Most people don't love to clean, but there are those who derive great satisfaction from scrubbing, polishing, sweeping, trimming and scouring, from their bathrooms to their cars, from their closets to their yards. These people wake up early on Saturday morning, roll up their sleeves, and get to work. By dinner time, they've earned their keep. I so want to be one of those people, but it's just not in my DNA; the like-to-clean gene, along with the height and beautiful singing voice ones, missed me completely. While still wanting to have a spotless home, I've come up with an alternative approach: get rid of everything! Genius, if I say so myself. You can't clean something that is not there. Plus, the great bonus of shedding physical possessions is the increased mental space it creates.
Do you remember moving into your first apartment? For many of us, everything we owned (minus what we "borrowed" from our parents' homes) fit into a car. We had a physical sense of lightness, spaciousness, and being unburdened with things. Certainly, stage of life plays a role in how many possessions we own, but mindset is equally important. For example, babies require stuff, but even that can be pared down. Leaving home for a few hours with my first baby meant a backpack filled with enough diapers, toys and snacks in case a monsoon or avalanche hit our city. Three years later my second baby managed just fine with whatever fit into a fanny pack.
Cleaning out our physical environments goes a long way to cleansing our emotional selves. Stuff is stuff, whether it's inside or outside our skin. Just as we accumulate possessions that no longer bring us satisfaction, we grasp and hold on tightly to outdated ways of thinking that may have once served us well, but now clogs our path to clearer vision and optimal living.
Given my genetic disinclination toward cleaning, I decided to maximize the outcome of my efforts by getting a two-fer. You can do it, too. Here it is: every time you discard a physical object, you simultaneously discard a useless thought or belief. Just think, you can rid yourself of that old vase while simultaneously sending a five year old insult into the netherworld. Those old, worn throw pillows get tossed with that limiting belief you have of your entertaining ability. Say good bye to both the nearly bald broom and the lament that you're not a professional athlete. Ahhh... don't you feel better already?
The flip side to spring clean(s)ing is not buying much, if anything, new (makes my husband happy). Professional organizers teach that every new item brought into the home, such as clothing, kitchen ware, or furnishings, requires removing an equivalent possession. As a former bona fide shopper, I still enjoy perusing the latest, soaking in the creativity and artistry of new fashions and home decor. But the thought of packing more paraphernalia into my home, and therefore, into my life, makes my head spin; I become the girl in The Exorcist. Pretty it ain't.
I still have closets to clean and drawers to organize, but I know that with each serving tray and scarf I give away, I am that much closer to living more freely and thinking more clearly. Spring clean(s)ing isn't my first choice of activity, but I will be elated this summer when I'm sipping iced tea from one of my remaining tall glasses while lounging on one of the remaining chairs on my patio. Care to join me?