Tidying Up in the New Year is a chat about cleaning house, home organization, and letting go. If you are ready to get a handle on: clutter, dust, and crumbs as well as clarity for your goals and plans for 2021, I hope this will stir you before you roll up your sleeves.
Tidying Up in the New Year: Who is Busy Organizing?
Even though it’s tempting, I won’t offer one of those “Pimp your junk drawer, change your life” ditties (although you’d be surprised how many folks would click through with a title like that!). Rather, let’s take a gentle philosphical approach. If you’re like me, gentle is most welcome right now.
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While I’m ready to tackle rooms, closets, and storage spaces, I also know it will have to get done in bursts and from a place of stillness rather than a feverish, caffeinated attack. And I can’t compare my strides with anyone else’s.
I connected with a friend who was psyched to show me all the organization strides she recently made.
In Case You Need a Few Organizing Essentials
A Friend’s Progress
It was inspiring to see her organization, the sorted piles, and sparkling dust-free shelves.
I listened to how her process to: bring order, pare down, cast off, and spruce up changed and empowered her.
Hers is a very cool, calm spirit, and I admire how her eye remained on the prize without worry about the process or time to get there. With perseverance and mindfulness, she’s triumphing, step by step.
Plans to Divide & Conquer
She highly recommends the bestseller below for jump-starting the tidying up, which endorses organizing by category.
For example, when she tackled her cleaning supplies, she reports it was eye-opening to discover how many multiples of products she owned and how they were spread across different locations.
When she addressed shoe organization, again, she found herself surprised by the sheer volume of shoes overflowing from various locations. Half of them were donated, and the balance now have a home in clear view (saw ’em with my own eyes!).
Decluttering Lesson from Marie Kondo
Jen’s motivation to increase her sense of freedom and to enjoy her home in a fresh way reminded me the time is always ripe to begin!
Why Bother Organizing?
Is it time to lean into further exploration as to how your clothing, decor, objects, and clutter affect your lifestyle, daily functioning, spirit, and health?
Because a well organized home does more than simply serve us better in terms of TIME or efficiency.
When we create more order at home in drawers, closets, and pantries, we may also be ushering in a pervasive sense of calm.
Speaking of ushering in calm, did you read my post about paint colors for 2021 RIGHT HERE?
Addressing the Stuff of Life
The dawn of a new year always feels like a natural time to address my stuff, and I’ll admit, my issues bubble up whenever I address my stuff.
Since I’m highly sensitive to nostalgia (there’s an emotional memory attached to every scrap I sort through!), sorting through papers, files, and collected things stirs up all the feels.
Don’t Go it Alone!
Thank goodness I have teachers and hand holders in my life to help! My sister Jody and my parents are pros because they are naturally organized and energized by the process.
It’s not a coincidence I frequently blog about peace and serenity; I’m often compelled to create more at home.
Here’s an incredible find to learn to embrace the imperfect!
Pushing Through If You’re Not Naturally Neat
Some of us must push through despite the overwhelm, and I am living proof you can be more organized even if the skill does not occur naturally for you!
Whether it’s clinging to the material or immaterial, so much about personal growth involves emptying, choosing what to cling to, and choosing what to let go.
Wisdom from a National Treasure
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.”
Make Room for Freedom
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?”
De-cluttering Psychological Junk
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. And I am challenged to re-think their value and relevance to who I have become.
I have shared this before, but 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 potential power of such a 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.
Fear & 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.”
Even if we’re not in extreme hoarding mode, we may still be clinging to material goods at an unhealthy level, mirroring our fear and sense of scarcity and keeping us from peace.
Oh the paradox of letting go to gain 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 2021?
…and do I have your blessing to give myself to chocolate chip cookies because my sweet tooth will not take no for an answer!!!! Here’s a recipe to try from a sweet creative dynamo:
Thanks for bravely exploring figurative interiors with me as we consider how we might begin to transform in important ways and give of ourselves more fully.
Source: Parker Palmer, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old (Berrett-Koehler Publishers: 2018), 26-27.
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Peace to you right where you are.
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