Most of us have boxes of ‘stuff’ which need looking at, clearing out, shredding or filing. Is it just piling up and getting on your nerves or is it neatly tucked away for a rainy day. Well…we’ve had plenty of those, so what stops us, apart from lack of time, from clearing out the ‘stuff’ we no longer need or use in our lives?
I’ve had a delightfully uplifting but emotionally moving experience while de-cluttering the house. Our daughter left home recently in her last year of uni and her room is finally empty. It stoked up a passion to see what else was hanging around hoping to get used. From the dusty loft boxes, to bed linen and old curtains hidden away, to a mini sewing machine and two pairs of roller skates plus more. Once you start, your eyes open and you see piles of clutter everywhere! I was also fed up of trying to dig into the jewellery box to find a pair of earrings, so I bought an inexpensive jewellery display and its made life so much easier and colourful as I can see and find everything! I mean, who knew it could be that simple?! Why do we put up with these little frustrations of life when it can so simple to make it easier by reorganising areas we use every day.
However, when I came across a box full of 15+ year old paperwork from my past, I could understand why some boxes, particularly emotional ones, are sealed and not to be tampered with until ready. In the breakup of my first marriage I must have literally picked up all the paperwork, including the rings and dumped them into a box. They were full of paperwork which didn’t need to be kept at all, after two house moves and old albums showing a life over 25 years ago, which bought back great and sad memories. I smiled and frowned while preparing to shred old bills but it wasn’t until I found an old letter to my ex, you know the type ‘our love can survive, let’s stay together’ blurb that my emotion got the better of me and the tears came. Emotions long forgotten, rose through my body as it remembered the heart break. Who knew there was anything left to feel or cry about but they still came, maybe as a sort of release of remnants from the past amidst the hot, angry ‘why did I say that’ tears.
It didn’t last long and gave me a chance to say ‘thank you and goodbye’ for the upteempth time to that era of my life and that young woman who believed that love would conquer all. I looked at her and said ‘you survived, you got through, it’s okay now, forgive all and everyone, release it and walk on’.
The same thing happened when I was on a 1st aid course recently (a ‘second time around possible love’ died in front of me and my daughter many years back on a New Years Day). I had to hold back the tears, when we came to the section about symptoms of stroke, heart attack & choking. I was plagued at the time on whether I could have done more to help him (though the answer was no, he had a heart condition) and emotion started to well up as me and my body remembered the scare, shock, pain of death and loss of love. So once I gathered my thoughts, again I said ‘thank you and goodbye, releasing a bit more trauma from that memory…from my body.
We can have so much attachment to ‘stuff’ and no matter how well they serve us, it is never the ‘things’ themselves but the emotion or memory behind them which hold us. However, don’t be afraid to let go of ‘stuff’ which no longer serves you in this season of life. ‘Stuff’ meaning physical items but also emotions or even sometimes family & friends.
When decluttering physically, start in one room. Then start in one corner of that room and throw away, file, shred, give away or keep it where it is. In the give away, choose, family and friends, boot sale, charity shop or sell. Then start in another corner or cupboard and go from there. Maybe someone else can benefit from it. Maybe if you need it again in three years time, it will come back to you. Remember though, that it always take longer than you imagine as you re-discover parts of your life but it always feels better to make room for more or decide to live with less or indeed to just to say… ‘thank you and goodbye’.
Cover Image: Flickr