Spring Has Sprung

Time to make a clutter-free space
in our homes and our minds

0213 sln a Bird HouseBird House #6 created by Jill for her book,
Create the Space You Deserve, 2008

So what does falling in love, clearing the clutter, and quieting the mind all have to do with each other?

Are we loving who we are and what we are creating? Over and over we say “we love this,” “we love that.” So what exactly is the “this” and the “that” we so love?

Our homes are often a mirror of how we feel about ourselves. Have we invested in this relationship? The surprising and wonderful thing about this relationship is when we are engaged with our homes they give back. They comfort, they wrap their arms around us when we walk in, we sleep well, and are inspired to welcome others into our homes.

0213 sln a House

I know of no better way of falling in love with most anything or anyone, than by clearing the clutter that is both physical and emotional. Clearing the old causes us to pause, to be selective, to be disciplined and extremely courageous to throw out the overused, to rethink our ways of being, and to ditch the worn-out stuff of our material attachments and our habitual thinking.

A pack rat in a recent vision workshop was struggling to describe and clearly state her vision, her wants for her next chapter. What she said she wanted felt hollow and disconnected. There was no juice - no energy supporting her dream. She stabbed at it, over and over again speaking with forced good intention. While journaling around her imagined dreams, she met her demon.

0213 sln a Bird1653She bravely announced to the group, “I am a pack rat. I came from a pack rat family. My husband is a pack rat and we are raising two pack rat children.” The acknowledgment opened the floodgates of feeling badly about herself, followed by forgiveness, relief and hope. Once her clutter demon was acknowledged and understood, she wasted no time in creating a family “adventure” of clearing not just her soon-to-be office/studio, but the entire house head-to-toe. She bought nothing new. They - her husband and kids - joined her into repurposing some of the inherited furniture stored in the attic, rearranging the furniture from one room to another, which now encouraged different activities to take place in these rooms.

As a family, reluctantly at first, of course, they cleared the way for greater clarity and harmony by courageously removing the outgrown in the closets, the broken in the basement and the forgotten in the back of the garage. Her in-law’s 30-year-old tax returns and bank statements were removed, trashed and freed her now new studio/office. It took time. And it actually became a game, a competitive sport in repurposing and trashing. You could see the changes on her face each week as she came into the program. Eventually, she moved into her now “sacred” space; she choose a comfortable chair, a large table that ran the length of the room, a few files and materials for writing her cake recipes, imagining the packaging and storefront and interior space for soon-to-be new bakery venture.

What she fell in love with is pretty obvious. First, herself for her courage, then her husband all over again as he was willing to release his parents’ accumulated stuff and her boys who reluctantly got involved, but who came to see some of the benefits of being able to grab and go their sport equipment now hanging, boxed in clear boxes on shelves they built at the back of the garage.

They each kind of fell in love with their courage to make tough choices and to do the necessary work, and subsequently feel in love with each other as they got to a playful place of great hilarity of seeing the before and after.

Most years around this time, I selfishly present one of my favorite workshops, Clearing the Clutter, Quiets the Mind. Selfishly, because I know my own need to be reminded to be mindful.