Streamlining Your Nightstand

 

Once upon a time, my nightstand was filled to the brim with glorious tales and words of wisdom and just-in-case things I might need at a moment's notice, so much so that I did not read a word of it or use a single useful item.

This is the white-noise you never see coming - the beginning of clutter, desensitization, and the killer of joy.

When my littles get their toys out, they have a jolly, rip-roaring time...for all of 2 minutes. And then once the mess is made and scattered to the four corners of la Casa de Hall, they lose interest and move onto the next jolt of stimulation. To clean up the mess? Out of the question. Nay, immediate tantrums and waterworks. But Mommy, I can't do it, it's too much, wahhhhhhhhhhh. But are we as adults so very different?

True, our whining is more internal and sophisticated sounding ("I don't have anything to wear!"), but we operate under the exact same principles. It is too overwhelming to clean or play or dress or read when there are so many choices. At the heart of the problem lies at once decision fatigue and a lack of forethought - a sure-fire equation for over-stimulation, despair, and disuse. 

Enter: sifting my nightstand. In a revelation during the Christmas holiday, it finally dawned on me that I'm a one-book-at-a-time kind of gal, so stocking my bedside perch - hello, prime and limited real estate! - with books I didn't plan to read for a few more months, along with others I was working on getting motivated to read (I'm looking at you, parenting books and gifted books from well-meaning family members) was not only silly, it was a waste. A waste of space, a waste of time, a waste of decisions, a waste of energy, a waste of excitement. Why let my nightstand play home to a stack of tomes I wasn't actually interested in?

I have also come to know myself - one of the most pivotal pieces of living a sifted life. I function on rewards. My mentality for almost everything I truly want to do is based off of delayed and earned gratification, and applied to books my mental dialogue looks something like this: if I plow through those books I don't really want to read but feel obligated to read, I'll finally be able to read the one book I really want to read.

Screw it. Life is just too short and precious for this kind of guilt game. 

Not only did I clear my nightstand of meaningless-to-me volumes, but I got rid of them entirely, only giving home and attention to one beloved book at a time - and one that I gosh-darn want to read. The rest that I truly do still want to read are tucked away in our library, ready and willing should I call their number. No more paying rent for objects I don't want. No more wasting time persevering through unimportant writings. No more trudging through for the sake of finishing. I'm done. There's not enough time in this life to feel enslaved to pages unappealing to me. In our information-soaked age, my brain space and thought-life should not be indentured to anything I don't really care about. (I get that some people are thrilled to have a stack of books - so keep 'em! But if you don't, lose 'em.)

So not only is this about making room on your nightstand for just one book (or device) but it's about giving yourself permission to stop investing your precious time at the end of your day into subjects that don't matter to you. Don't waste your time. Read something you love. Find that you love reading again! Fully enjoy the story you're delving into. Have space to lovingly rest your prized pages. Have space to set something - anything! - down should you need to, whether a glass of water, flowers to fill your dreams and greet you upon waking...or the baby monitor, dentures, or phone.

Have space for your eyes to breathe. Have space to live fuller and happier with less.

Ready to sift that nightstand?

 
 
Heather Hall