#SoCS: Clearing the clutter and creating a fresh start

Hellebore from my Portland garden over 10 years ago. Hellebores were the first flowers to bloom each spring, a welcome sign of renewal every rainy January.

This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday blog hop. Linda Hill posts a prompt every Friday; see https://lindaghill.com/2020/07/03/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-4-2020/. This week’s prompt is, “toss.” Use it any way you’d like.

I’ve spent a little while noodling on this week’s prompt. Tossing manure in garden beds? Toss-ups? Tossers (a great British insult)? I landed on the idea of tossing things out, on clearing clutter from my life, getting rid of what I don’t value (much) to make room for what I do value. I’ve been doing that literally and figuratively for at least the last year or so.

I’m big on renewal. I had a lit professor back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I was an undergrad, who talked about American optimism and how the idea of starting over is ingrained in our culture. That resonated with me then, and it resonates with me now. I’ve always loved the beginning of fall, when the new school year starts, because it feels like a fresh start. I enjoy moving (well, OK, not the actual process of hiring movers and having them steal our DVDs, nor the process of selling our house to some jerk who wants to lowball us and have us do $15,000 worth of repairs). I enjoy the process of starting over in a new place with new people and new possibilities. Having a clean slate forces me to think about what I really want in my life rather than to keep doing the same old stuff.

But I’ve learned that renewal is possible without something as drastic as moving. I can lighten my load, again, literally and figuratively. I can toss out stuff I don’t use anymore to make room for things I will use, or, better, to create space uninhabited by crap. Open space, empty space, is relaxing and peaceful and inspiring. Clutter is exhausting.

I can rethink my commitments and drop a few to make room for my current priorities (like writing). I can drop an old habit that doesn’t serve me well and replace it with one that does. Example: I read a book called The Miracle Morning a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been revamping my morning routine based on its recommendations. I’m actually more excited to get out of bed in the morning now, and I’m getting up earlier, too. Today–a Saturday and a holiday–I rolled out of bed at 5:40, and I started writing this piece at about 6:30. Anyone reading that last sentence who knew me even a year or two ago probably thinks my soul has been snatched by aliens, and I’m now a pod person.

So if you’re feeling like your space or your life is too full or full of the wrong things, you can change that. You can toss out what doesn’t serve you well and either replace it with things that will help you meet your current goals or enjoy the newfound space in your world. Remember:

Today is a new day.

Today is a fresh start.

What would you like to toss out? How would you like to remake your world?

17 thoughts on “#SoCS: Clearing the clutter and creating a fresh start

  1. This is so great and so important for me to hear. It’s easy to feel like I haven’t made progress on anything (writing in particular) when I’ve really just made progress on other things. Important to be kind to yourself and recognize that today IS a new day and a new opportunity. 🙂

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    1. Right there with you. I’ve started journaling daily as part of my morning routine, and one of the things I often do is express gratitude for the things I was able to accomplish. Then I have evidence in writing that I actually did some things, and I’m often surprised at how much I accomplished. It’s too bad we’re so often our own worst critics. I’m trying to change that, but I have a long way to go.

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  2. It is a wonderful idea which I have always followed 🙂 Whenever give away something which i feel is not really needed and can be used by someone who needs it more, I feel my world has become lighter 🙂

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  3. Matthew McConaughey said that we find ourselves not by looking at who we are but seeing who we are NOT. I’m glad you’re tossing the baggage out and slowly getting to know whats important to you. What to prioritize. We ALL should. Lovely post. Have a happy 4th

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  4. It seems like decluttering is a continuous process for me, especially after going through all the things left to me in my parents’ house over the past three years. Still, I’m making progress, and it feels so good to create space to move and dance and explore. Thanks for the encouraging words!

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    1. Oof, cleaning up a parent’s place is tough. I stuck my mother’s stuff in my spare bedroom closet when she moved to a care home and didn’t touch it again till a few months after she died. Three years is a long time to have to excavate like that. Take care.

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      1. My parents lived in the same house for 40 plus years. After mom died, Dad refused to move. So I had almost 50 years of accumulation to deal with when he died in 2017. What a relief to have it done, though I still have several photo albums, books and other inherited memorabilia.

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  5. We’ve been trying to sell our travel trailer for several months now, so I can relate to those “lowball” sorts. I’ve never had a problem with tossing things out. My problem was not talking myself out of doing something for the fun of it. Catholic guilt is a living-breathing thing and can really spoil the process of anything related to tossing. That probably doesn’t make sense, so just know that your post resonates.

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    1. I don’t have Catholic guilt–I have “child of parents who survived the Depression don’t waste anything” guilt. It’s hard for me to throw stuff out, but I’m getting better at it. I’m also getting better at not bringing the stuff home in the first place, so I don’t have to throw it out. Good luck selling your trailer. I’ve always wanted one, but we aren’t in a position right now to get one. Maybe when I retire.

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