My treadmill is up for sale. The video game that doesn’t work is in the garbage bin. The clothes that don’t fit or are too old have been donated to my maid and my 102nd bag has been given to the cook. I feel a sense of relief; it’s like my thoughts are free and my mind is able to write exactly what it wants because the mess in my house that I have hoarded for years is going.
So why do we let things pile up in our house? Every time I think whether I need this tee-shirt or want to hold on to my favorite bag, my mind is reminded of the memory behind that object. I remember the trips I had been on before purchasing that article. The memory clouds our judgment, till such time when we really are either in a superhero mode of cleaning up or are moving.
My simple formula for de-cluttering is if I haven’t used it for the past year, it needs to go. The memories will always be in my head and they are not leaving me. For instance, I let go of the bag that a friend had gifted me. That friend has moved to another city and hasn’t kept in touch with me and here I was holding on to the bag thinking what a nice time we had had. I realized that I will always remember her, and the good times we had in a group but there was never any emotional connect for me to hold on to the bag.
The simple act of giving also gladdens the heart. If I give clothes away to people who are less fortunate then us, I feel that my things are being used to their optimum value. I may have outgrown them but there is someone who would appreciate a decent shirt or warm jacket in this cold winter. My mom used to always say ‘If you give, only then you can make place for the new’. She used to always make me replace my clothes, i.e. if I bought something new I had to give away some of my old clothes. It was her way of thanking the Lord for giving her what she needed at the right time.
Every object that you de-clutter has a sense of closure with it and a lesson to be learnt in letting go. For instance the decision to put the treadmill up for sale was delayed but essential. Since the last four years after purchasing it, it must have been used for a maximum of 20 days in total; my friends used to joke about me hanging up the washed clothes on it; it was evident that I had other issues which needed to be addressed first. I accept that my decision to buy it was wrong, however motivated I felt while buying it in 2009. So I am wiser and moving on to making more smart decisions.
So I urge you dear friend de-clutter your life. Throw away the objects but not the memories. The freedom you feel when you see an empty drawer, keeps your heart light. Hold on to the photographs, but don’t holds on to objects that can be shared, which still have some useful life i.e. which can be used. Remember you have an overflowing wardrobe but someone out there has probably worn the same shirt for the entire week or month. Books are meant to be shared in libraries, with friends.
The joys of sharing and not just letting it go to waste helps you through your struggles, you appreciate your life and your problems without clutter.
November 16, 2013.
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