Reduce to Rejuvenate in Spring

Historians say that our spring cleaning traditions originated from a time when homes were heated by coal and wood fires; where smoke would permeate the entire home. When spring arrived it was time to air out the rugs and draperies, line dry the linens and wash the walls and windows.

Fortunately our homes are much more efficient now. However spring is a great time for a fresh start. It is a time to renew, shake off the dust, rid ourselves of the unused, and refresh our homes and consequently ourselves.

For a lot of people, de-cluttering and purging of personal items is one of the hardest things to do. So hard for some in fact that they don’t ever do it, and end up living with so much stuff, they can’t think clearly. With good intentions they face the clutter to do something about it. Maybe if it is better organized it won’t be so bad. So they purchase how to books, new containers and gadgets and cleaning products only to end up with more stuff! Then with sleeves rolled up they take one look at the clutter, feel overwhelmed and decide to try it again another day. Unfortunately on that later day there will be even more stuff to contend with.

The only way to face this; as with any challenge, is head on! Some of the stuff has got to go!

What is it we are searching for or clinging to in the things? Happiness, memories, times gone by? A time when we were thinner, happier, younger? If we remove our emotions and identity from the things, what does that leave? Would we be someone different without these things? Embrace and honour who you are right now. Don’t be afraid to let go of the old unused things. They are only things.

Certainly there are sentimental things we all have that we would not consider parting with, but what about the things we have not used or admired lately? Can they go? Can someone with less, benefit and use these things, instead of them taking up our space?

Reducing clutter and living an organized life creates space for focus and clarity of mind. It invites relaxation, flow and calm. It provides the opportunity for more freedom of time. Not to mention having a home that is quicker and easier to clean. When we live in order we are able to find the things we are looking for when we need them, instead of buying multiples of them.

My Friend Stephanie Roberts puts it so eloquently:                                                                                                                                When you clean up your clutter you also uncover a deeper sense of who you are, greater clarity about your life’s purpose, and valuable insight into what makes you truly happy.

To your clutter free life!

No Stranger to Sentiments

Many of my clients have sentimental objects or family heirlooms that are not even considered when we are in the purging process of organizing their lives. I have a lot of compassion in this area; we all have items from a memorable time that justify hanging onto them. Ask yourself a vital question: why am I keeping this?

Sentimental items are meant to be admired and enjoyed, loved and used. Keep them where you can see them. If they are among clutter and covered with dust how special can they be? Are they stored in your garage or attic; how memorable are they? If you have china that has been passed down several generations, but no one has ever used it, it may have value, but it is not sentimental. People make it sentimental, not things.

My mom gave me a Raggedy Ann doll when I was a young girl. She had red wool hair, pretty clothes, a big smile, and a heart on her chest that read “I love you”. I treasured that doll, not just because she was beautiful, but because my mom had given her to me.

I kept Raggedy Ann on my bed for years. I would wash her clothes to keep her looking fresh. She even made appearances in family photos with the cat!!

Many years later, I got married. It didn’t seem appropriate to keep her on the bed any longer, so I very carefully placed her in a box and put her on the shelf.

Annually my husband and I would clean out the basement, we would purge all kinds of things; Ann however was not up for discussion. I would open the box; feel warmth in my heart, love for my mom and joy to see Ann’s smiling face again. She may not have suited our bedroom any longer, but she was not leaving that house!

After my organizing and purging skills were finely honed, I realized it was crazy to keep this beautiful doll a ‘prisoner’ in our basement. I was done with her, and probably had been for years. Only the guilt of letting her go, and the idea that my mom’s love for me was in that doll, kept me from releasing her sooner.

We often project our feelings onto material objects making them impossible to let go of. I just knew it was time. That beautiful doll was meant to be noticed and loved daily!

I pulled Ann out of the box, washed and pressed her pretty clothes, re-dressed her and took her to work. I gave her to a co-worker whose young daughter loved dolls. She took Ann home and told me her daughter was elated to have received her.

I felt good. Good turned to great when we were invited to my friend’s house for dinner. It was our first time there, so they gave us a tour of their home. Nothing could prepare me for the feeling when they opened the door of their daughter’s bedroom. There sat Raggedy Ann leaning on the pillows on her bed. She was surrounded by a bunch of other stuffed toys and dolls. That smile on her face was much bigger than I had ever remembered!  I felt a lump in my throat.

Ann was being used for her intended purpose. The little girl was happy and I was released from the burden of holding Ann prisoner in our basement.

The most important part of this lesson for me was that the love I share with my mom had nothing to do with that doll.

Letting go can be challenging and emotional, but the other side is alive with freedom. When we let go we create a space for something else to show up. It may not be a thing; it could be an idea, a person or an opportunity.

Sometimes our relationship with a certain thing ends; it doesn’t change, we do. We cannot decide for someone else when they are done with a particular thing. Equally, hanging onto everything can make for a very unhappy home. Our relationships with each other are far more important than the things.

Sylvia Robinson says “some think it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it’s letting go”.

To your clutter free life!