Something about the New Year always makes me want to clean. I want the fresh start, the clean slate.
I don’t do resolutions. Instead, I clean out closets.
When we left to visit Mike’s family for Christmas, our plan for when we arrived home was to clean out the house and the garage. When you live in a 1300 sq ft house, it is easy to have too much stuff – and ever since I came home from my last road trip, I just wanted it gone.
I had not planned on coming down with the flu and pneumonia. Or as I have called it for 9 days now, Flumonia.
It took almost a week for my fever to break, which left me not able to do much of anything. Now I finally have no fever, but cleaning still is hard. I can’t stir up dust because it sends me in to coughing fits. My energy level is still so very low.
I couldn’t take it any more though. I had all these plans! Ugh. I hate that about being sick – the fact that all your plans must come to a stop. So much to Mike’s surprise, I ended up cleaning out cabinets in the bathroom yesterday. (No more than 20 minutes!) Later in the day, I had him rearrange our entire bedroom – two dressers and a wardrobe, all shifted places.
Today I tackled a bedroom closet. It is the “electronics” closet, and a lot of my business items are stored in that place. I removed everything I could in a matter of minutes. I had Mike come sweep for me so that the dust bunnies from the deepest corners wouldn’t attack me. I pulled everything out.
Then the heartache started to hit me.
I noticed twinges of it as I cleaned out bathroom cabinets yesterday and made myself toss things like partial cans of hairspray I hadn’t touched in at least a year or two. Today it was different though. Stronger. Bigger.
As much as I love the feeling of clearing these things out, it HURTS.
I’m looking at things I just “had to have” for my business that I never even used. Gear that I’ve replaced, but that I somehow can’t seem to make myself get rid of for some reason. Because honestly? My 10 year old camera will never come out as “backup gear” any time soon.
I’m envious of people that can just get rid of things. I wish I could say I was one of them.
The worst part is the guilt over wasted money. Money that can never be recovered.
Destroying the Power of Guilt
I’m staring right now at this adorable red camera bag which I have never used. I have owned it since 2010. It has moved from room to room, and even from our old house to our new one. Then it took up residence, made a space for itself on a shelf, and I let it live there.
It feels like so many dreams that have come and gone. Maybe that is why I find it such a struggle to release them?
No more. As cute as it is, it has to go. I don’t use it. I won’t use it. I’m not even sure if my camera would fit in there.
It is representative of so many things in my house right now — and I’m formally giving myself permission to NOT feel guilty about moving it OUT.
My donation bag is growing. I’m trashing & recycling as much as I can. I’ll probably sell a few of the photography items. Maybe even the red camera bag.
Permission to Clear Out the Old
When I’m cleaning things out like this, I sometimes have to ask Mike to come sit with me as I do it. I need him there to give me permission to get rid of things. I’ll hold things up that are perfectly good, but that I never use. He tells me to let it go.
It sounds so silly to type it out, but sometimes it is the only way I can get it done otherwise. I need permission.
In case you are like me, I’m giving you permission as well. I know you feel like you’re being wasteful – but really, it is more of a waste to live with all of these things. Clear out the things you don’t LOVE to make room for the things that you do. Get rid of the clothes that are too small. Once they fit again, you would rather have the latest cut & style anyways. Get rid of the clothes that are too big, you don’t want to give yourself permission to regain weight that you have lost. Get rid of business gear that you simply do not use, whether it is product samples or old marketing pieces, or a giant box of business cards that you’ll never touch again.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris