Friday, December 01, 2006

Spring Cleaning

It almost never happens in the spring for me, but that's how I think of it. Every so often I absolutely MUST clean out my home. It starts slowly and then gradually rages out of control as I rummage about in my house delighting in every discovery of something I do not need and therefore may get rid of.

It's more of a mental and emotional excersize. What am I willing to let go of? What have I learned that I don't need? How have my priorities shifted since the last Spring Cleaning? Who am I really and, as that person, would I wear this dress?

You know, the important questions in life.

I am on the verge of a "Spring Cleaning" (which ironically so rarely involves me actually scrubbing anything. I hate scrubbing things.) I have arranged for some boxes and already know which things are going first. I have checked to see what hours the local women's shelter thrift shop accepts donations. There's probably something wrong with me that the idea of getting rid of any material possesions that I can bear to part with makes me incredibly happy, but it just does. I think it's the sessation that I carry the weight of my material possessions with me in life, and that they are what ties me to the ground. The fewer things I own, the more free I feel.

Earlier this year a friend of mine sold everything she owned - literally opened up her three bedroom home and sold everything but some boxes of keepsakes and some sentimental things - and then sold her home and moved to another coutry with just a few suitcases in tow. I watched her progress with envy and glee as everything slowly disappeared from her home. Maybe I felt crowded as a child, or perhaps I was traumatized by a particularly scray home redecorating program - I have no idea. I just know that on Monday I will step more lightly, immersed in the illusion that my ties to the ground have been eased.


  1. wow, I can't imagine selling everything and moving to a new country!

    Cudos to her!!


  2. I totally understand. Being from a poor family that has a tendency to horde things (and I mean it literally and in a bad way) it was like a light bulb went off when unpacking after moving somewhere. We were trying to organize closets and my husband said "Do you wear that sweater? Do you like that sweater?" And when I said "No, not really, but it might work for xyz occasion." He said "toss it. If xyz occasion ever comes up, we'll buy you a new sweater or outfit. Why do we pay to clean, store, and move items we don't even like or want?" BINGO! So, now I, like you, take pride in annually cleaning out the closets. We also have a general rule that new things can't come into the house (or closets) without something else going out. So it makes me think while shopping too. "Do I really want or need that neat or cute item?"

    Thought I'd share.

  3. penny - glad you shared! I come from a similar background and my mother still hold onto EVERYTHING with a death grip. I think that's where my ritual came from... when I was younger I had the urge to keep everything and I have tried to abandon that attitude because the fewer possessions now make me feel free instead of destitute.

    Excellent approach you and your husband take - having one thing "in" meaning another thing goes out. I do that especially with clothing and kitchenware - I buy in basics and when I buy new it is often to replace a basic with a higher quality but similar item. So the replaement is a natural thing to do in those cases!