Friday, January 20, 2012

Goodwill Tears (aka Why Clutter Clearing Can Be So Damn Hard)

Yesterday I finally completed the dull errand of dropping off a few bags of clothes off at the Goodwill.  They had been sitting in my trunk since before Christmas, and it just had not been a priority.  I forced myself to go that extra mile out of the way to get it over with.

If you have never donated to such a place, it works like this:  You pull into the back of the building, and there are a couple of huge bins full of what looks like junk.  A nice young man wearing headphones comes out of a warehouse-y part of the facility, takes your items, and dumps them on top of the bins, on top of all the junky items.  Then he hands you a clipboard, you fill out a little form, he rips off a copy for you, and you drive off.

Easy, right?

Well, yesterday, I cried.  Yes, I cried at the Goodwill.  Just for a few seconds as I was driving away.  But still.  There were tears.  Real ones.

You see, the majority of those items (besides a few shirts I had never worn and some outdated shoes) were my daughter's baby clothes.  Now, don't get  me wrong;  I am sentimental to an extent.  (Oh, maybe you already figured that out.)  I do have some of her more beautiful or precious items packed away in storage.  And I did give quite a few of her clothes to a good friend who is expecting a girl any day now.

But there were a LOT of things I didn't keep:
Little leggings that she wore only twice.
A plain white Kissy Kissy shirt that now had a yellow collar due to baby food.
Her first birthday outfit that was now covered in cake stains that wouldn't budge.

These precious, teeny tiny little cute, darling pieces of clothing (memories?) were now dumped in the back of a sad building on top of old TVs and half-broken chairs and other people's robes.

It was all I could do to keep myself from rummaging through her clothes (careful to avoid all else in the bin) to make sure I wasn't tossing away something that really mattered.  Something really special.  Something that I'd be a fool to let go of.

Yeah, I rummaged.  But just for a split second, telling the nice young man, "I just have to make sure I'm not throwing away something that I just can't live without..."  Then my need to keep some dignity kicked in.  I backed off, slumped into the driver's seat, and drove off.

That's when the tears came.  I couldn't believe how hard this was!

But then, something happened.  I thought of all the times, as a feng shui consultant, that I have gone into people's homes or written articles or given lectures on the importance of letting go of "items that no longer serve you," a.k.a. clutter.

And in that moment, I realized how truly hard it can be for some people.  (Hence, the idea for this blog was born.)

You see, I'm a pretty good purger.  I'm really fine with getting rid of things from ex-boyfriends and furniture that was never that great anyway.  So, it took me by surprise to get so emotional about clothes that no longer fit my child.  In those few minutes of actually going through the act of letting go, a lot of emotion came up!  Thoughts rushed through:  "What if my pregnant friend would want these?"  "These clothes are so cute -- who am I to just give them away?"  "Oh my precious little baby is about to turn two."  "Wait, what if there are some things she can still wear?" "What if I was in a rush and put the wrong things in here?"  "I'm sure a few stains won't matter to my pregnant friend."  And then, a big one:  "What if I decide to have another baby, and it's a little girl, and I'm getting rid of all these clothes, and...and...and..."

Sigh.  Shwew.  Yeah.

So, what I'm trying to say is this:  I know it's easy to say, "Clear your clutter."  I feel like a broken record by the amount of times I say it.  Clear your clutter clear your clutter clear your clutter....screechhhh.

But, you see, the reason it's so difficult to clear clutter is exactly the reason why it is so important.  Each and every item in your home holds a charge.  If you are using something frequently and you love it right now, it has a very positive, high-vibration charge.  If an item holds a positive, high-vibration charge, it keeps you in a positive, high-vibration energy too!  It is actually and literally serving you.  It is helping you go into the world and be your best self.

It's those "other" items that get us in trouble.  The necklace from that friend that turned out to be not-so-nice.  The plates from the in-laws that you never use but you are keeping them out of guilt.  The once-favorite dress that you wore so many times with the ex that treated you horribly.  And yes, the baby clothes with the spit-up stains.

I can say very assuredly that those items are most likely NOT serving you at all.  In fact, they are keeping you in some old energy patterns that are indeed holding you back from living a better, happier, freer life.  You are afraid to let them go for some reason, yes?  (The necklace is expensive.  The in-laws will ask where the plates are.  You look great in that dress although you haven't worn it in five years.  And you might have another baby one day...and what will she wear?)  The key word here is "afraid."  Unless we truly let go, trusting God, the Universe, Great Spirit, etc. to provide a nicer necklace from a nicer person and a prettier dress with "better vibes," then we will remain stuck.  

Look, change is not easy.  Especially when the thing that you are changing is you -- because this is what is really happening when you decide to clear things out.  But the truth is, the only thing that is painful about change is the RESISTANCE to change.  Things are going to change!  Let me say that again, Things are going to change.  They are always changing.  It's happening, and it's happening fast!  And the more we hold on to what was, the harder the process will be.   While it may look like letting go is difficult (crying, kicking, screaming, more crying), that's really just part of the process.  

Yesterday, I cried.  

Today, I'm just glad I got an errand over with.  


smilingfaces said...

So true, thanks for writing!

Laurie said...

You just managed to put into words what I didn't understand I was feeling when I struggle with letting go of old items. It's the "What if?" that always keeps me stuck. Thanks for the reminder to trust something better to come in and fill that space if the "What if?" comes to pass!