Garbage IN: Garbage OUT

Our house burned down recently.  Here’s a picture of our bedroom.

Hey look a sunroof!
Hey look a sunroof!

One of the great lessons from the fire was being forced to go through our house and touch Every. Single. Item.

I want you to imagine this:  Take your entire bedroom and dump it in the driveway.  The bed, dresser, armoire, chest, and furniture.  Now take out the drawers and dump them out.  Shirts, socks, underpants, longjohns, pictures, pens, business cards and loose change.  Now do your closet.  Dump it out.  Pants, shoes, boots, belts, ties, skirts, dresses, sweatshirts, a costume from a 2003 party and jeans you haven’t seen since the Bush administration.  Dump ’em out in the driveway.

Now imagine just picking up the bathroom and shaking it out over the pavement.  Toothbrushes, soap, fingernail clippers, old medicine bottles, electric cords to things you don’t own any more, empty boxes of Mucinex, five boxes of tampons, eight tweezers, nine monogramed travel kits, and four boxes of that ammonia stuff you used to color your hair with.  Driveway pile’s getting bigger.

Now your kids room.  Shake it out.  Now you guest room.  Dump it.  Kitchen.  Family room.  Living room.  Basement.  Storage room.  Attic.   Your driveway isn’t big enough; you’ve started to spread piles of stuff into the street and your neighbor’s yard.

"C'mon guys, it's Mother's Day..."
“C’mon guys, it’s Mother’s Day…”

Ah.  Now the house is as it was: an empty box.  Now it’s time to move it all back in.

Do you want it?

I didn’t.

In the end, we just grabbed the stuff we needed and gave the rest away.  It was all clutter, detritus, failed initiatives and old ideas.   It was just more weight to carry, and our lives are lighter now it’s gone.

Most of us don’t get the opportunity to touch every item we own, but what if you did?  How much of your stuff would you make the effort to bring back into your life?

Think about your space right now.  How much clutter is hidden in drawers, in cabinets, under furniture?  How much of that stuff do you need?  How much are you holding on to just in case?

I will as soon as I get this stuff to the car.
“But I need all these things to feel loved!”

How much would it help your heart & soul to empty it out and get down to the essentials?

Next time you’re feeling stressed, take my advice: dump some of the garbage in your life.  It’s an easier journey when there’s less to carry.

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