Sometimes a bad turn is the best thing that can ever happen to you.
In 2009, after being laid off from The Charlotte Observer, I moved halfway across the country for a job in Madison, Wisconsin.
At the time I had a nice little two-bedroom house, not far from downtown, packed with all the typical furniture one collects over a lifetime: a comfy couch, a big recliner, one of those skinny hall tables that serve no real purpose (I’d seen it in a magazine).
Problem was, my new place in Madison was tiny. So at the age of 40, when most men are adding to their possessions, I was forced to rid myself of nearly all nonessential items. Goodbye cumbersome comfy couch. Goodbye skinny, pointless table. Goodbye unused plates and glasses and dinner tables.
This occurs to me now because in this issue of Distinction we introduce you to Kristen Ziegler, a professional organizer who helps people, and companies, find clarity by removing clutter. Ziegler believes living minimally helps you focus on what really matters.
I certainly found that to be true. Moving from a house into a 500-square-foot flat leads to some tough choices. But I was amazed at the things I never missed. The purge made such an impression on me that I’ve continued the practice in each successive move.
Gone were the books and bookcases I’d dragged around for 20 years (I keep only the ones I know I’ll read again), the CDs my phone had made obsolete, the clothes that stayed around long after I’d stopped wearing them.
It’s freeing. You should try it. Just make sure to leave some space for this issue, because we have some great stories for you.
We will tell you about the philanthropy of kids’ art, visit a Richmond company that’s making Virginia girls famous, introduce you to a local man who is coming home an opera star, and relive the tough youth of WNBA star, and Tidewater native, Sugar Rodgers. Plus, there’s our annual gift guide, which – done right – won’t violate the virtue of simplicity.
There is even more inside, so let us simplify your life for a while. Sit down, kick back, and enjoy. And please, let us know what you think.