Tidying Up in the New Year…reflections on cleaning house, home organization, and letting go…is what is on my heart this very moment. I hope there will be some gold in it for you.
Today’s post isn’t going to reduce home organization to 1-2-3 or be a “Change your junk drawer, change your life” ditty. There’s plenty of fluff out there in Pinterestland.
Rather, I will simply set the tone for the conversation gently–because there are enough pressures to do things more efficiently and productively and be a bada$$ in every area of our lives.
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Let’s think about tidying up, but let’s think about working from stillness rather than feverish, caffeinated hype. I’ll write more about working from stillness in a future post because it has changed my life.
I connected with my cousin Jen over the weekend, and she was stoked to show me the home organization strides she already made in this new year.
It was inspiring to see her progress, sorted piles, and sparkling shelves.
I listened to how Jen’s process of ordering, paring down, casting off, and sprucing up is changing and prospering her. Jen has a very calm spirit, and I admire the way she has an eye on the prize (that fully organized and spare home in her future) without the excess anxiety of getting there. She is working with assurance and gentleness and getting there, step by step.
She highly recommends this title below for jump-starting the tidying up which addresses organization by category. When Jen tackled the cleaning supplies category, she says it was eye-opening to discover how many products lived in her home and in so many different locations.
When my cousin addressed shoe organization, again, she found herself amazed at the sheer volume overflowing from various locations. Half of them went bye-bye, and the balance all have a home and are in clear view (I saw them with my own eyes).
Jen’s motivation to increase her sense of freedom and to enjoy her home in a fresh way was moving and reminded me the time is always ripe to begin!
Aside: a full-time writer like me is in my head and heart almost all day long. I’m in touch with how body-mind-spirit are balanced or imbalanced on a daily basis. But others need reminding to be intentional and mindful about the relationships between our literal and figurative interiors.
Is it time for you to lean into further exploration as to how your home, objects, and clutter are affecting your lifestyle, functioning, spirit, and health?
A well organized home does not simply serve us better in terms of our time and efficiency (where IS that lint brush!?!). When there is more order at home in drawers, closets, and pantries, there can be a soothing sense of calm since life is stressful enough.
The dawn of a new year just feels like a natural time to address our stuff, and I’ll admit to you right here, my issues bubble up whenever I address my stuff.
Thank goodness I have teachers and mentors in my life to help! My sister Jody (and my parents!) are pros because they are wired differently than me and can offer a fresh perspective.
While I’m highly sensitive with what seems to be an emotional memory attached to every scrap, they see through a different lens to bypass such territory and make steady progress. The mere act of handling papers, jewelry, and collected things can stir up anxiety as so many decisions are required in the tidying. Maybe you can relate.
(It’s not a coincidence I blog so much about peace and serenity…I have to work at it…here’s an incredible find to learn to embrace the imperfect!)
So some of us must push through despite the overwhelm and discomfort. I am living proof that you can be more organized even if the skill does not occur naturally for you!
Whether we’re talking about clinging to material things or the immaterial, so much of life is about choosing what to cling to and what to let go.
Quaker author and elder Parker Palmer is a spiritual teacher for me who beautifully writes about his evolving perspective and changing priorities as he grows older:
“Most older folks I know fret about unloading material goods they’ve collected over the years, stuff that was once useful to them but now prevents them from moving freely about their homes. There are precincts in our basement where a small child could get lost for hours.”
I love the idea of removing goods which are obstacles to us moving with more freedom about our homes!
Parker continues, “But the junk I really need to jettison in my old age is psychological junk—such as longtime convictions about what gives my life meaning that no longer serve me well. For example, who will I be when I can no longer do the work that has been a primary source of identity for me for the past half century?”
The psychological junk inevitably surfaces for me as soon as my fingers and attention begin to address the material junk I have collected and stored! I am reminded of why those things brought meaning. I am challenged to re-think their value and relevance to who I have become.
The author says he has discovered a new question which leads him to a fresh understanding of what it is he should retain and what should be scrapped.
Palmer says, “I no longer ask, ‘What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to hang on to?’ Instead I ask, “What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to give myself to?”
Can you sense the powerful ramifications of such an evolving shift in perspective?
What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to give myself to?
He expands upon ideas of fear and abundance.
“The desire to “hang on” comes from a sense of scarcity and fear. The desire to “give myself” comes from a sense of abundance and generosity. That’s the kind of truth I want to wither into.”
While we may not be in extreme hoarding mode, we may still be clinging to material goods at an unhealthy level which mirrors our fear and sense of scarcity and keeps us from greater abundance and peace. Its as if the weight of objects we cling to becomes a sort of gravity for us–except the pull is not trustworthy, and a part of us knows it!
Oh the paradox of letting go to step into greater abundance!
Here’s Parker’s latest book:
YOUR TURN. What new freedoms will you receive in this new year?
What will you choose TO GIVE YOURSELF TO in 2019?
Thank you for bravely exploring your figurative interiors with me as we consider how we might begin to transform in important ways and give of ourselves more fully.
Decluttering Lesson from Marie Kondo
See more of our home RIGHT HERE.
Source: Parker Palmer, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old (Berrett-Koehler Publishers: 2018), 26-27.
Peace to you right where you are.
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