Something happened yesterday.
It didn’t seem like much at the time.
I was working through my cleaning list and dusting.
Have I mentioned that I really don’t like cleaning house? Don’t get me wrong. I love a clean house – a lot. I just don’t like the process involved in getting there. That may not be true now that I’m typing out the words. I don’t like always living in a mess. I don’t like cleaning when there’s always more to do. I don’t like feeling like it’s a lost cause. That I can never win or catch up.
I sort of enjoy the wiping down of a counter and feeling the satisfaction of a job well done. Cleaning a grungy floor and seeing it shine. Opening a fridge and knowing that everything in it is fresh, useful and available.
I don’t like having to do a load of dishes, putting ten things in the trash, taking a load to the compost pile, and returning a number of things to their proper place – and then wiping down the counter.
I don’t like sweeping up a full dustpan of crap, putting up three pairs of shoes and figuring out what-the-hell that spill was – and then mopping.
I don’t like opening the fridge to prepare dinner and seeing a mess – out-of-date produce that didn’t get eaten because it was shoved to the back instead of in the overflowing produce drawer. Meat that got thawed and not eaten because a schedule changed. Leftovers that got forgotten. Waste. Not being able to grab a healthy snack out and going to the pantry for “easy” instead.
I like the ideal of caring for and cleaning our home.
I don’t like the idea of struggling to get to the point of being able to clean.
And that, folks, is why I starting de-cluttering to begin with.
Now, back to what happened yesterday while I was trying to dust. I picked up an item to clean it off and that little voice said, “get rid of it”. I tried to ignore it because this was an item that has been passed over for de-cluttering for a long time. Years.
Here is the conversation that went on it my head (please don’t judge, I know I have a problem with stuff):
“Get rid of it”
“But I love it. It’s on my list of favorite things. Things I might actually grab on my way out of a fire”
“Get rid of it”
“What if one of the kids likes it and would be sad if it was gone?”
“What if I get rid of it and change my mind and really want it back but it’s gone forever?”
“I know. I’ll pack it in a box and store it away and that way if I miss it I can get it back out.”
Sad to say, I actually did find a box and wrap it up and put it in the box. The box sat on the dining room table and I found some other things that fit into the same “once loved” category. A lot of things. Now, there is a box on the table and I can’t clean off the table. We can’t eat at that table. We can’t play a game on that table. The stuff is still here.
I’ve been at this de-cluttering game for quite a while now. I realize that it will never be completely done.
It’s like peeling away layers. I am at the center – the heart – of this place called home. New layers are formed and old layers need to be peeled away to make room for the growth.
I have chosen to live more intentionally and to make choices that will foster my growth into the life I dream of for me and my family.
The early layers that needed to be removed were fairly easy. These layers are closer to my heart and are becoming more challenging. It’s scary to think of how many layers have already been discarded and how many more there might be. What will I find when I get there? What mistakes might I make on the journey – how much will it hurt?
I think I’m getting closer – hence, the voice that is getting louder and saying “get rid of it”. That voice has been there for awhile and I’ve heard it. But, I’ve had trouble responding.
It’s hard to learn to trust yourself. It’s all wrapped up in the big picture – trusting yourself and loving yourself. Listening to your own voice and not the voices of your childhood, your past, your “inner critics”. Taking control of your life – including owning your mistakes and learning from them. Looking forward and moving forward. Remembering the past, but not holding onto so tightly that you don’t have open hands available for the next gift and opportunity.
Of course, it’s not just about the stuff. The stuff is just a symptom. But, it’s part of the process.
I’m getting up from here and the box is going to the car – off to the thrift store this afternoon.
The table will be cleared and I will make it shine.