December is a great time of year to purge. Out with the old, as they say! I’m a huge fan of simplifying, decluttering, and downsizing. As we prepped to move from Florida to Colorado, I was able to donate a lot of what had become “junk” to me. That’s not to say it was really junk, just that it had been relegated to the junk drawer, the storage closet, or under the bed. That move was unique in that I threw out, donated, or gave away about 80% of our stuff. A few items here and there have been replaced, but for the most part I still have far less than I used to. That feels really good!
For the past nine months I’ve been living in my parents’ house, so there’s a section of the basement housing boxes I’ve not needed to unpack (kitchen stuff, some books, crafty items, etc.). What I’m finding is that I’m not missing a lot of what is still packed away. In fact, I’m looking forward to throwing out, donating, and giving away quite a bit more of it.
I’ve said before, though perhaps not here, that I’m not very sentimental. Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not cold-hearted and lacking the tenderness that comes with reliving fond memories. What I mean is that I rarely… very rarely… purchase a souvenir when I take a trip. I didn’t save all the drawings, papers, and projects my kids made over the years. I don’t save the cards and letters I receive, with very few exceptions. I don’t have any of the boys’ baby clothes or my wedding dress. What I do have is plenty of photographs of some of those things, digitally stored on my hard drive or archived (on acid-free paper, of course) in a few scrapbooks, and even more memories tucked away in nifty little boxes in my mind. Looking at a photo of a drawing Brian Jr. did when he was 3 floods my mind with thoughts of him from the day I gave birth until now. Seeing a picture of Jordan playing with one of his favorite toys as a kid has the same effect. And looking through the photographs of Brian and I throughout our marriage brings back those days like they were yesterday. So, I suppose you can say I’m actually quite sentimental, just not a clutter-bug! I have some trinkets and mementos of times gone by, things I like to keep around to recall the past, but if I had to give them away or they were suddenly gone, that would be okay.
Christmas is a time for traditions, and I guess the Lawsons had a tradition of simplifying the holiday. I probably make more trips to Goodwill during December than any other month. Since the kids were tiny little things, we gave them no more than three gifts to unwrap on Christmas morning. Their stockings had silly little gifts tucked inside, but were by no means extravagant. Now, because they are guys and guys’ toys get pricier as they age, it’s usually one gift. Thankfully, they are both very appreciative for their one gift and don’t look dejected if there isn’t a mountain of gifts under the tree. This year the boys and I are actually celebrating Christmas a month late, so there won’t even be a tree! But there will be togetherness and that’s even better.
This December I’m sure I’ll purge some of my material belongings, but I am also planning to declutter my mind and free up some space for more joy. I want to throw away regret and the last little bits of bitterness that are hanging around gathering dust. I’m also going to toss anger. Sometimes I put that in the recycling bin and nobody needs that in a new form! I think I’ll also trash jealousy, spite, and critical thoughts. I’ll happily donate compassion and kindness, patience, and understanding to those who need some. I have more than enough to spare. Giving away smiles and good wishes seems like a good idea too. That should give me a lot more places in my life to store up happiness, good memories, positive thoughts, and joy.
Making Extra Room = Joy