It’s been a few months since I’ve written you. Life has certainly been challenging lately. Besides my battle with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, my husband and I finally put to bed our discussion about downsizing. We’ve been talking about it for years. We finally did it. We moved from our 2550 square foot, plus a garage, family home of 27 years to an apartment of just 1144 square feet. What a challenge. Not only was it labor intensive, but it was emotionally draining as we tried to sort out what to keep versus not to keep.
I had to turn it into a little game. Step one, rather than deciding what to toss, I looked at it as, “What must I keep?” That made the first part so much easier. When I looked at huge collections of stuff, for example glassware in my china cabinet, deciding “what must I keep” narrowed the process. I ended up keeping two things initially and eventually increased it to about five things. I was even able to sell the china closet.
Then of the stuff we kept, I asked “What must we keep near us?” Those things went to our apartment. The rest went into storage (like family photos, grade school report cards, etc.)
Then of course there was the stuff we didn’t need to keep. That went into three piles: The giveaway pile, the sell pile, and the junk pile. Creating the junk pile became the ticket to making everything else happen.
We were trying to set up for a moving sale just prior to the close. But when I walked into the garage to look for good stuff to sell, give away or move with us, I couldn’t see the good stuff because of all the junk that was in the way. I felt paralyzed. Staring at the mess for a long time, I finally opened the garage door, and placed one piece of junk on one side of the driveway and told my husband this was the beginning of our junk pile. From that moment forward, I made a bee-line for the junk only. We both began piling things in the center of the driveway, things no one would buy, and we didn’t want. By the end of the first day, we had a huge pile. During the week, it got bigger and bigger. As the junk got cleared out of the garage, we were able to focus on the good stuff. By the end of the week, our garage was clean, and we could see the light. It became our final storefront for our moving sale. It was a thing of beauty. After 27 years of darkness and clutter, it was a huge and welcome change. The day the junk haulers came and threw it all in their truck was very freeing.
It is the same with life. So often we hang on to the junk in our lives for so long that it becomes difficult to see the good things. We spend time thinking about the “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda’s,” All that does is clutter our mind with thoughts about things we can not change. Embrace forgiveness in, and from, others. Forgive yourself where necessary. Let go of the “what if’s” and learn to love the “what is.”
Start deleting the junk in your garage, in your drawers and closets, and in your mind, and make room so you can see what is good.
Enjoy your summer and use sunscreen.