I used to fill my home and life with many useful and lovely things. I felt you could never have too many books or crafting supplies and loved to see many photos of my loved ones sitting and hanging about. Over time I began to feel a strong need to have empty spaces rather than lovely and useful things. So a few years back I began to clear my home and life of things that weren’t useful or beautiful or that I could just live without. Little by little the contents of our home is dwindling and empty space is appearing. That feel really good to me. Space, clean, unhindered, room to breathe.
Now, mind you, I have never been what you would call a hoarder or pack rat. Well, perhaps I hoarded craft supplies, but everything still managed to have a place. But the question is, does it need to have a place in my home? I was hanging onto things because, oh well, you know the typical list of reasons. I might need that in the future, I have a sentimental attachment, so and so gave it to me, it really is beautiful or fits with my decor so well. Yes, there are many reasons for hanging onto the things we do. But, for myself, life seems lighter if I let them go instead. And, honestly, very rarely do I miss, think about or even remember things I have let go of.
I do know that in the beginning it is difficult to let go of our possessions. Where to start and what if I regret it? Start small, one thing at a time.
•My suggestion to you is begin in an area that you already feel is overcrowded and perhaps you are aware of many things in this area that have overstayed their welcome. Take some time when you can have a few quiet moments to go over this area and consider every object in it. Think, when was the last time I used this? Will I continue to use it? Is it complete, unbroken? Is it beautiful? Do I love it or just like it? And would I miss it if it were gone?
•I keep a grocery bag hanging by the broom and as I come across things I am ready to let go of I place them in the bag and take it to the Salvation Army when it’s full. On some weeks it won’t be a grocery bag but several large trash bags full! But do have some designated bag or box for giveaway items. If you don’t have a place to put it you may end up leaving it where it is. And the nice thing about the bag is that if you change your mind before time to drop it off at the charity shop then it’s still there.
•Take it one area at a time. The temptation may be to declutter the entire house. But this is time consuming and can be very emotionally draining. Take it slow and build up.
•After some time passes go over the same areas. I go back over an area many times before I’m satisfied about what’s in it. Letting go can be difficult but over time you will begin to see that an item is unused or no longer fits your style or perhaps you’re just willing to pass it on now.
•Do not have an ‘off limits’ area or type of item. Maybe you won’t give up anything from a certain area. Perhaps you truly have no desire to let go of any old photos or sentimental objects. But it never hurts to just go over them and give it some thought. You may just change your mind about things.
•Don’t forget about what’s hanging on the walls or waiting to go up on the walls. It’s very clearing to see my walls lighten their load.
Letting go of the things that fill our homes can be a long and ongoing process. At times it may be frustrating and a bit emotional. But if you revisit your things often, instead of storing them away and not ever thinking about what you do and do not want in you home, I believe you will find an energy for it and a peace in your space as a result.
Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.