Happy Spring! Maybe now it has truly arrived in Chicago. Despite the erratic weather, my body instinctually knows for certain it’s time to clean up the mess I’ve made. Even though I take after my dad when it comes to keeping things tidy, somehow my drawers accumulated more stuff, my files busted open, and the corners of my house collected projects left undone. Perhaps, I’m more like my mom than I thought.
Having just helped my parents downsize from their longtime house, I got to deconstruct the anatomy of stuff. I’ve always been very aware that clutter creates anxiety. In fact, you may recall from a former post, I liked cleaning so much when I was young that I wanted to be a housekeeper when I grew up. Less clutter just feels good – to me.
I often fantasize about being a true minimalist. I’d have four of everything: four pants, four pairs of shoes, four coats, etc. The Minimalists, two guys who have mastered the art of living with only the essentials (like two forks and no internet), offer tips on how to do it. For instance, one of their rules is you can’t buy anything over $30 until you wait 30 hours. If you still want it after 30 hours, get it. But what about minimizing the stuff you do have?
The KonMarie Method tells us to only keep what brings us joy. A friend of mine also offered up this great tip… before you open a drawer, ask “what do I need in here?” If you can’t think of anything, pitch everything. I love both suggestions. But, what to do when you look in the drawer anyway and everything inside brings you joy?
Helping my mom sort through all her joyful stuff these last couple months, I recognize the solution is murky. Authentically letting go feels freeing. Reluctantly letting go feels like an unwanted break up. After all, we save the stuff we love because parting with it seems too painful. The vase isn’t just a vase, but a time capsule of memories from flowers arranged for countless dinners at the dining room table. A place card marks the seat where you celebrated your best friend’s birthday. The playbills bring you back to the shows that swept you away.
When I tried to explain the concept of non-attachment to my mom, she replied, “I’m not a loner.” To her, these things are the people, the love, the moments that belong to her – her belongings. Letting go of these cherished moments would minimize the mess but marginalize her memories. So rather than toss what she didn’t want, we focused on making space for what she loves. Under the clock, rummaging through drawers and boxes and bins up until moving day, it felt like a challenge on the Greatest Race. We made a fabulous team, and, in the end, my mom was the ultimate champ.
Please join me May 1-4 to lovingly clean up your homes (your body and your house) with my 3-Day SLOW Spring Reset, includes new recipes, yoga, discussions, simple decluttering experiences, and tools to last a lifetime. See details below. Sign up by THIS Thursday to get your shop list in time!
With heartfelt intention...
Pam, CHHC, E-RYT