Changing your life can start with a clear out
Like many people during lockdown, I have made use of this extra time at home to do some ‘decluttering’. I’m a firm believer in ‘making space’ for new things in life by clearing out the old.
I didn’t learn this from my parents though: my father never threw anything away. You might even have called him a hoarder. But he was a teenager during the 1930s Depression and his view was that ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’.
This mindset resulted in him having several storage places, which were a treasure trove for me as I was growing up. However, despite having enjoyed rummaging through my father’s possessions, I am not keen on the idea of ‘hoarding’ myself. In fact, I keep the minimum possible, because I like to travel light.
In 2007, when my wife and I were downsizing from a big house to an apartment in London, we put about half of our possessions into storage. About seven years later, when storage fees were increasing, we disposed of half of what we had stored.
Now, during the lockdown, we’ve decided to declutter not only what we currently have in our apartment, but to also clear out whatever was left in storage. Our mantra is that if we haven’t used it in the past seven years, we do not really need it.
In past centuries, when ships laden with goods encountered heavy storms at sea, they were compelled to throw their goods overboard so as to prevent the ship from sinking.
When we encounter a crisis in our lives, we need to dispose of unnecessary possessions. Our concern for our possessions weighs us down with worry (mental), which converts to anxiety in our bodies (physical), and which impacts on our wellbeing (emotional).
So, for the past few weeks, having secured only what we really wanted to keep, which was not that much, I have despatched our valuable items to a local auction house, our extensive book collection to a local library, and the rest to the only local charity that was accepting bric-a-brac.
The result? I feel purified, cleansed, and liberated. When we attach emotional molecules to material goods that we collect over our lifetime, we give some of our power away to it.
When we detach ourselves from the ‘emotion’ we have invested in specific material goods, we regain our power. In a sense, decluttering is an act of physical purification, a spiritual cleansing, and a ‘reclaiming’ of power. I have taken my power back, and I feel a sense of liberation. Have you decluttered in lockdown? If not, I hope I have inspired you.
Books by George Jerjian
Dare to Discover Your Purpose is an innovative new online retirement course designed to help you change the way you feel about this important but often misunderstood life stage.