Last year, I proudly announced that I was going to declutter my home. Moving toward minimalism. Settling in with less and finding the more in it.
I failed miserably.
I reserved days when I was supposed to clear entire closets. I came up with monthly target areas for clutter-clearing. March was going to be the kitchen, June the main closet, September the books.
For all the fanfare, I cleared all of two miserable drawers in the guest bathroom.
Sometimes change needs to be coaxed slowly.
Like holding the hands of a toddler just beginning to find her legs.
You can’t force it. You just have to lead gently and trust she will learn. Soon enough.
I have a great walk-in closet that I designed myself some years ago.
I don’t go in there. Not in the last three years other than to dash in quickly and grab linen and fresh towels.
All the clothes I wear fit in a small chest drawer that lives outside the great walk-in cave. The few pairs of shoes that I actually use live in the laundry room.
Meanwhile, the cave houses the relics, evidence of a previous life and work style that no longer suits.
I don’t go in there because the stuff reminds me of the past I no longer want.
And yet, getting rid of its proof feels permanent. A final closing of the door and throwing away of the key.
The day I scheduled last year intended to be the closet clearing event ended up being a day of reminiscing. Refolding. Rearranging. Things looked neater but intact. No hangers were freed up, no shoe boxes thrown away.
The pile of books was growing, looking for space in already overflowing bookcases. It began to spill over, with some finding home on the dining table, on the countertop, on the floor around the bed, around the couch.
In February I had some friends over for dinner. When I found myself hiding the homeless books in the laundry room to tidy up the space, I felt the need to declutter overcome me.
So I’m trying again this year.
Two pieces every day. I negotiated with myself.
Two pieces of anything, to be thrown out or donated to Salvation Army. Just two, Lou. You can do this.
Five weeks later, I see progress. Some days, I take out more than two. But always, at least two.
I’ve made a couple of trips to Salvation Army already. And the local library accepts book donations.
Making space for the new means letting go of the past that no longer fits.
Like most things in life, I’ve discovered that this too, is a process.
There are some things I just cannot force fit, no matter my intention or how hard I try.
It works better when I hand hold them and walk them in gently into my life.
Trust that they will stick. Soon enough.