Cleaning out the old prepares space in your life for the new. Get inspired and start right now.
Stuff is everywhere, filling up the car, the kitchen, the closet—even the memory on our computer. When you can’t find what you want because you have to dig through everything else, you begin to recognize that something needs to go. Another sign is noticing that you can’t put something away because the spot where it should go is already full of stuff. The space around us represents and influences our state of mind, which is why it’s so important to make the commitment to ‘let it go.’
If you don’t love it, you don’t need it—even if somebody you love gave it to you. If you love it but do not use it, it is not fulfilling the purpose for which it was made. It will be so much more useful if it is released it into the world to make someone else happy. Trust that what you release will find its way to the right person. Focus on the joy the new owner will have.
As an extra bonus, be prepared to have something perfect come to you through reciprocal action. Clearing away what you don’t need makes room for what you do need and opens the channel so energy can flow. Picture a clear-flowing stream—the opposite of a stagnant, stinky pond full of ‘stuff.’
Letting go doesn’t mean giving up everything to live in a yurt with just a pot and a blanket. It is the middle way—letting go of just enough to make it easier to appreciate what we have. I learned about the Swedish word lagom (LAW-gohm) in New Minimalism Decluttering and Design for Sustainable, Intentional Living by Cary Telander Fortin & Kyle Louise Quilici. They define it as just the right amount for you, the amount that “suits you, supports you and brings you joy.”
Lagom is a beautiful word when my Swedish neighbor says it. He said it also suggests sitting down to dinner as part of a team and passing around one big bowl of food while taking only the amount that leaves enough for everyone else sitting at the table.
Advertisements lead us to believe that more stuff makes us happy, but in truth it ties us down, blocks the channels, and causes stagnation. There is enough for everyone to have enough, but not enough for everyone to have it all. We are in this life together—what helps us also helps others.
What is one thing all of the great spiritual masters have in common? No junk drawer. This is reason enough for me to know I am not a realized being, and it tells me I need to work on it. When our space is clear, our mind can be clear of judgments, labels, and opinions. We are better able to realize we can change our idea of abundance from owning ‘stuff’ and focus on possessing what matters, lasts, and multiplies: love and knowledge!
After talking about the need to downsize for some time, my husband and I decided it was time to put our ‘too big for us’ house on the market. The realtor came for a pre-listing walk-through and told us to take everything down and remove all the small pieces of furniture. It was a frenzy of clearing and cleaning, and though we did not enjoy the process, we enjoyed the freeing effects of the newly cleared space.
Because the accumulation had been gradual, we hadn’t noticed the ‘stuckness’ everything was causing until it was removed. A line from “The Guest House” by Rumi came to mind because we really felt that we were being ‘cleared out for some new delight.’
Letting go does not have to be a frenzy of activity. It works better as a daily practice, like our other mindfulness habits that connect us with who we really are and what we really need. We can be aware of the effects our stuff has on us and realize we don’t need to own everything we love. We can love and let go, keeping only the amount that is just right for us.
Kristie Abel is an artist and freelance editor.
Janet Abel has been teaching yoga in the Hampton Roads area since 2001. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E- RYT) certified by the Yoga Alliance, is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and is a Mindful Living Consultant. She is the Owner/Instructor of her own LLC. For info visit JanetAbel.com.