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The Work of Clearing Out

The first stages of clearing out are easy. That is when I find all the things which fall into the “why do I even still have this thing” category. The early stages are satisfying, I quickly create large piles of things to throw out or give away. The result is easily visible space created in my life. Then there are the things which still carry a whisper of the importance they used to have, or are attached to a memory. Most of those go as well. Or they are kept and put in a place where the memory can be kept safe. After that it gets complicated and/or inconvenient. In order to unload chemicals, paint, oil for a car we no longer own, I have to look up proper disposal locations and costs. We want to replace some large and heavy hardwood furniture, which means figuring out how to transport the old furniture to either a consignment shop or donation location. (And it means going through a mental process that makes it okay to let the furniture go.) Then there are the papers/photos/mementos. These things must be sorted for personal value and historical value. That sorting is mentally exhausting work.

And yet, I’m beginning to see space open up. This space is going to be crucial in the coming months when I begin tearing apart portions of our house to make them better. The space is also crucial in allowing us to grow forward without being buried in who we used to be. Bit by bit. Corner by corner. Category by category, I am making our lives better.

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