Because I am still in the mindset of the New Year and a fresh start, I’ve been thinking about doing some housecleaning. No. I am not talking about actually cleaning my house. Are you crazy? A while back I learned something about cleaning our house; I clean it and the next day it’s just dirty again. What a colossal waste of time. Spending hours cleaning something that I will only get to enjoy as clean for approximately 10.4 seconds is not worth my solid effort. Oh. I still clean, but usually not until the neighbors threaten to call the Department of Health and Human Safety…or I hear barking but can’t find the dog.

The type of housecleaning I’m referring to is a bit more figurative. Once a year, I take stock of my current situation, figure out what is not working for me in my life, and sweep it away so I can regain my focus on the things that truly matter to me. We often hold onto things we do not need, things that hold us back. They can be tangible (hello…I’m talking to you, hoarders…you know who you are) or intangible (guilt, grudges, and worry come to mind), but either way they are stumbling blocks.

Have you ever had to put most of your belongings in storage for a while? How much of it do you honestly miss while it’s gone? My experience has been that I hardly notice its absence. Okay. Okay. When I want to make a panini, I really do love that darn machine but do I need it? My life isn’t going to fall apart if I can’t grill my own panini, extract my own fresh fruit juice, or whip up a restaurant-quality milkshake at home. And, all that “stuff” is just a burden. It has to be cleaned and stored, and its very existence vexes me. Sometimes when I open my cupboards and see it sitting there unused, I can tell it’s judging me for not being more domestic. I also have a craft room filled with items I no longer use regularly. I could easily clear out at least half of what is in there, donate it to a worthwhile charity, and still have plenty to use during my occasional crafting forays when I need a hot glue gun. (The hot glue gun is one thing I actually use. And, it’s a great torture threat for the kids when they misbehave. Have you ever used one of those things? That hot glue can give you a second degree burn! Don’t ask me how I know that.)

And, don’t even get me started on the intangibles that I cling to that need to be dispatched. Unlike most mothers, I am reasonably adept at ignoring guilt so that is not a huge problem. I’m not much of a worrier either, so that’s helpful. But, I have other things I need to clean out out of my overburdened brain. I need to let go of a few hurts from my past that are making it difficult for me to move forward with people who have since proven their trustworthiness again. I need to jettison some of the pride that makes it difficult for me to be truly silly sometimes and just enjoy myself without worrying about appearances. And, I should definitely make an effort to stop hiding my shy self in the corner at social functions and initiate more conversations to make new friends.

We tend to hang on to trifles that block out joy. Have you ever stopped to think about what you would want said about you at your own funeral? How would you be remembered? I know it sounds morbid, but someday it will be a reality. Me? I try to live without regret. I try to focus on what I can change rather than what I can’t. I can honestly say that if I found out today that I would die tomorrow, I would be happy with what I’ve done with my time here on this beautiful planet. If you can’t say that, what is holding you back from it? Maybe it’s time to clean house and move forward unburdened? It might not be easy, but if there’s something in your life that doesn’t serve your dreams for your future maybe it’s time to set it free. Once you do, you’ll feel lighter…and who wouldn’t like that?