Letting go of things that don’t serve us



This past year, we have been living in a state of chronic clutter. It was driving me crazy. So last month, I analyzed the situation and made a plan. It turned out we had too much stuff and too little space. As every organizational guru can tell you, in order to live in an organized home, every item does need to have its own place. In our home that wasn’t the case anymore. And although I do have some organizational talent, my husband and daughter definitely haven’t. If things don’t have their own clearly defined place, they’re lost. With a busy husband, a growing-up daughter, my own ambitions and fluctuating energy levels, that posed a problem. Especially, because my energy level is negatively correlated to the level of clutter in our home.

Last weekend, we  built additional shelving, hung two coat racks, and even a shelving unit just for bags. Today, our mud slash utility slash laundry room is an organizational heaven. As we only put back what we really wanted to keep, we were left with four boxes of stuff for charity, three crates for my daughter to sell at the children’s flee market on King’s Day and a shelving unit that doesn’t fit our needs anymore to sell on E-bay. As we all know, purging begets purging. So yesterday, as I was looking at every item in my living room through the eyes of a purger, asking myself if it could stay or had to go, my eye fell on a tray of orchids, in their resting state, waiting to bloom again. I love orchids, they are my favorite plants. When they are in bloom. In their resting state, they are, what can I say, not exactly a sight for sore eyes. And as I don’t particularly enjoy the process of getting them to bloom again, I decided to say my farewells. I put them on the counter with some other stuff to be tossed, when my mind started racing. “Couldn’t I keep them?  Couldn’t I put them somewhere else, less visible?” Now you have to know that I don’t have a track record of bringing orchids to bloom again. I am not even particularly well at keeping them in bloom. “Maybe if I tried harder they would come to bloom. I should keep them, really, I just should do my best and make them come to bloom. It would be a waste to throw them away. Buying new orchids, when mine are done blooming is unsustainable behavior,” the voice in my head ranted. “Maybe I could keep them,” I kept thinking.

This morning, I decided that I will not throw away those leafy orchids. I will put them on the sidewalk. They will be free for anyone who wants them. Because while I am financially blessed to be able to buy orchids when mine are done blooming, some people aren’t. And while I don’t like resurrecting orchids, there surely will be people who get a kick out of that. I decided that I am not a bad person because I love keeping orchids even though caring for indoor plants is not my thing, the beauty of orchids bring me a great amount of joy.  I decided too that what I will not do, however, is keep them, non-blooming orchids cost me a lot of energy, and I am not an irresponsible world citizen if I don’t keep them.  In my home and in my life I will not hold on to things that don’t bring me joy, or even worse that induce guilt. I want my home to reflect who I am becoming.  For me this simple choice of giving away my orchids to whoever loves them enough to bring them back to bloom builds integrity, honoring my needs for sustainability, for beauty and harmony, and my need to be free of things that are emotionally binding me to a past version of myself. I know for sure that when we let go of what does’t serve us anymore, that which binds us to the past, however big or small it may seem, we allow ourselves to be a truer version of ourselves.

Now, my question to you: what can you let go of today, no matter how small, that is holding you back in becoming the truest version of yourself? Uncover what this item represented or still represents to you, thank it for all it has given you and then as you let go of it, let go of the limiting beliefs and the emotions that are attached to it. Celebrate this step toward a truer you, recognize it as an act of self-love, and welcome the space it creates in your life. Happy purging!


photo by Alfred Borchard


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