Whether you choose to embark on a grand cleaning project to prepare for a move, to make your home sparkle for buyers or simple because you need to clear your space, you know what is going to happen the moment you open the first cabinet and begin to take things out, don’t you?
Though you may be an exceptional individual in your own right, you are human. Inevitably, you will stumble upon the long-forgotten red shoes (what were you thinking anyway?), the notebook with page after page of quotes you never read, the ceramic box you have kept over the years though you have no use for it and the pants you bought because they were in fashion at the time (actually not your style). Need I say more?
“When we hold on to anything that is no longer serving us, in any way, we are also holding on to the belief that we cannot trust that life will provide exactly what we most need,” says Minnesota-based Organizing Coach Sue Rasmussen.
First and foremost, we embark upon grand cleaning and re-organizing adventures in an effort to revitalize our living space. If you are moving or selling your home, this may be a good time to trim down your belongings. This, then, is your first rule: Trim it down.
Only two more rules are required:
- Pick a number
- Get a witness
It does not matter if this is about getting rid of furniture, shoes or trinkets. Make a commitment. For example: “For each room I clean, by the time I am done I will have set aside 5 items to give away or sell.” While this means you are committing to letting go of something, it also provides latitude so you retain a sense of control and willing choice. Pick a number and stick with it.
If there is someone in your household who is not as sentimentally attached to things as you are, enlist their help. Tell them what your plan is, how many items you want to remove and ask them to keep you on track. It is a bit like dieting with a friend and telling them, “Absolutely do not let me eat that first cookie.” If a friend fits this role better than a family member, invite him or her to a cleaning party, or to stop by at the end of the day to review your work. You will be amazed. Knowing you’ll have a witness turns your project into a personal challenge. Deep down inside, you know that if you can pull it off you will feel mighty proud.
“We hold on to things the tightest, when we are forced to let them go and we want things a certain way, when we know they can’t be so.” Whoever said this makes an interesting observation. We hold on to things for the sake of holding on.
Think about this: Throughout our lives, we willingly let go of the family home to live on our own; we later let go of our own house to move into a better one. This we do quite readily; yet we can hardly face living without the pile of ugly shoes in the closet!
Also read “Spring Cleaning Expedition”