While being organized and hoarding stuff is great, I feel really good when I declutter completely: When I give away clothes, forgotten utensils, books and bulky furniture, worn bedcovers, chipped crockery and never look back
Years ago as a pre-teen, whenever it was my turn to clean house, I had a simple solution. I simply removed all the items from wherever they were scattered and shoved them into cupboards, wardrobes, bookshelves, other random storage cabinets and shut the doors on them!
Next, I dusted down corners, wiped window panes, door panels and just mopped up all things useless. The house sparkled each time. Unfailingly. And soon after, I would plonk down on the nearest couch, bed or sofa and look around me with absolute, unadulterated joy at having done such a great job of ‘cleaning’. Trust me, it felt heavenly – all that organized stuff – that is, until you opened those cabinets and out tumbled the ‘junk.’
And no, you really don’t want to know how mother dear reacted when she opened those over stuffed spaces!! Yelled down the house or sat with her head-in-her-hands-till-recovery is one way of sharing what transpired later. But that really is unimportant.
What’s important is the feeling that I experienced when everything was organized around me. I felt… Free. Light. A feeling of accomplishment. Little did I know that as I grew up, I would find myself cleaning up surfaces, utensils, organizing laundry, book shelves, almirahs with endless clothes – mine and sibling’s, just about anything that felt unorganized because I needed to clear up the clutter in my head.
Yes, if I couldn’t free up myself mentally, I tried cleaning up everything around me physically. It made me feel better. Psychologists say this is a need to feel unbound, unfettered. But while being organized was great, I felt really good when I let go – when I gave away old clothes, lesser used utensils, books and bulky furniture, worn bedcovers, chipped crockery and more, and never looked back nostalgically.
Emotionally too, it transpired that the more I let go of my past hurt, trauma and pain, the easier I breathed. It felt as though a weight had been lifted – literally and metaphorically and I was able to let new energies flow into me, like fresh breeze. I felt like that little bird on the tree outside my house. The onethat flies over each morning for its meal of the day, eats to its heart’s content and takes flight. It’s light, it carries no baggage whatsoever and it lives fully – as its meant to.
And it makes me realise that the less baggage you have in your head, heart, and home, the lighter you are. Declutter to the maximum possible. You came empty-handed, that is exactly how you will leave. If you must, allow yourself to be bound by intangibles like love, laughter, happiness, fun and joy in your relationships, workand you will be free.
If you remain entangled and burdened by sadness, tears, bitterness, laziness and hatred all you will end up with is unwanted clutter. Declutter for your sake, for the sake of your mind and your heart. And of course your home. As someone rightly said, you don’t need a home with more space, what you need is fewer wants. Free up those spaces to fill them with a new you.
Remember that little red-crested Coppersmith Barbet each time you feel compelled to collect and hoard – thoughts, things, whatever and know that you will fly only when you unburden.
Video by Manjulaa Shirodkar
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Manjulaa Shirodkar (nee Negi) is an established film critic and author, having worked in leading national publications. She is also a Film Selection Committee member for various film festivals.