended when they rejected some items. However, victory was mine when another shop took all the leftovers. Better still, every single item except one purse has now sold. When I go to pick up my cash I’ll be bringing spring/summer items to consign. The forty percent of sales from the first shop put over fifty dollars in my pocket. I’m saving all the moola for something special. In the process I’m also taking back my space, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.