Possumhaw: What comes in January



Shannon Bardwell



"What I know for sure is that when you declutter ­-- whether it's your home, your head, or your heart ­-- it is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family."


-- Peter Walsh, author of "Let it Go."




A week ago, we all awakened to a beautiful blanket of white. I found myself giddy and mesmerized by the "new fallen snow." I sat in bed drinking hot coffee, and watching through the bedside window as the snowflakes continued to fall. The snow, the season, the new year, it all seemed so fresh, so beautiful, so clean, so quiet, so filled with possibilities. My heart leaped with joy. I had no urge to go out into the snow but to observe its beauty was enough. By the time I was on my third cup of java, I stepped outside and snapped photographs to record the wonder. Quickly my phone was inundated with snow pictures, as if everyone was besotted with this gift of nature. I determined to hold onto this serene feeling as long as possible. I treated myself to another cup of coffee and took more pictures.


The day's plan included one commitment away from home but that commitment was canceled due to unsafe driving conditions. I had a list of "to-dos" that seem to grow longer rather than shorter. One was to join the "Clutter free January" movement. I love decluttering. I love the space it creates. I love simplifying my life. It's not a "one and done" thing. There are a multitude of books and YouTubes with recommendations and ideas for storage, sorting, and "how to" arrangements. Personally, unless I run into a situation needing immediate attention I like to declutter and rearrange seasonally. Being it's January and many of us are homebound more so than usual, January is the perfect month to get started. It's possible reevaluating spring wear is a chance to dream of better things to come.


Last fall I evaluated my coat closet that had somehow overexpanded. I narrowed it down to a raincoat, an everyday warm coat, a dress coat, and warm jacket. The rest of the coats were split between donations and consignments. Next was exercise clothing. First, I separated the items into two categories-winter and summer. Then further separated into keep, discard, or donate. If any item falls into the undecided category, I put it in another area for time to ponder. The procedure continued through every category. Personal preference dictates whether you declutter all at once or spread the process out over a period of time.


Decluttering can apply to any area of the home. Worthwhile Magazine in an article "Keep calm and clear the clutter" reports 25% of people with two car garages don't have room to park a car inside. 9.5% of all U.S. households rent a self-storage unit.


The home I grew up in had a "Mom motto" that said, "If you are not using it. There's someone who can." A wise young friend suggested ridding yourself of anything you haven't worn. I asked, "But what if you love it?" She replied, "I figure if I haven't worn it then I don't really love it."




Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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