I recently came across the elusive downtime. I haven’t spent much time here in a while. It feels unfamiliar. With technology these days, can anyone remember the last time they were bored? I find myself looking forward to long traffic lights or having to wait in line because I have constant entertainment at my fingertips wherever I go.In this newfound downtime, though, I decided to clear out my old toys to make a few extra bucks. Nostalgia is the thing these days and people are hungry for their youth or at least hungry to pay for what they can still clamor onto from those wonder years before bills and never-ending internet scrolling. Plus, having unused items in my home take up prime storage space stresses me out! I ended up selling a very large and very well-kept (can you say type A?) collection that was my favorite as a child. I haven’t looked at these toys in ages but they took the trip with me from my childhood home in New Jersey to my new home in Florida. I figured they are worth something now, they aren’t doing me any good just sitting in a box, so why not make some money? So, I sold them. All. And you know what? I was ok. For about a minute. And now when I try to sleep, something doesn’t feel right. I feel uneasy. Giving a huge piece of me to a stranger left me feeling, well, strange. Being an only child, I’m not very open to people touching my things. Now, a complete stranger owns the greater portion of a collection that brought me so much joy as a kid. Whenever I feel off, I don’t enjoy it and try my hardest to feel better, to refresh. I can’t sit in yucky for too long. So, I went online and searched “how to let go of things that don’t serve you any longer.” It pained me to type because I felt like strangers left with a part of me. It felt like I was turning my back on my beloved toys, and it hurt to put into words that something which brought so much joy for so many years no longer served me. My clients go through this same struggle anytime I walk through their doors. There is always a concern that something of value will be discarded or overlooked and I’m a stranger so what do I care? But I want you to know, I do care.
I found this article rather quickly in my search. Number 7 really resonated with me. It says, and I’m paraphrasing here, weed your garden. I know what you’re thinking. Weed your garden? Diane, you organize homes, sheds, offices, paperwork… but gardens? What are you talking about? Well, it explained that our lives are a garden, and we sow our seeds and cultivate a harvest. Now maintaining this garden, we need to trim some overgrown bushes, remove those plants that have been overshadowed by newer, more relevant plants, and, well, weed. Regardless of the fact that your garden has produced, it may now be overflowing with unneeded plants that may do better in someone else’s garden. The article asks us to “take stock”. When I think about organizing my life, I ask, “What am I growing in my life’s garden?” I didn’t give much thought to selling my toys, but afterward, I felt guilty! The clutter was overwhelming, causing grief and frustration. Even though the plant was once beloved it isn’t what I currently want or need in my garden. For a garden to thrive, I need to look at the space and sunlight my garden has and decide what plants to prioritize. Maybe you received a gift that you hate but can’t part with because someone you care about gave it to you. Now think of this scenario but in your garden. Would your loved one want you to hold onto those weeds if they are overtaking your joy? The answer is no. Just because the gift is an unwanted plant in your garden doesn’t make it useless. If it once brought joy to you but currently has no value to you or your garden’s growth potential, it might have some currency in someone else’s garden. All I’m trying to say is, my toys have found a loving home. Their time in my garden has passed. I have no use for them. I am still me, with or without those toys because I carry memories of the joy they once brought. I will feel lighter as the days continue, knowing that that joy will now exist in someone else’s garden.
I look forward to helping others clear out items that no longer serve them — with empathy, because, I know how hard it really is to pull those weeds.
Certified Expert Organizer®