Decluttering Freedom

Guest Blogpost with Sandy at Jinsei Media

declutter recycle sell trash keep donate

Some Q+A for this Creative Entrepreneur 


1.  Who is Sandy and what is her current passion project?

Who is Sandy? An interesting question since over the last few years I have been working on letting go of identity. Instead of a Food Photographer, I try to say. “I take photos of food”. Instead of a Yoga Instructor, I try to say, “I teach yoga”.

However, it’s hard to get away from identity. I would say I am a person who embraces all of the nuances of life - even the uncomfortable spaces. I am curious about all things which can be an asset and a distraction.

What I do is vast and varied. 

cat inside shelf

Primarily, I do photography, mostly shooting images of food. My creative side also paints - mostly watercolour.  I also teach yoga and I love being active outdoors. I have a huge passion for skydiving and work in it during jumping season. My current passion project is YogaMA; a program I created during the first Covid lockdown. YogaMA is a fusion of yoga and martial arts. I am a certified yoga and martial arts instructor.

YogaMA is movement designed in a wave sequence and although it creates strength and flexibility, what it’s really about is teaching emotional awareness and self regulation through paralleling movement with the experience of our inner states.

2.  What got you started in decluttering your home | studio | inner/ outer space?

I began decluttering a few years ago when I considered moving to Vancouver Island and tiny house living. That didn’t occur at the time but now I have recently moved from Edmonton to Nanaimo. I sold a three bedroom house and currently am renting a single room in a shared space. A huge shift.

tidying garage

3. How difficult was it to do the work?

There was significant fear in making the initial decision. Can I do it? Can I “make it”. Can I let go of the familiar? How will I do my job (since my house was also my studio)? I loved my home. It was a house when I bought it but it became my home soon.

decluttering and packing boxes

4. When did it begin to feel good?

Once I made the decision, freedom began almost immediately. I’ve heard the reference, once you sign up for something, you begin the shift in learning before the program even starts. So it was like that.

Then I began doing a little bit each day. Listing things to sell. Giving things away until I pared down everything I had into a Uhaul. In this Uhaul, 90% of the items were to do my work. I sold my king size memory-foam bed and all of the rest of my furniture. I only kept my desk and some storage cubes. I purged all of my craft supplies, only keeping my pencils, paints, brushes, art paper and materials to package my art.

5. What was the least favourite thing about this experience?

Trying to decide what was valuable when it came to personal items - keepsakes even. I let go of some “memories”. Things like these little Hallmark collector pins from my childhood and some of my artwork. I sold these in a joint garage sale with my Mom. My Dad had passed a year before and my Mom was also ready to let go of some of his things. This was a hugely emotional time for her - and me too.

Was this something I would miss? I even took some things off the garage sale table just before we opened the doors. Only to realize I was OK with letting them go and then they went back out for sale.

Then, I saw the joy in people buying these and it changed my relationship with them. Even more so for my Mom. My Dad was a huge fisherman. Men and even young boys were excited about getting his fish hooks and other fishing gear. Knowing they would bring joy to someone else, the way fishing brought joy to my Dad, was deeply moving.

6. Why would you recommend/ not recommend this to others?

As I was in the process of selling and donating, I stumbled upon this quote by Zina Harrington:

The more stuff I donated, the more I was able to breathe. The more trash I threw away, the more weight I felt lifted. The more stuff I took out of our home, the more I was able to see a new life. The more uncluttered I lived, the more joy I found.

It was my experience of it too.

7. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in the process?

Not a thing. I looked around my little room about a month after moving, once I started to find my footing, met new people and began to feel like I actually lived here. I looked around and actually said out loud.

“I lack nothing”

8. Anything else you'd like to add?

When I surrendered to the process, I intuitively knew what to let go of and what to keep. Some of what those items were, were surprising. I knew to keep both storage towers and I found out I needed them both because there was limited storage in my new kitchen space. I also knew that I didn't need a toy from childhood anymore. I thought I would miss the memory but that doesn’t leave us. In fact, I am feeling some powerful emotion as I write this. Letting go is not loss. Letting go of things and even people or certain relationships. We never truly lose anything because we get to choose what we keep in our hearts.


Where you can find sandy's work

You can find Sandy's work through her website and her social media accounts.  If you haven't seen the photos from our 2021 winter market, you can find it here.

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