I’m trying hard to de-clutter my house and my life. It’s equally hard to do both. I’m finding it hard to let go of the many ‘things’ I’ve collected over the years. A lot are just taking up space and collecting dust in various rooms around the house, and the rest are boxed and stored in both the attic and the basement. And I ask myself, “What good are they doing anybody sitting in boxes? Wouldn’t it be better for someone to get enjoyment out of them?” The answer is yes, but I keep thinking that I will one day unpack those boxes and I will be the one getting the enjoyment out of my things once again. Awhile ago a very smart blogger, Jerelene, had a list of rules to follow posted on her blog Jerelene’s Journal, and one of them was ‘Get rid of everything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful’. Excellent advice. But my problem is that every item I pick up when trying to make a decision if I should discard it, give it away to a family member, or donate it to charity, somehow every single item speaks to me, saying it is still useful, or it is still beautiful in my eyes, or in some way it will still give me joy.
I thought about my sister Diane and the time we were cleaning out my parents place to move them to live closer to us. Diane very systematically picked up an item and made a split second pass/fail decision on whether it would make the move with my parents or not. She didn’t consult anyone, she didn’t labor over the item, she didn’t bother to ‘ooh and aah’ over every single thing, and there was no time for reminiscing. Emotional attachments seemed to play no part here. She very matter-of-factly said, “This has served its purpose, it’s time for it to go.” Case closed. And then she quickly moved on to the next item.
I, on the other hand, belabor the point and dwell on every little item, thinking about how I first acquired it, the many uses I had for it, and if it happens to be a gift from someone, especially one of the kids, it’s near impossible for me to part with it. It doesn’t matter if I haven’t set eyes on it for years and years, it doesn’t matter if it’s been stored away collecting dust somewhere, it doesn’t matter if it was once forgotten altogether. Once seen again, it is like an old friend, bringing back a flood of memories, and a torrent of emotions. How do you expel something like that from your life? Can’t something useless be made useful? Can it not be repurposed? Isn’t everything that evokes a sweet memory beautiful? And doesn’t even a bittersweet memory hold a place in our hearts?
I can take hours pondering over one box of goods, and in the end, the box is repacked and stored away to go through another day. (Sigh)
I’m definitely going to have to summon a bit of my sister Diane's practical method into my thought process before I try to tackle the task of de-cluttering my home. Before I start this chore my mantra will be, “This has served its purpose, it’s time for it to go.” Over and over again I will repeat those words to myself. And when I finally really mean them, I will stay strong in my resolve as I take on this mission.
All winter long I told myself I would start going through things come spring. But I am still too weak, so now I am telling myself I will start this process in the Fall. (Big sigh here.)
De-cluttering my life is another matter. My head and my heart are cluttered with too many negatives, so I am willing myself to rid myself of old grudges, unpleasant memories, silly arguments, and anything that gives me that anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. Wherever and whenever at all possible I am ridding my life of the negative. Not an easy feat for me as my first reaction at all times is to go into attack mode (you can’t get more negative than that), I get defensive at the least little offhand remark. I am teaching myself to take a breath before I go on the offense. I am apologizing for my rude behavior instead of ignoring it (or worse, trying to justify it). I am trying to give others the break I would want them to give me and I am trying not to be overly sensitive. It’s not easy to change a lifetime of bad habits and I’ve been failing miserably lately. I’m finding it just as hard (if not harder) to de-clutter my soul as it is to de-clutter my home.
So, please wish me luck, keep me in your prayers, and please everyone, keep writing and posting, because visiting you each day is a big help to me!
1 week ago