I accidentally ended up on a unique journey since the beginning of 2019 . . .
After saying good bye to my 99 year old dad at the end of January, I turned around to face everything that had been piling up at home while I cared for him—paperwork and tons of STUFF! Not only were my own things scattered or stuffed into nooks and crannies, but I now had a ton of my dad's things piled up as well! Don't get me wrong—anyone walking into our home would never know because all living spaces looked well-designed, peaceful, and in control. But in my heart I knew that every unseen place— all the nooks and crannies of this home we've lived in since 1976—was stashed with things I wanted out of sight.
I've learned that "out of sight" does not mean "out of mind" as I've always been told. It may be out of my conscious mind, but my magnificent unconscious mind was quite aware of the disorder behind the scenes. I didn't realize how much it was actually affecting me until I began the process of letting go. What a tremendously freeing experience!
Motivated by the book Let it Go - Declutering Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life by Peter Walsh, and Marie Kondo's Tidying Up on Netflix, I began moving through my home, drawer by drawer, closet by closet. After a few rooms of drawers and closets I was energized so decided to face my most dreaded spot . . . my art studio/office downstairs. Stored there was every art supply imaginable, and many art pieces I've created (as well as some created by my kids and students) over the past 50 years! There were also boxes and a closet full of leadership workshop materials I've written and coaching tools I've designed over the past 15 years! Stashing everything is what I did "just in case I might need it again some day!" Then, on top of that, I had also stashed down there boxes of framed photos and art pieces from my parent's home because I didn't know where else to put it—and frankly I didn't want to have to make any decisions about it all! YIKES!
Peter Walsh's book had a chapter on going through your parent's things as well as tons of inspiration for downsizing your own things. I prayed about what in the world I should do, and I began to see a spiritual connection between me and "my stuff." I asked the Lord to show me which things really sparked true joy for me, or would serve me well as I go into this next chapter of my life. I also asked Him to make it clear to me why dealing with some things made me feel sad, or anxious, or guilty. I dealt with a lot of emotions as I sifted through a lot of stuff! I asked the Lord to forgive me—and I forgave myself— for some foolish spending. I allowed myself to grieve over past memories, and I chose to intentionally give up the worry that I "might need this later." With each object I let go, I experienced more and more freedom and peace. I threw away a ton. I sent a lot to the Good Will. I gave a few useful pieces to others who wanted them. I even sold a few things on FB Marketplace.
I did this with my eyes on the future. I was thankful for the past and all the lessons learned, but kept reminding myself I was headed into a new chapter, and continually asked myself if each piece would serve me well in this next stage of life. As I watched my physical space declutter and come into a place of pleasing design and order, I could feel that it was a physical manifestation of the wonderful changes happening inside my heart.
I still have plenty of other areas to tackle in our home, but accomplishing my most challenging room has boosted my confidence and inspired me to keep moving— and to make sure I keep things under control in the future!