Several months ago I read The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, which was an adorable and charming book about getting your home life and clutter under control before you die. It sounds morbid, but we don’t often think about the mess we’ll leave behind for our loved ones. This book was short and can be read in an afternoon – totally worth your time, especially if you loved The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
The author kept reminding the reader to make his or her home their own. Don’t feel guilty about shedding the things you think you “should” keep – those gifts that aren’t really your style or aren’t as meaningful to you as one might think. I started wondering what it would be like to shed some unwanted “gifts” and to make room for the things I love?
I started with the china cabinet in our dining room. It was full of old pyrex – I LOVE pyrex, but these designs weren’t some of my favorites. I have my favorites on display in our kitchen and use them all often. These? They just weren’t my cup of tea and never got used. They were all gifts, so I felt like I had to keep them. But one day, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes for a few seconds, and then started boxing them up. And I took them to Goodwill that day to make sure I made a permanent sweep.
Now? That china cabinet is full of my beautiful yarn that was stowed away in a huge tote in the basement. I see my yarn every single day and dream about the possibilities. I’ve lost about 50 pounds of unwanted pyrex and gained beautiful woolen daydreams. And talk about hygge?! What could be more cozy than piles of yarn?!
The next thing I did was get rid of a massive dresser from our bedroom and replaced it with a smaller dresser. It was also a gift that I felt bad about not really wanting but it was HUGE with lots of wasted space. The worst part? It blocked one of the windows in our room and made the whole room dark and claustrophobic. In addition to the new dresser, I’m also working on putting in a small desk to make a little writing nook, which will be perfect for writing morning pages and watching the sunrise over the bluff in our backyard. I’m already imagining my cup of coffee in the mornings, wrapped in my robe and woolen scarves, and surrounded by my notebooks.
Little by little, I’m getting rid of little piles of clutter and it feels so good. My middle child helps with this; he loves getting into everything and I find myself cleaning up the same things repeatedly. Now, instead of just piling everything back where it was, I try to get rid of what I can and find “safe” homes for the things I decide to keep. Sometimes it feels like a never ending battle and it probably is. But I can dream of a tidy and joy-filled home, right?
How about you? Do you find yourself surrounded by clutter with no clue how you got there? Or are you able to tame the beast and keep things tidy? And what about unwanted gifts? Do you have trouble getting rid of them or is it easy for you?