Decluttering as Spiritual Practice


I have trouble getting rid of things…

I panic a bit thinking I’ll “need it,”

or (being the creative soul I am) that I’ll “transform it”.

When does time run out on “need and/or transforming”?

Yesterday, I read Marie Kondo’s, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Sometimes, I think because I am an Army Brat, that I hang on to things because they mark where I’ve been.

Growing up, my dad would make us purge our belongings before every move (9 moves before I was 15) to meet the “weight limit” on moving.

Is my difficulty purging, a silent form of rebellion? At 54, am I still rebelling?

Kondo suggests sorting by “category,” so I thought I would start with food. I panic thinking I’ll never have enough.

My ex- husband used to spend our money on his “wants” (joint bank account-don’t ever do it) and there would be none left for food.

Another major relationship, another man who ate all the food I would buy. I used to have to hide food so that I would have some to eat.

SO many years later, I am still living that life internally, even though my exterior life has been transformed…or rather, I have transformed it…on a certain level.

I had food in my cabinets with an expiration date from 2 years ago…a lot of trash and a lot of guilt.

Today, I move on to my clothing. Kondo suggests taking every article of clothing and putting it on the floor to sort-holding each piece to see if it elicits “joy”.

I have a feeling I am going to have to go to work “nude” as there just won’t be anything left to wear.

Tomorrow, comes “paper”. I am dreading tomorrow. Shredding my paper will mean making decisions Maybe once I shred it, I’ll feel free to make other decisions. Or, maybe I’ll just be filled with regret.

I also have to go to the dentist tomorrow at O-dark-hundred. I like to group painful tasks together. It’s my “rip the band-aid off” approach.

Thursday, it’s “stuff” to sort. What to do with the cross I have, blessed from some pope in the 70’s, all the trinkets my daughter made for me/got for me, negatives from photos either lost, forgotten in some move or posted in a gaudy photo album-you get the picture.

I just wrote a book-my Army Brat memoir, and in it, I have scanned objects from my past. I think those pictures/items add a real richness to the book. If I had done this “purge” prior to writing it, I wouldn’t have had those items. I don’t know if they inspire “joy,” as much as marking time and place from long gone.

Is there a middle ground in all this purging? Kondo says not to make this process “your own”. That is my “M.O,”.   I don’t do things until I can make them my own.   I’m really pulling a George Costanza with this latest undertaking…doing the opposite of what I usually do.

Time to put on some good music and start emptying my drawers and closet. Perhaps tune into some Mussorgsky to inspire a conquering attitude…no room for nostalgia or a soft heart for this process.   I’m thinking, “Night on Bald Mountain”…







2 thoughts on “Decluttering as Spiritual Practice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.