Please Burn Down My House!
Spring is usually the time of year that many clear the clutter around their homes. We are almost at the beginning of Fall and time to hunker down. Yet, we are starting a conversation about clearing space.
Any time of the year is good to release clutter from our lives especially the type that is in focus here. Unless you are a hoarder, physical congestion in our space is problematic for moving around. While we will look at the value of cleaning house regularly, it is the emotional congestion on my mind today.
“Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.” Wendell Berry
The Clutter We Hang On To
This might sound weird but I have to say I love moving. As a child and over the years my family has changed places of residence so many times. Until a couple of years ago, I looked forward to the “newness” that comes with relocating. The thought of decorating a new place gave me a rush that others get from substances or fast cars.
Similar to those seeking a rush from substances or sex even, my excitement came from stuff. This included mats, rugs and sometimes even appliances to match the new décor – not to mention the bathroom stuff! I am notorious for buying things for the bathroom.
During one of my many moves, in 2008 when this post was first written, I was in the last throes of another move. This time it was relocating from Edmonton to Calgary, Alberta. Work was taking me away to another city.
For someone who has moved twice on the same street in less than two years, one would think it would be painless. Wrong!
Amidst the recycling bags bursting at their seams with the papers that I accumulated over several years, tears were rolling down my face.
De-Clutter Your Life
Despite the challenge of moving away from my then almost 21-year-old baby girl, I was able to recognize the upside of moving. It is something that I would highly recommend to everyone without moving house.
Relocation gives you a great opportunity to de-clutter your space. Spring is another good time.
No matter how often I have moved, there always seem to be an abundance of junk that I have accumulated – mostly paper and trinkets. I love to collect paper and hate to throw it out. Every meeting, every office, every event that I attend paper goes home with me. If I scribbled on a napkin, I take it home for future reference that rarely happens.
Rarely do I go through my files, drawers, old suitcases or storage containers to de-clutter without having to move. I will find a reason to keep every scrap of paper. It takes a monumental reason for me to part with that important phrase that I wrote on a hand-out at a retreat 10 years ago.
Hence that day as I went through the last couple of suitcases the tears were flowing. I was re-reading and having a hard time deciding to throw out journals, letters, and handouts from 2000. They copiously flowed as I looked through my daughter’s exercise books from Grade 2!
Clutter Blocks Your Energy Flow
My emotional response to de-cluttering is real even today. Parting with those pieces of paper, books, etc is letting go of the physical memory that each scrap holds.
Not being able to simply go back when I wanted to, pull out a box and relive times past hurt. It felt like I was saying goodbye to old friends.
However, once my space is cleared of unnecessary clutter that held memories the pain soon passes. This is precisely what de-cluttering one’s space does. It literally frees up space and more importantly, it also frees up your energy.
Usually, once I get past the clinging and all the ‘stuff’ is gone to the dump, exhilaration overtakes me. Yes, there is some fear of what life in a new place and city will bring. Back then, it was anxiety about the commute to work, for my baby girl and my new job.
Making Room For The New
With the removal of physical clutter, there is more space in your life. Space for new experiences, new memories and even, new growing pains.
Truth be told you do not have to wait to physically move to experience this openness. A literal and/or mental de-cluttering can and ought to be done once we begin to feel bogged down with ‘stuff’ that threaten to cut natural breathing off.
There is a saying “Nature abhors a vacuum.” What it means is that wherever there is space, the Universe will automatically fill it. What I have found is that it will be filled with your heart’s desires.
Therefore two things you can do at any time of the year are:
- Always be making space in your life – literally and metaphorically empty yourself.
- Be careful what you wish for as that new space will be filled with your true desires. Not the ones you tell people but the ones you hold in secret.
Do It Today!
Creating space can be hard for some. It takes either a swift kick or that big move for the stubborn ones to let go of the clutter. What I have learned and can advise is that when your kick or time to move appears – do not resist but embrace the pain of saying good-bye to your treasure trove of junk.
The ‘rush’ that you will experience from being opened up, with room for more and seeing how the Universe (or Nature) will fill that space is worth it!
I know this for sure because I have lived it for years now.
Have a great day and week!