More Freedom From Chains

As I work on freeing myself from the emotional chains that had kept me in financial and other bondage for so many years, I find myself once again facing a time of “stretching”. In other words, you’re not done growing yet, Laurie.

My realization today came from J. Money’s recent post about giving away something he realized he was way too attached to. We’re in the process of a major spring cleaning here. And as I’ve been looking around the house the last few days, I’m seeing more and more things that make me stop and think “What on earth are you keeping that for?”

An example: Every goal, task, budget and other thing I need to remember gets written down in a notebook. Yes, I know that we’re well into the 21st century and that people nowadays have smartphones and other electronic gadgets for writing things down. But I’m a writer at heart and there’s something about seeing ink on paper that makes me feel all mushy inside. πŸ™‚

This is not a problem. The problem is that when I use my notebook up, I grab a new notebook and shove the old one into the desk drawer. You see, I might need to refer back to some notes from the old notebook for some reason. The only problem with that thinking is that I rarely do refer back to the old notebooks. So I’ve got a small stockpile of notebooks hanging around the house for no reason at all.

Do they really need to be there? I’m not sure that they do, so why can’t I throw them away? Β (This is a rhetorical question, no psychological diagnoses in the comments, please. πŸ™‚ )

I’m not saying that it’s not okay to hold on to stuff. I think it’s very important to hold onto things for a variety of different reasons.

What I’m saying is that – at least for me – it’s time to be more thoughtful about what I hold on to and why I hold onto it. I’m not a hoarder by any stretch of the imagination, but the little part of me (and it’s a very little part of me: my lack of commitment to having an ultra-clean house will attest to that πŸ™‚ ) that wants my home to look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens or This Old House sometimes wrestles with the nostalgic, romantic part of me that files every drawing the kids make me into a three-ring binder and saves every photo for scrapbooking.

And for me, spring cleaning is not only a time to tidy up the house, it’s a time to work to discover if I’m holding on to some things for the wrong reasons.

Although it’s not always fun to work through those discoveries, the end result is usually a happier, more peaceful “me” as I learn to let go of old fears and memories that really don’t need to be there.

And bonus: I’m one more step closer to that Better Homes and Gardens feel. πŸ™‚

Do you feel like spring cleaning helps you to clean out your mind and heart too? Is there a physical item or two that you think you might be too attached to?Β 


*Photo courtesy of John Verive


18 comments on “More Freedom From Chains

  1. We’ve been cleaning and declusttering forever. πŸ™‚ It does feel good emotionally to spring clean, letting go of possibly past mistakes. I tend to hold on to things thinking I may use that in the future and that time never comes. Having less stuff just make life easier, less to clean, organize, lose, etc.

    We need another round in our house. πŸ™‚

    1. I do that same thing, Brian! Keeping things “just in case”. Getting better about getting rid of that stuff, though. πŸ™‚

  2. It’s funny because last year I did a whole bunch of decluttering in our basement. It kind of came to a stop and I keep saying that I needed to pick back up, but honestly it’s been so long now that I just need to call it what it is, a brand new project. In any case, I was downstairs yesterday two times looking for stuff and one time I was going through the stuff I did last year and the other going through areas where I hadn’t gotten to before it fell off, and in each case I knew that there was a lot of work to be done. In both cases, I was excited at the possibility of freeing myself of the stuff I no longer needed.

    1. “I was excited at the possibility of freeing myself of the stuff I no longer needed.” It really is freeing, isn’t it?? Best of luck with your new declutter project. πŸ™‚

  3. I went from my extremely minimalistic life in Florida back to NY when my mom passed and had to clear out her hoard ~ I mean house! I think she kept everything anyone ever gave her. Like ~ ever! But now that the house is cleared, but not to extreme minimalist level, just regular minimalist level, there’s a real feeling of accomplishment. I was surprised at how difficult it was to let mom’s things go. She was obviously very attached. But I had to keep remembering that she didn’t need that stuff anymore. “They” are so right. You truly can’t take it with you. So please everyone, do your family a favor and follow Laurie’s decluttering advice. They will thank you when you’re in that sweet by-and-by. πŸ™‚

    1. Agreed, Kay! My mom and step dad decluttered BIG time before they moved into their 50+ rental and I’m SO glad they did. When we had to move them this last month from a 2 bedroom to a 1 bedroom, it took no more than a few hours to move everything and clean both places!

  4. Most of our belongings have been in storage the last 8 months as we live in the studio apartment while we build our house. We go there occasionally (usually just to get season appropriate clothing) and it’s amazing how much stuff we don’t miss. It’s nice to have & most of our belongings are furniture that will be used once we have more children, but for now it’s amazing how the “out of sight, out of mind” concept applies to my wife & I.

    1. True here too! We didn’t unpack a lot of stuff when we moved here simply because we cut our living space in half. When we move again, we’ll be getting rid of LOTS of stuff.

  5. We go thru de-cluttering bouts where we will do a “70 in 7” challenge. Essentially, we each find 10 things a day for 7 days to either sell, donate, or get rid of. It works well, but like you, I had a lot of homebrew magazines I’d saved because I wanted to go over the recipes and things. Then I realized I’d never looked back into one magazine ever, plus, they have them all archived online, or I could find more specific answers to my questions by googling it and finding a forum that has already discussed it. πŸ™‚
    I’ve done the same with old notebooks around work as well. I keep thinking, “But maybe I’ll need those notes” and I never do. I find it’s a very nice feeling now to review my notebooks and for all the pages with “non-pertinent” data, I tear them out and put them in the recycle. I ended up with only 4 sheets left from one regular sized notebook. Haha

  6. Yes–even though I regularly try to clear through clutter, there are always items that I didn’t think about giving away last time, that I can’t think of any reason for keeping. I just sold my Irish dance shoes, and donated two large bags of clothing (some were the hubs’). Some of it was “sentimental” clothing I hadn’t worn in 15 years and realized I was keeping for no good reason.

    1. Funny about the sentimental clothing, isn’t it? Where does that come from? I can’t wait for our next decluttering session. We are making a trip to the thrift store this weekend. Woohoo!

  7. I definitely spring clean πŸ™‚ I also realized, I have two old notebooks of blogging stuff from years ago that I still have! Whoops! Thanks for the reminder that I need to toss those out πŸ˜‰

    1. It’s kind of fun to go through those old notes, isn’t it? I can see you being a master spring cleaner, Mackenzie. You seem so organized. πŸ™‚

  8. No psychological diagnoses!? Awww… I have a stash of old diaries from ages 10-over 20, and there’s no way I’ll ever throw them out. I’ll will them to some department of psychology a few decades (I hope!) from now : ) I think that we develop minimalist muscle just as we develop frugality muscle. What I couldn’t bring myself to throw out two years ago, I had no trouble throwing out last year. This year, I’ll be able to toss still more. (But NOT those diaries.)

  9. I love pen and paper, too! I’m much more likely to remember something if I write it down by hand, rather than typing into onto a screen.

    I’ve always torn recipes I want to try out of magazines, but since I hate cooking, the piles grow tall and dusty. I periodically weed them out, but this is an area where I really struggle with clutter…

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