“Junk accumulates to the amount of available space.”
My husband often tells me this, and despite my best efforts at staying organized, I have to admit, he’s usually right. No matter how many times I straighten my office or organize the desk drawers, it’s not long before the clutter returns.
“It’s not junk,” I protest.
Truly, it’s not. Looking at my desk this morning, I see lots of useful items. A pen, of course. A stapler. Photo paper. Drawing pencils. A few books. My breakfast dishes. Scraps of paper with scribbled notes — reminders to myself about things I need to do. Rubber bands. A tiny stuffed puppy. A tape measure, some paper clips, and…oh, there’s that flash drive I thought I’d lost!
Well, all right. I’ll admit it. Maybe some of it is junk. Most of it is useful, but in truth, it doesn’t need to be scattered out across my desk. I can spend a little time putting things away and quickly de-clutter my desktop.
What about the rest of the junk in my office? I have old magazines, bottles of essential oils, calendars from years gone by, and stacks of newspapers. I have art supplies, CDs, and a dozen colorful folders containing notes for stories — some in progress, some still in my head.
Is that a Nook I see poking out from the shelf? And do I really need all those computer games? What about all those birthday, holiday, and anniversary cards I’ve saved over the years? Do I really want to keep them?
From time to time, we have to get rid of old things, if only to make room for the new. For me, it’s never easy to part with possessions. Everything that comes into our home has a story; everything creates memories.
All the same, sometimes something’s got to go. So, over the next few weeks, I’ll be going through closets, cleaning off the bookshelves, sorting through stacks of history magazines, and re-organizing my kitchen cabinets. Old clothes we no longer wear will be given to a thriftshop. Old books will go to the used book store. As painful as it will be, I’ll have to pitch out those old magazines, and the assorted odss and ends from the kitchen — cups whose saucers have mysteriously disappeared, containers whose lids have been swept into black holes — well, those will probably also end up in the trash heap.
Once I’ve gone through the house and cleared up a bit of space, I will feel better. Yes, gradually the junk will accumulate once more, and by next summer, I’ll once again be wondering where it all came from and trying to figure out what to do with it all. And once again my husband will remind me that junk does, indeed, accumulate to the amount of available space.
All of this is exterior work, of course. But what about the interior spaces of our lives? What about the clutter and needless junk that accumulates inside our minds? We carry around a lot of negative thoughts and ideas. They don’t help us in any way. Instead, they hinder us.
Those old beliefs — like the old, broken dishes in the cabinet — have got to go. The best place for them is on the rubbish heap. We tell ourselves a lot of lies, you know. For some reason, it seems to be human nature for us to latch on to the slightest things and turn them into what we perceive as undeniable truths about ourselves.
We say we’re lazy, we’re not smart enough, we’re not good enough, we’ll never succeed, nobody likes us, nobody believes in us, nobody cares. On and on we go. We tell ourselves these lies so many times that all too soon we begin to believe them.
Let’s stop! Out with the clutter in the kitchen, the closets, the drawers of the desk…and out, too, with the clutter in our heads and hearts. All the negative thoughts, all the painful emotions, and all those lies we’ve shoved into our brain can be gathered up, swept out, and thrown away.
Yes, like household clutter, some may return. Keeping our interior spaces clean and free from unnecessary clutter is as much an on-going process as any other sort of housekeeping. It’s a day to day process of evaluating our thoughts, determining which ones are truthful, useful, and effective for us, and which ones aren’t worth keeping.
I’m getting rid of garbage today.
How about you?