I’ve read all the books and articles about organization and decluttering but I always find excuses for not doing it. Even when my spare room upstairs looked like it could audition for an episode of Hoarders, it was either too hot, too cold, I didn’t have enough time, or I was too tired. I would make a half-hearted attempt and then think, “Well, it’s not taking up that much room….” I suspected that it wasn’t just the surface stuff that I was avoiding.
So over the long 4th of July weekend, the weather forecast promised unseasonably cool temperatures, I took a couple vacation days, and tackled a project that had been hanging over me since I moved into my house 15 years ago. It turned into a surprisingly spiritual experience. I turned over years of memories—good and bad—that had gotten buried under the busyness of my day-to-day life. But I realized that I didn’t need to keep the stuff in order to keep the memories. I discovered that limiting my options for hobbies would allow me more time and energy to pursue the ones I was truly passionate about. I cleared off the desk my dad built for me and thought of all the things I’d written at that desk. I found things that I had been searching for off and on for years.
As I excavated layers of accumulated stuff, I thought about the past decade and all the things that had been happening in my life that somehow were reflected in the mess. I made peace with how it got that way and I felt a renewed commitment to diving into the next chapter of my life with a little more clarity—and a lot more space.