Spring Cleaning is a State of Mind

After a long winter such as we’ve just had, the urge to clear out, clean up, and bring order out of chaos is coming front and center. There is very little that can be done around the yard right now until the snow is gone and the soil is settled and solid once again. However, indoors, there are things that can be tackled.

The steps to getting organized are thus: purge; sort; and maintain. Purging means to get rid of anything that is not fundamental to how you want the inside of your house to look. It should be a simple job but the fact is we are owned by our stuff. There are a lot of reasons for this.

  • We are owned by things we spent a great deal of money for and now feel we must keep so that we don’t feel guilty for spending so much.
  • We are owned by things we inherited either before or after someone’s death.
  • We are owned by other people’s belongings (think grown children here) that they left behind or trucked home to your place because they don’t have room.
  • We are owned by items that were given as gifts that we might not have chosen but keep anyway.
  • We are owned by items we’ve kept that represent our unfulfilled potential such as college course work never completed or craft projects that were started then set aside.

And this is how we end up being prisoners of our own thinking. We need to be able to judge the level of attachment we have to our stuff. Some people have too much stuff because they have been passive about letting things accumulate. They just need to wake up from their torpor and re-engage. Some people have a strong attachment to everything they have, even when they don’t know how much there is. They experience a strong sense of loss if they try to give up anything. This is especially true if there has been a traumatic loss in the past. The problem is a day of reckoning is coming. Every home gets emptied eventually and the more you can become the arbiter of purging your stuff the more you will feel in control and receive the respect you deserve from your family and/or caregivers when the time comes.

Harriet Vaughan

About Harriet Vaughan

I am a Senior Move Manager, working with Senior Citizens and their families when it is time to downsize or just make the home safer and more comfortable for aging in place. I help these people make decisions about what to keep, throw out, donate, or sell. I also offer workshops on "Getting Things Done When You Are Over 60". I write about how to overcome memory lapses and how to use your physical energy well. I have a degree in Home Economics from the University of Maine. I live in Coopers Mills, about 14 miles east of Augusta. I have been married for almost 50 years to my husband, Chuck Vaughan. Our business is called Legacy Years Transition Services.