Family Life Lessons Simplifying: Editing Life

Letting go of stacks & stuff.

March 14, 2019
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While spring cleaning this week, I keep coming across things from the past, and in trying to let go of what is not vital, we are at a crossroads. We are attempting to move forward with Less stuff in our lives, our house, our garage. . Letting go is my mantra.

We are letting go of the past and its clutter. Ridding ourselves of the chore of dealing with cleaning, organizing, and maintaining all of the unnecessary stuff is lifting a weight from our shoulders.

It hasn’t been a quick fix. It has taken time and energy that I don’t want to spend doing this again. Great lesson in life. The more stuff you acquire, the more stuff you clean, move, maintain, and organize.

I’m emptying closets, cleaning out drawers and boxes. I’m sorting stacks of paper, cards and letters.

Occasionally, I come across something from the past that causes me to stop and catch my breath or tear up. Small things really. My moms things, photos from when I was young, a letter from a friend who is now gone.

Letting go is always hard, but some of these items need to be discarded in order to move beyond the heartache.

Some of these things from the past are also lovely, so seeing those makes me smile all day or cry depending on the moment.

I like to keep mementos, but in very small doses. Clutter has been officially banned.

Hanging on to stuff we don’t use is banned too, but I do like to reminisce and remind my family of wonderful memories. As the photo queen and person in charge of keeping our family connected, I love to find little memories and spread the joy. Doing this takes finesse and effort if you consider not adding to someone else’s chaos.

Organizing it all is overwhelming though. I keep repeating out loud “The less you have, the less you have to organize.”

We are the grandparents now. Our parents and grandparents have passed on, and we have boxes, photos, and a few pieces of  furniture from each of them. All of us tried to go through the memories as they passed, but a person’s life is so full of everyday stuff that it wasn’t easy. We are still sifting.

I have some precious memories, so I will keep the best, toss or donate the rest.

Cleaning, decorating organizing, and decluttering make my home an ongoing project.

After emptying a large box of mementos, I resolve to cut it in half. Sorting seems overwhelming until I decide to sort by places we’ve lived. After that, it’s easy to keep a couple of photos and letters, notes or gifts and let the rest of the clutter go.

Someone asked me recently if I really like to clean. Um, no. Not all day every day. I’m a writer. I like to write and edit, but a clean home helps me think better.

So, the answer is multi faceted. No, I would prefer someone else do it, but it is my home, so it is my responsibility.

Beyond that I like to relax at the end of the day in a place that feels like a well kept boutique hotel where everything is clean orderly and in its place.

It takes effort, but the result of orderly and lovely is calming and beautiful.

I get to live inside art I make every day.

This orderly beautiful “hotel” is spoiled by piles of stuff, so I clean it and try to keep it organized.

We have dogs, grandchildren, and projects just like everyone else and sometimes I want to scream when I have it all nice and the dogs run in with mud from the endless rain on their feet, but I don’t. I love my dogs, love my house and floors are cleanable. I have added better mud catchers at the back door.  A big mat outside, a bigger one inside, both easy to vacuum or maintain. 

Most days I put towels by the back door for drying off the dogs too. I even bought towels that are the same color as my wood floors and don’t show the dirt.

 I know. That’s going too far.

Laughing, I pull out the vacuum.

Barefoot and writing,


If you are looking for posts on Spring cleaning check out. Spring cleaning: decluttering home and mind,  a how to do it post, simply and quickly

A second post specifically targeting closets/kids closets is spring cleaning closets one by one.

I saw this book on Amazon. It asks “Why am I holding on to this?” Letting go of stuff.

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