Get Rid Of The Old, Make Room For The New!
By Nancy Pollard, LCSW, LLC
It is 2016, a brand new year! A great time to get rid of the old and make room for the new! We can fall into the winter doldrums or we can be energized, inspired, and motivated to get our lives in order. Just as Christmas trees can be tossed out, so can bad relationships. Living rooms can get cleaned up and lives can move forward. With this new year, let there be an air of determination to do things differently, make life better, take responsibility, and make changes that are necessary.
If you haven’t caught the clean-it-up bug, look around. Is your “stuff” a series of stacks and piles lying everywhere? Are you anxious, frazzled, overwhelmed, and disorganized? Chances are that when your personal stuff is a mess, so is your life. Start throwing out and sorting. Get rid of the junk, including the physical and emotional messes in your life. A cluttered home creates a cluttered life. Clarity, simplicity, and sanity requires space and organization.
Try creating your own “integrity list’ for the new year. It looks like this: a list committed to finishing unfinished business, returning what is not yours, getting back what is yours, and completing that "Honey Do" list once and for all. Things to clean, room by room. Things to do, step by step. Remember, your junk is another’s treasure. Get rid of the old. Make space for the new!
Set a deadline and reap the reward of crossing things off one at a time. Therapeutic and costing nothing but your time, this is a no-fail process that is contagious and may run rampant through your home and family.
Follow these 6 steps:
- Throw or give away anything that you don’t wear or use. If it has been hanging in your closet for over a year and has never been worn, pass it along - including the shoes that hurt your feet and the ones out of style. Quit thinking that the style will come back. Even if bell-bottoms are back in style, will you really wear them again? Stop saving that dress for a rainy day or those pants that don’t fit that you keep for when you lose weight, pitch them all. Take the electric frying pan, the crock-pot you never use, and the wok that takes up space to the nearest thrift shop. Closet by closet, drawer by drawer - start tossing.
- Return anything borrowed: the library book, the shovel from the neighbor, the Tupperware dish from the last party, the coat you wore home when you forgot yours. Pay back or make a payment plan for the $20, $300, or $3000 you were loaned.
- Get back whatever you have lent someone: the last novel that you gave your friend, the water bottle from the bike ride, the tent from the camping trip, the pie pan from the potluck.
- Fix or get rid of anything that does not work or is broken. Sew on buttons, fix zippers, superglue the broken vase, repair the toaster, the garage opener, the flat tire on the bike. If you haven’t fixed it by the end of the month, you probably won’t. If you can’t or don’t want to, say so, and then delegate the task or hire someone to fix it for you. Otherwise get rid of it.
- Just as important but more insidious are the emotional messes in your life. Letters unwritten, thoughts not shared. While more difficult to weed through, it is highly important to rid yourself of emotional baggage. We need to clean up our relationships so that they don’t creep into the next one. Seek professional help if necessary.
- Make a list of the people in your life that you have unfinished business with. Ask yourself: if that person died, would you feel like you had told them what you wanted them to know? Sadly, we often wait until funerals to acknowledge the people that are important to us. Never taking the time, nor having the courage to tell someone what they meant to you, breeds unbearable guilt and regret which is difficult to recover from once they are gone.
- Write the letter, the thank you note, and the acknowledgment to your estranged parent or lover. Say you’re sorry to whom you have wronged...even if years have passed. Tell your friend what you want her to know. Get off your chest what you need to express. Whether orally or in writing, begin the process of releasing emotional baggage. Often times, emotions evaporate when expressed in writing even if the paper gets torn up and burned. Some communication is only for you and need not be shared.
Completing tasks, checking things off your lists, and cleaning out lends itself to peace of mind and a deep sense of satisfaction. Stop hoarding and share what you do not use. Recycle through family, friends, and neighbors. Cherish those that nourish you, let go of those who drain you. Life will get easier and there will be more room for joy. Create the life you want for 2016! It’s time.
Just a little Mountain Therapy
Copyright © 2016 Nancy Pollard
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