More about all that stuff…
I hired several people to help so I wouldn’t get bogged down in memories or decide I’m too tired to finish. I decided that everything I don’t need is going, going, gone. I’ve had a new insight about the importance of doing all this.
It must be because we’d been talking about integrity in my entrepreneurs’ groups that I suddenly saw there’s a connection between getting rid of stuff and having integrity in my work. I realized my basement has been a repository of the past – file cabinets with over twenty years of paper related to my business, shelves stacked with old training materials, office supplies, boxes of tax records, etc. None of it relevant to today or the future. And then, there are the things from the rest of my life – dusty decorations, bowling balls and skis, camping equipment, baking pans. I rarely change my decorations, we stopped bowling twenty years ago, and we sold our truck and trailer three years ago.
There’s a lack of authenticity about holding on to all this stuff. The truth is I’m not going to do many of the things I did in the past again, at least not in the same way. And if I do, I’ll want things to look fresh and new, not old and tired.
Because the basement is the foundation of our house, I like the thought that after The Big Clean Out, it will support the future, not the past.
“Oh my gosh, I forgot I did that,” I thought as memories rose up from the typed pages. It’s good I had someone helping or I would have been stalled by reveries. I entered a list of the companies I’ve worked with into the computer so I have a record. It helped in letting go.
I discovered that I had things in different files under different names but related to the same topic. After getting started, the project seemed to take on a life of its own. I raided closets, unearthed tons of family and vacation pictures. I dug into the basement. It was like an archeological dig. Here were my college grades, (not nearly as good as I had remembered them) along with pictures and memorabilia I thought I had lost. I carted fifty long-playing vinyl records (Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack, Neil Diamond, Dionne Warwick, Jerry Butler, Isaac Hayes – a whole era” worth from my youth) to Val’s Halla and got $3.50 in return for those cherished memories. I turned ruthless and put a ton of stuff out for a patio sale and priced everything to go, making enough money for one dinner out. I donated what was left.
Out. Out. Out.
Everything feels lighter now. I can literally breathe better and have room in my mind for dreaming and creating. I have my work now instead of my work having me. There’s mental and physical space for new things to show up. It forced me to make decisions and set priorities.
Now on to cleaning out old relationships and commitments that are no longer rewarding or nurturing. Life is too short to be cowed by our stuff.