In my spare time this summer (between working for the National Park Service and taking an online summer class) I painted my room. Exchanging the bright orange and green of my middle school years Before for something more subtle (and who doesn’t want giant peonies on their walls?!).After Wall

While putting my room back together, I also did a deep, deep clean. As an input, according to StrenghtsFinder,  I “don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away.” I keep things because I think they may be useful eventually. When I stow away movie tickets and graduation cards and stickers and everything else I am holding onto memories and information.

Example A:

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 9.16.00 PM

The paradox is that by having all this stuff I make myself unhappy, stress myself out.

In the middle of my cleaning process, my friend Sarah posted this photo on Instagram. Instagram

When I saw it, I laughed to myself because I had piles and boxes full of this sort of thing in my room.

I convinced myself to get rid of a few hundred cards and letters, a stack of books, and bags of trash and worthless knick-knacks. I am learning from Freeman Tilden’s Interpreting Our Heritage that “excess leads to diffusion of interest….You have seen nothing because you have seen everything.” His advice? “When in doubt, say ‘no.’ The world has never been much hurt by abstentions.”


I ended up with a dreamy, organized room. Turned out well if I do say so myself.

After Dresser

After Desk 2

Cheers. Happy summer.


One thought on “Excess

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