Have you ever heard of “The Flylady”? She is a lady who has started a website to help us become more organised, tidy, and ensure that we suffer less from “CHAOS” – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome! (Because it’s too messy etc!)
I am taking tentative flybaby steps at the moment and I receive a daily update of messages posted. One of them caught my eye yesterday morning.
It was about a lady and her husband who helped clear out her Mum’s shed that was packed full of “things that might come in handy one day” by her Father (who died 10 years ago).
Once we start putting items into the ‘Thing’s That Might Come In Handy’, or ‘Possible Lifesavers’, it’s very easy for it to get out of control because we’ve either invested money or time into having the ‘possible lifesaver’ in the first place, or we are of a nature where we hate to throw anything out.
My Nana was like this and I think I’ve spotted a pattern. She had wardrobes full of clothes and the time came to sort them out and clear the wardrobes after she died. As we did this we found that a fair few items still had the price tag on them, they’d never been worn.
As I sat in their back bedroom, surrounded by mountains of clothes in bags to go to different places for recycling, reselling, reusing etc, I concluded that whilst it may have appeared obsessive to some, it was perfectly ok and if you look at the story of her life – actually quite reasonable.
She was born in the 1920’s and not only did she live through the second world war, managing rations and shortages of everything but before that as a child, lost her parents at a very young age. Nana and her youngest sister had very little until her eldest sister and husband were able to take them in and look after them.
So, from a lifetime of shortages and “managing” was I really surprised that there ended up 3 wardrobes full of clothes? No. They would all “come in useful” some day. Make and Mend was the first rule, and then if they were absolutely unmendable, to the duster bin they went. Other things that perhaps were bought that weren’t quite ‘right’ but nothing wrong with them, got stored for another day when they would come in handy, or worn, or passed on to someone else.
Sometimes it’s hard to let go of things we have been ‘saving’ or hanging onto for many years. It’s like we’ve invested so much time in hanging onto those items, to just get rid of them may feel like a complete waste of time.
So are we going to continue to waste even more time (or space) because we can’t let the previous time ‘wasted’ go to waste?!
The problem is magnified when someone has put a good deal of their energy into ‘saving and sorting’ possible lifesavers who have then died. It’s almost like we want to continue to hang onto it, in memory of their energy and efforts and forward thinking.
Thinking about it, physical clutter and possible lifesavers are very similar to emotional clutter. We are so used to holding onto ‘stuff’ that it becomes familiar. Then we feel like we couldn’t possibly get rid of it, because we just couldn’t imagine life without it. “I’ve been angry at (insert name) for years, I couldn’t just let it go now…” What stops you? Time and energy invested up to now? How much more time (and energy) are you going to drop into this?
The feeling that comes when you do tackle a clutter spot, is just amazing. I bought a house a few years ago and with it inherited a huge double garage full of, well, rubbish. But I am sure that to the previous occupants it was “what might come in useful – one day”. My Dad and I hired a skip, and spent the weekend taking things out of the garage and up to the skip planted on my front garden. It’s a fair distance as I have a rather long back garden and it’s uphill to the front of the house! Each step may have felt my physical body being drained of energy and feeling more weak and tired, but my spiritual body was getting lighter with every step! At the end of the weekend I stood at the back door, and looked down at the garage. I physically felt lighter! Who knew a garage full of “stuff” could physically weigh so much on a person?
It’s very similar with emotions that are no longer useful to us. Sometimes it isn’t quite as easy as piling a whole heap of physical items into a rubbish bin or tossing bin bags into a skip at a recycling centre, but when you do ‘let go’ (however you do it), you find there’s more space, more air, more room in your heart and soul for those things that are truly important.
A little challenge – what’s one physical ‘thing’ you could get rid of today that’s causing clutter, and what bit of emotional baggage could you choose to release today also?
For more information on what the FlyLady does, and how she can help you – visit her Flylady website and see what baby steps you could take today.
If you feel brave, let me know what you decide to throw out!