Purging to Make Room

It’s hard to believe the end of summer is almost upon us.

September always feels like a new start for me.  Although I’ve been out of school for many years, the end of August still brings a flood of back-to-school feelings – excitement and anticipation, mingled with the uncertainty of what’s ahead.  (Not to mention the strange desire to buy pens, pencils and binders.  But I digress).

This fall is no exception and some changes are ahead.  I’m now more focused on living on purpose than in the past, and as part of that, I’m embarking on some new experiences that really excite me.  More on that in a future post.

My 6-year-old, J, is also heading into some changes.  He’s starting grade one and is going into French Immersion.  Since the program isn’t offered at the school where he was, he’s switching schools.  And although he’s putting on a brave face, I know he feels pangs of concern about leaving the friends he made in junior and senior kindergarten, and uneasy – yet kind of excited – about the changes ahead.

So, it’s time for us to make room.  For what?  For positive new experiences, challenges and friendships that stretch and complement who we are.

In a recent post, Betsy at The Zen Mama’s Blog talks beautifully about the power of letting go.  She suggests we become weighed down in life by the things we thought we needed but that don’t actually serve us (I’m paraphrasing).

To prepare ourselves for the changes this fall brings, we’re starting to purge.  Purging is such a great process.  We give away what we’re not using so others can make use of it (why simply store something to collect dust?) and recycle or throw away what isn’t usable.  Then we breathe a sigh of relief.  It’s as if a huge weight is lifted from our shoulders.

For our son, we helped him organize and declutter his piles of toys and artwork, then banished the dust bunnies.  Then we moved his furniture around for the first time in over two years.  It was amazing: since we involved him in the process and got his opinion on where he’d like things, he felt like such a ‘big boy.’  He really embraced the whole thing and was proud of his new space.  We set up a table in his room for him to do artwork/ homework and he spent a couple of hours up there unprompted, enjoying his realm and creating art.

Now, it’s my turn to get organized.  It’s been awhile.  I’ll be purging stuff like:

  • clutter (it’s so distracting, pulling my focus from where I want it to be)
  • stale, limiting beliefs about who I am and what I can and can’t do (this part will be the bigger effort, since these dust bunnies have accumulated over decades).

If you’re starting something new, try letting go of something old that’s no longer serving you.  Purging makes room for new adventures.  You’ll be amazed at the great things that come into your life when you’ve created the space for it.

Go forth and declutter!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

jennlaurent (LiveThroughTheHeart) August 22, 2012 at 12:10 am

I absolutely love this post and the inspiration it brings to find tangible ways to let go and move forward. Brilliant!!

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Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) August 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Thank you Jenn! I’ll definitely be busy – much to purge!

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Zen Presence August 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Thank you for the inspiration. I could use to do a little purging myself.

DSG
Zenpresence.com

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Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) August 23, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Thanks so much for your kind comments! Purging is such a freeing process.

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Betsy at Zen Mama August 23, 2012 at 9:01 am

This is wonderful!! And thank you for sharing the link!! I wrote the post because I’m still letting go of my college age sons and controlling them from afar with email or texts. It’s hard. Great job helping your son!! I’m still in the process of clearing out my clutter at home. I’m very attached to anything that has some sentimental value. I’m also attached to anything I think I’ll use again. I’m getting back to it today. Hope I’m successful!! I know I’ll be happier if I can do it.

PS How did your son do for the first day of school? That’s something else we have in common… my sons all speak French. My oldest is majoring in it!!

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Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) August 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Thanks Betsy! I appreciate your kind words, and it was my pleasure sharing the link!

I can only imagine how hard that must be, letting go of your sons yet trying to maintain influence from afar. You must go through incredible internal struggle about this at times (maybe often?!). Such a challenge… how to hold on yet let go… Good luck with your decluttering! I hope it helps. It’s a big effort for me as well, and a VERY slow process.

So interesting that your sons speak French!!! Awesome. It’s really important to us to expose our kids to another language.(side note: I guess I’d better pick up a Rosetta Stone course for myself!). He starts on Sept. 4th, so we’ll see how it goes. My Mom speaks French, so that should help…

Thanks so much for commenting!

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Alex August 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I think purging is always good, done regularly. We have moved so often that I have had to do it every more. But I also like to do even if we are not moving.
Big changes for little J! I wish him the best. My 3 are heading back to public school, so that’s big here too. Courage to both of us and our children at this back-to-school! xoxo

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Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) August 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm

It’s great you’ve taught the kids from an early age not to hold onto unnecessary “stuff.” That’ll be so helpful to them as they grow up.

Yes, you have big changes ahead too – not to mention your recent move. It’ll be an adjustment, but hopefully a great experience for all of you (and for my little man as well)! I’ll be thinking of you! Sending hugs.

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junkjam August 23, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I love that quote. It’s so fitting for your post and for life. I’ve just embarked on a project to purge things from my home. After two family deaths plus the death of my business and life as I knew it, my home became a cluttered mess. I’m now working on restoring order to both my home and my life. In my case, one day at a time. Here’s my blog on it: http://thejunkjam.wordpress.com/

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Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) August 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Thanks so much, junkjam! I just visited your blog – love it! I think your “let go of one thing a day” approach is fantastic – makes a potentially overwhelming project seem much more manageable. So sorry to hear you’ve been through so much, but it’s fantastic that you’re going through this clearing process. Hopefully it’ll bring some peace to your life.

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junkjam August 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I know a good clean out will do me good!

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junkjam September 7, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Yes, it does make it more manageable. I still find myself struggling with what to get rid of some days. Other days it’s quite easy. This is proving to be an interesting process. It’s Day 25. Just 340 days left. Oh my…

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Tara September 29, 2012 at 9:06 am

Funny that I just read your blog on purging. As you know, my girls are now in school full time, leaving me a “Housewife” which is a strange new title, because for the past 5 1/2 years, I’ve been a “Stay at Home Mom”. So without any appointments, meetings or errands to run yesterday, I decided to listen to music (I mean really listen to the music and sing along at the top of my lungs), and as I looked around the house, I thought about getting rid of some stuff. But like you said Christine, what I noticed first were the giant dust bunnies! I changed all of our closets over from summer to fall and was able to get rid of a huge garbage bag of clothes that we weren’t wearing anymore. I also got rid of about 100 old magazines. I have to admit the magazines were my husband’s Fine Building magazines (I couldn’t possibly part with my Grand Magazine collection), but nonetheless, a whole recycling bin is ready to go out the door! I was trying to figure out why it feels so good to purge and I realize now, after reading your blog, that is really does have something to do with letting go of the past and finding your “new” self in your present. Everyday I wake up and wonder who my new self is, and I’m really looking forward to the discovery….although the discovery has to wait now until Monday morning at 9:00am when the girls get on the school bus. Until then, it’s back to being a “Stay at Home Mom” for the weekend.

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christineonthebrighterside October 3, 2012 at 10:41 am

Sounds like it was an awesome day! I love those moments of “clearing” – especially when they involve top-of-your-lungs music. (Which reminds me, I haven’t listened to music like that in probably years… except maybe in the car. Looks like I’ll have to plan a date with myself!).

You’re going through a really exciting and interesting transition, figuring out who you’re becoming in this new chapter of your life. One step at a time, right? Enjoy the process. There are great things ahead, I just know it.

Thanks so much for commenting!

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Louise October 27, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Yes, are half way through our second weekend of purging and does it ever feel great! What started out as a need to remove a draft on our necks but relocating our bed turned into moving several rooms of furniture around and it was great to have a different perspective on the same old rooms! For all the “stuff” the media and culture says you should posses and will supposedly make us “happy”to do so, it’s strange how we feel happier with less and minimal, more open spaces and less clutter. Yet in North America having the most possessions in the world does not make us happier than the cultures with less-interesting!

The kids have been involved before their September birthdays to part with toys and clothes they’d outgrown to make way for the new things and again these past two weekends to make way for new things coming at Christmas. We’re buying less for the kids this year a being way more selective, educational etc.

Today our daughter took the initative to clean out her craft supplies storage drawers and filled a whole recycling box today. I parted with a big bag of artwork she’d made…keeping only a few “keepsakes” and we gained a lot of closet space! I’ve moved 9 bags of clothes out to friends over the last few months and sadly we’re parting with our crib/changetable-any takers??!!! I’m getting nervous about the fact it hasn’t been sold yet is some kind of indication we may need it again!!! t’s sad to part with (it’s not really the furniture but the memories associated with it-why am I so attached to those sleepless nights?!) but I’ll be glad to have the space back that it’s currently taking up!

In the end for us it always comes down to: is the house really too small and we need to move or we really just need to part with some “stuff”to gain our space back. So far the house has won!

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christineonthebrighterside November 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Louise, that’s phenomenal! Talk about making huge strides with decluttering and letting go! And it’s great you’re involving your daughter in the process – I think it’s so good for the kids to see you moving unnecessary stuff out to a place where it can help others, AND give you space at the same time. Win-win! And it’s fun that you moved the furniture around.

You’ve re-inspired me to get back to my process of decluttering. I’ve let that go (no pun intended) a little bit over the past month or so… time to get back to it!

Interesting re: your crib/change table. Hmmm… you never know… 😉

Thanks so much for commenting!

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