Be courageous… clear the clutter

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful.”
-William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement

(Much of this post was inspired by Christine Kane and what she says about creating order.)

I spent a few hours of uninterrupted quiet in our new house this past weekend building my daughter’s playroom furniture.  I walked through the open rooms and tried to envision our furniture there and our clothes hanging in the closets.  The panic began.

I have been speedily packing up our apartment.  Speedily because I really have to do it while being with my daughter and we are hardly home these days.  So I pack up whatever room we happen to be in, leading us to a gargantuan mess.  It is nothing compared to the mess that our new home is about to become on Thursday, moving day.

We still have SO MUCH STUFF and it’s weighing me down.  I’ve been talking here about clearing clutter for months, right? But just because I keep reading great advice and just because I’ve already given so much away, does not mean that I am about to begin Chapter one of my airy, uncluttered life.

Christine says, “Getting rid of clutter is a big undertaking. It can be a spiritual process. It is an act of courage. It requires that you ask yourself your motivation for keeping each little thing you have. And in that process, you get to come face to face with all of your inner stuff. Not just your outer stuff. And when you’re holding onto stuff because of guilt or fear or any reason other than “this makes me happy and is useful” then you most likely don’t need that stuff. It just keeps you stuck in that emotion. It’s like saying, “Yes. I’m gonna give lots of power to this guilt.”

In one of Caroline Myss’s early lectures, she suggested that we consistently ask ourselves what is motivating us. What’s behind every action we take. When we do this, we become clear when we’re acting out of fear or negativity or control, etc. Use that same question with every item you pick up and sort through. “What’s my motivation for keeping this?”

[This comes into play for me mostly in the kitchen as I envision huge dinner parties or in my closet where I picture myself at fancy soirees or weekend picnics.  Neither happen much and yet I still keep all those platters and dresses.]

First I am going to take Christine’s advice and let go of anything that I’m keeping solely based on fear.  In essence, this is like saying to the universe, “Hey, I’m not going to fail. And even if I do, there will always be lots of great furniture for me!” And the universe will say yes because it always says yes.

This is huge for me: “I was holding onto tons of old books because I wanted to make sure when I had people over they’d know I was a reader. (If I know someone well enough to have her over, don’t you think she’d already know this?) I have already ripped off the band aid and sold or gave away some of my treasured books.  I thought I was good but then I remembered that we have so many boxes of books in storage, some of which I know of places for in the new house, but many more where I can’t imagine where I’m going to put them.  So that is going to be very challenging for me.

I need our home to be filled with things we love and use and nothing else.  I suppose this is “to be continued…”

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3 thoughts on “Be courageous… clear the clutter

  1. Lovely post. I think we all struggle with this. As I was reading by eye caught a box of VIDEO TAPES we still have in our tv cabinet, and we no longer own a VCR, basically the girls like to take them out and play with them… do i need to keep them, clearly no. We can all do better, one room, one closet, one pile at a time. Try and be thoughtful when you unpack, don’t even let it over your threshold if you are unsure, what a great time to take on this project…you can do it!

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