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A Taylor's Approach

The freedom of cleaning and letting go

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Some friends of mine recently decided to take a family member into their home and as an enthusiast of organizing I’ve been helping them go through their things to make room for the new addition. With the sun out lately, what better time for a spring cleaning? 

Making room for an entire additional adult in a not so big space is quite a motivator, but I’m also a big advocate of purging stuff periodically just for your own sake. Little things have a way of accumulating over time, and if we don’t pay attention every now and then we can end up housing quite a bit of stuff we don’t actually care for. 

We started with the kitchen, the heart of the home. Organization had been hard to maintain in their cupboards, but we quickly discovered that was because of the quantity of things within them. They’d ended up with four different sets of dishes between the pair of them, numerous travel cups, and sets of Tupperware that they hadn’t seen in years because they’d end up pushed back to the far reaches. Many of the things were holdouts from their younger years when they’d been short on both cash and supplies that had just never been gotten rid of. Once we pulled everything out and they realized just how much they actually had, they did a great job of filling up the donation box.

The more we cleaned and cleared out, the more enthused they seemed to be about their space. It was like a weight they didn’t realize was there was being taken off their shoulders, one of them told me. 

“Stuff” can weigh us down in ways we don’t realize until it’s gone. There’s an unconscious anxiety that often comes with the buildup of clutter, of not being able to find what you need and eventually not knowing what you have. Taking the time to free yourself of all the things you don’t need to be carrying can be remarkably therapeutic and can do wonders for your day to day motivation. No mess to clutter your mind. Plus, as one of my friends pointed out, actually seeing and knowing what you have is a great way to save money by preventing the re-purchasing of things you already own, too.

We ended up coming to a common theme in our cleaning: don’t let the stuff of the past dictate the life of the present. Prioritize the things you need and use now. It’s okay to let go of things you once needed and imagine them helping someone else. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of sentimentality, of course, and not everything has to go. But even just boxing away things you can’t give up but don’t use often, and leaving that real estate free for the things you actively need, will really increase the usability of your spaces and leave you in better control of them.

Don’t be afraid to unburden yourself. The sun is out. Tackle that space in your house – you know the one – and really look at everything you’re keeping. You might start off the spring by freeing yourself from something you didn’t know you were still carrying.

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