Spring cleaning from the inside out has been the recent focus in my life. Dusting things off doesn't just pertain to items on your shelves. It has to do with clearing the cobwebs within that clog your head, heart, and soul from connecting.
I recently started a mini investigation, if you will, on how to clean up those cobwebs. This investigation started with some reading. There was a plethora of information out there on how to downsize and declutter my home and in turn, my life. I was trying to figure out how to prioritize what items I want to keep around me. When are memories OK to stay as just memories rather than a collection of items in a box. The next important step in this investigation was getting insight from a few friends. I asked them how they prioritize in their lives and what they found works, or doesn't, for them. Of course, everyone is different and has their own unique way of saving and letting go. Taking bits and pieces from all sources eventually led me to tackle my clean-up.
What was it that I was sorting through exactly?
It really started when my parents had brought over some boxes from storage a few months prior. The boxes sat in my dining area for far too long taunting me day in and day out. I felt overwhelmed. Years of memories that were made up of photo albums, boxes of notes, cards, picture frames, college books, and miscellaneous tokens from people or random items that at some point were deemed keepsakes. Every time I would start to fumble through a box an emotional rush would come over me and I found it more difficult than I had originally thought. I needed to get unstuck and that is when I realized the investigation was necessary.
The quest became: How can I detach myself from stuff that defined the past, yet simplify my today in order to let in tomorrow?
I decided to pour some wine one night and go to town; one memory at a time. Some items caused floodgates of feelings to rise to the surface. There were a few tears, and some warm fuzzy smiles...not just from the wine. I would let myself feel whatever it was I needed to feel and then put the item in one of three places, Pile 1: I am pretty sure I want to keep this, Pile 2: Donate, and Pile 3: Garbage bag.
A few glasses and many hours later, I had made real progress. I realized that by letting go of some things, I was feeling lighter. It was a difficult process. Even though there are expert takes out there on just how to do this, everyone has to go through it in their own time and way. However, the next day I was excited to donate the items from my past that were hopefully going to make someone else happy memories.
I don't have the answers to how best declutter your life. It is an on-going practice. Literally, I still have many more boxes at my parents to go through. What I do know is that as I let myself say goodbye to the 'stuff' I was able to feel stronger because I allowed my head to remember, my heart to heal, and my soul to breathe.