Five bins of sentimental items, including 20 years worth of journals, now fit into the three small boxes pictured above. How? I shredded 20 years' worth of journals which felt incredibly freeing. The three remaining boxes contain -
- hand made items - including the First Communion dress my grandmother made me, and a few things I made for my own son
- some paper items, including the deeds to the farm I grew up on (middle box).
- select photo negatives (top box)
Some sentimental items I sent to other family members around Christmas time because I thought they would mean more to them. I came across letters from friends which I copied and sent out as well. These were very heartwarming projects that inspired me to send out a holiday letter, the first in over ten years. Letting go of what does not matter helps you focus on what does matter.
Then I bought and completed new scrapbooks. One holds my family and childhood photos, another holds pictures and projects from my son's childhood, and finally one holds photos from my wedding in 2014. I am better about not putting projects off as a result of this tidying process.
My artsy photos of nature/architecture bring me joy and help me feel peaceful, so I put them into their own albums. This is what launched me in a new direction but before I tell you about that, let me tidy up this tidying project,
The top visible changes include:
- clear countertops and organized cabinets in the kitchen
- empty shelves and bins in the basement you once could not walk through. This is huge.
- the master suite had a total makeover that included creating a built-in dresser, reupholstering furniture and painting everything a lovely calming blue.
The top intangible changes include
- learning that mess = stress for me was helpful. Main event my job is stressful I need home to be a tidy oasis.
- emotional housecleaning has left me calmer and made everyone happier. Mama is happy.
- clarity about what brings me joy has led me in new directions.
Tidying my artsy photos made me remember my desire to learn more about photography. So I signed up for a photography class at the local community college. I bought a new (to me) camera and am so excited about finding a new way to express my creativity. It has been so much fun!
Tidying up was a lot of work but. has been deeply rewarding. If you are thinking of doing the same here is what helped me.
- Break bigger tasks down and do one thing are a time. As long as you are doing the thing in front of you, you are advancing towards your goal. Don’t let it overwhelm you.
- Sometimes tidying creates temporary mess as you move things out of your home. Don't be discouraged. It's part of the process.
- Persist. Give yourself time to do the side projects tidying inspires but don't let them sidetrack you completely.
- Take time to admire your work and enjoy its effects.
- Reap the rewards, both expected and unexpected.