For awhile now I’ve been in the mood to lighten up in everything from my closet and junk drawers, to the cloud and social media. My life suddenly seemed very cluttered and overly complicated and it was time to clean it up.
A Question of Joy
A few years ago, I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo. Her advice to hold each item in your hands to see if it “sparked joy” seemed frivolous when I first read it. Can each item in my home really bring joy? But that has remained in the back of my mind as I’ve cleaned out drawers and closets, and I’ve decided that the answer is “yes.” Items that have been in the back of a drawer or closet, unused for years, obviously don’t. They serve no purpose in my life and it’s time for them to go. You know what else brings joy? Having less to take care of, and knowing that others are benefitting from my cast-offs.
My family moved around a lot while I was growing up, and in my married life my husband and I have also moved quite a bit. Something I appreciate about moving is that as I’m packing everything up, it presents an opportunity to consider whether “it” should make the move. If not, it’s a great time to get rid of it.
In preparation for some recent remodeling, I had to pack up some areas of the house, so I took the opportunity to lighten them up. My husband and I agreed ahead of time that many of those things wouldn’t be coming back in.
Nooks and Crannies
My updated kitchen and laundry rooms have lots of storage. There’s a tendency for cabinets to accumulate stuff, to think “that’s what they’re there for,” but it’s okay if the cabinets aren’t packed full. I prefer it that way. The things that get shoved to the back are usually forgotten and never used, so why have them there? It’s preferable to have room to organize, for everything to have its place. If I were blindfolded, I could find most things because I know where they are.
My closet had accumulated clothing and accessories until it was packed full. Years ago I was on a minimalist kick, and gave myself some guidelines to keep my wardrobe in check. Things like limiting the color palette and barring certain styles that weren’t practical for my age or lifestyle. I was ready to return to that, to whittle back down to a smaller, more intentional wardrobe. I began purging my way through it, and either donating or selling. Gosh, that felt good! If I didn’t wear it often, if it didn’t make me feel good, out it went. With fewer items in my closet and drawers, it became easier to find what I wanted and make decisions. You know the items you keep just in case you’re ever that size again? I got rid of most of those, too. All of those “maybes” take up space, and if I ever do lose weight, they’ll probably be out of style anyway, so out they go.
I even decluttered my “cloud” by thinning out my contact lists, photos, and emails. I wanted to lighten up in every nook and cranny of my life. I had accumulated a lot of “friends” on social media, and at first I thought I’d cut that list down. Then I decided to completely delete my account.
Cleaning out my parents’ home and all that they had accumulated during sixty years of marriage fueled my desire to take a closer look at the things I chose to keep. As I move along through life, each stage is different. It’s time to bless others with the things that I no longer need.
Clutter Causes Stress
Clutter is chaos and just looking at that chaos causes stress. It’s good for the eye to find an empty spot on which to rest for a moment. An empty spot in a drawer or closet. A place to breathe. Ahhhh…
Purging is an ongoing process for me. It’s overwhelming to try to do all of anything in a day. I want it to be more a way of life. As I come across things I consider whether it’s something I need to keep. With practice, I’ve gotten better and better at it, able to decide quicker and more decisively. A box is stationed where they can accumulate. When It’s full, I drop it off at the thrift store.
As we go through life, we accumulate stuff. It takes intention to occasionally slough off some of that “moss.” As I write this, I’m far from done, but I have made significant headway. I’m still motivated to continue cleaning out. It feels really good to purge the things that don’t “bring me joy,” to leave more room for the things that do.