The week between Christmas and New Years has always been a clearing out week for me, a time to lighten our load. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get started until now, but better late than never.
By clearing out I’m not talking about starting a diet because of all the cookies consumed during the holidays, it’s more like a lightening – clearing out things I’ve accumulated throughout the year(s). While I’m packing away the Christmas décor, which makes me a bit sad as the glitter returns to its home, I clean out and donate Christmas items I know I’ll never use again. I start to look around the house, minus all the festive excess, with new eyes and a sense of renewal. When the bins are packed away in the garage I start the process with that one ‘junk’ drawer in the kitchen and then move to the bottom of a closet, then I take a break and write birthdays on the calendar, although the electronic age has now eliminated that step. This feeling of lightening spreads to bookshelves, corners of our home I hardly visit, and to the areas behind drawer fronts and doors.
When is the last time you can honestly say you looked into your cabinets and said, “Do I really need that?” or “When’s the last time I used this?” We surround ourselves with so many physical, mental and emotional THINGS that we occasionally need to remove the extras, the non-used, the non-worn, the non-looked upon items so we have a lighter area to rest our souls. As a designer, I’ve worked with clients and friends who still have LOTS of boxes filled with THINGS that they’ve cleared out of their parent’s homes, or they’re downsizing and stress about letting go of serving dish or two because they may need them “one” day. Every box, piece of clothing, plate or dish carries its own energy, an energy that also takes up space as it resides in your life or home.
I decided it was time to tackle my overflowing recipe card box. Yes I still have paper recipes that are not stored on a thumb drive. I can honestly say I haven’t looked at about 95% of those recipes in years. So I took a half-hour, sat down and started looking at each card, each clipping and scrap of paper I collected for the last 40 years. I fondly remembered who gave me the recipe, how we enjoyed sharing the well prepared dish then I asked myself if I’d ever bake a seven layer cake made with mayonnaise. Well I wouldn’t so I lovingly dropped the card into the garbage. I did keep one or two cards that were handwritten by my mom for sentimental reasons, but the lightening of that box helped me continue my visit to each room, especially the hidden places.
Searching through our things was sort of a hunt for treasure and when non-used, non-worn or ignored items were found, I was thought how grateful I was for ever having them. I acknowledged that donating the items would give someone the same warm feeling that I felt when receiving them originally, then off to the donation box they went.
You can do this with kitchen items, accessories, tools, bedding, clothing and shoes. We downsized from 3500 sq. ft. to 1300 and I can still find things that need a new home – elsewhere.
If you are still holding on to things from your parents who have passed on or a beloved great aunt, I truly believe that they would want their things to be used by someone who needs them, instead of sitting in a box in your garage or basement or a storage unit you pay money for, to never look at the things you never use.
Now when you get on a roll, don’t stop with your house or garage, lightening can also encompass acquaintances, social media or anything that randomly wastes your time and does not truly bring you JOY.
So even though I’m 14 days late I’m asking you to lighten up your life this year, really eliminate things you haven’t touched in over a year, clothing you haven’t taken off a hanger in a decade and remove the un-used, the un-worn, and the un-loved. Make another human happy – NOW – with your treasures or the treasures of family that have gone before you and open up the space in your home and life for amazing things to happen!
Grateful for you,