Spring Cleaning: Do I Really Need 20 Forks?

If you visited my home or office or looked in my gym bag, you’d know I’m organized. Everything has its place. This spring, though, as I transitioned my spring clothes into view and moved my winter clothes into the back closet, I realized I didn’t need or want “everything”. It’s metaphoric, I know. I also realized that my spring and winter clothes were essentially the same (black, gray and white)…except the spring clothes had shorter sleeves.

While I have order in my life, I saw the clutter. My clutter is orderly. It’s a talent I’ve honed for many years. But this year is different. I began several long days and nights of visiting each room, closet, drawer, shelf and box for the major overhaul. No area, thing or feeling went untouched.

I donated or discarded 80 percent of my clothes, shoes, dishes, blankets, sheets, hotel samples, vases, kitchen things, furniture and small hotel samples. A day into the effort, I began to experience the freedom that letting go brings. My decision “to keep or not keep” was based on emotional attachment. If I felt my heart connect with something, it was a keeper. If there was no heart connection or a negative associated feeling (an old hurt, for example), it was a giveaway. I also took note that my rooms were actually filled with adventurous stories, tales of love and family and friendship, stories of success and decades of joy. The pictures and memories of laughs and tears filled my home.

With the help of some decluttering expertise, I re-designed spaces with the things that remained for efficiency and more ease in my daily life. Creating more space reduced my chronic cortisol level. Feeling less stress by having less, I also feel more creative and relaxed at home and at work. By organizing in ways that make me more productive and efficient at home and at work, I feel more free to enjoy my time alone, with friends and with family.

Over the years, I convinced myself I was going to use the colorful pipe cleaners, fill the 25 vases, sleep in the seven sets of sheets, and wear 10 pairs of jeans and those boots that gave me blisters after minutes. This year was different. I was willing to change, grow and explore the emotional side of my environment this Spring. So I let go. Try it!

Rebecca Adelman