Spring cleaning time is here again and we are in full swing re-organizing and cleaning our house. (No, we’re not finished.)
For years now I have found myself hanging on to items because I feel guilty giving certain things away. Worried that the person who gave the item would be upset if I did give it away or sell it. Truthfully that person may get upset if he finds out I gave away certain items, but who is the one that is left with the clutter and not really enjoying her things because of the clutter?
Well, in the midst of our recent re-organizing, I have also been after my daughter to do the same. For many years now, I have cajoled her into keeping things that I like or that I thought should be special to her. And as hard as it has been I finally have come to the place (I believe because of my own clutter), that I need to let her decide what she would like to keep and what she would like to give away.
Needless to say, I’ve been rethinking this whole hanging on to objects thing. Here is what I’ve come up with:
1. When you give (or sell) something to someone, it’s none of your business what they do with it after that. That person ought to be able to enjoy that item to the fullest and be able to pass it on later to someone else who will enjoy that item just as much if not more. And what if the recipient doesn’t really need the item? That person ought to feel free to pass the item along to someone who can use it, rather than hanging on to something simply because the giver will be angry or upset.
2. Remembering the past is good; living in it is not. When we are not willing to let go of items, no matter how fond we are of them because of the memory of the person who gave the gift, after a while you have so much stuff, it gets in the way of the present. So, let go of some things. You’re not dishonoring a person or their memory. Often when given to someone else who can use the item, you’re bringing joy or fulfilling a need for that person and creating a new memory with the gift.
3. Although, we have just begun our efforts, we already feel more productive and creative. Home is more of a haven rather than just one more unfinished project.
4. It’s okay to go slowly. Sometimes, you just want to put the trash can at the end of the desk and slide everything in so you can be finished today. But you don’t have to finish today or even by the end of the week, unless of course you want to.
However, I have found that since we have been taking our time and really clearing out the clutter, it makes it a little easier to maintain the organized look and feel of the area.
5. Finally, I have also learned that in helping my daughter reorganize, I have to allow her to let go or hold onto things as she sees fit, to let her honor her memories in a way that pleases her. The things that I think should have special value are not the same for her. She needs to be able to keep what she knows she can use and that are special to her without interference from me.