I love things. Mostly because I love the memories attached to them. My daughter’s first pair of shoes. My son’s kindergarten nap-time blanket. A photo my cousin Dennis took at my wedding of me and my husband's first kiss as husband and wife. Memories.
But then I realized I was being held prisoner by my things. Don’t get me wrong. I would not make it on an episode of Hoarders.
But here’s the thing. I have never seen an episode when the hoarder doesn’t go back to their old ways.
Why? I think it’s because the hoarder doesn’t do the work. Someone else does.
Hence the problem.
For change to stick, the one who needs to change must do the work. Even if it’s a small step every day.
Last week, a dear friend, who is also an interior designer, came to my home for spring cleaning.
We loaded two pickup trucks full of items — furniture, bedding in perfect condition but not on a bed, board games and such.
My friend helping me noticed that I looked sad.
I agreed. I felt sad.
I think that’s only natural. I said goodbye to two truckloads of memories, stuff that had once brought me warmth and security. I smiled at the journey. It’s been a good one. Not an easy one, but a good one.
Then I let go. By giving my things away, they would get to be memories, warmth, security for someone new.
In turn, I would get freedom by generously giving.
Today, I marvel at the before and after. And I celebrate!
Ten years ago, I moved into my home. Ten years ago, I started building memories and also letting go. One big spring cleaning is a good thing.
Yet I will only maintain the clean by doing a little bit every day.