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Feeling the Urge to Purge

Submitted by Bethany on Mon, 01/09/2017 - 21:50

Don't worry, this has nothing to do with the violent movies.  

Every 18 months or so it seems, I get an insane urge to get rid of most of what I own.  I start to feel cluttered and claustrophobic in my own home, amongst my own stuff, and no amount of organizing will make me feel better.  No, better to get rid of all the things! 

The last time I went through this was the summer of 2015.  I had just finished reading Marie Kondo's "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up".  I loved that book.  Like, really loved it.  Like, I bought seven copies on Amazon and gave them to friends and family loved it.  I wanted everyone to love it as much as I did.  My timing for reading the book was excellent, as we were getting ready to move from Ames to Fort Dodge, and a move is a natural time to go through what you own and get rid of things you don't need. 

I cleaned out a lot that summer.  Multiple large trash bags full of clothing went to Goodwill.  We held a garage sale and sold furniture and dishes and all sorts of other things.  I got rid of most of my CD's (I think my mom is holding on to the rest).  I got rid of picture frames I had collected for years (but kept the pictures).  It felt good to downsize.  And honestly, I can't think of a single thing I got rid of that I regret.  [Except my DVD's of my favorite musicals - I don't think I  gave them away but I can't find them so I'm afraid I might have!] 

Today I found myself with that unmistakable desire again, to ruthlessly cut down what I own to the bare essentials.  I think it's in part because we (hopefully) have another major life transition coming up soon.  But instead of immediately giving in to the urge to get rid of allthethings! - I'm making myself wait this time.  I'm making myself think about where this urge is coming from.  

As I've mentioned, I'm trying to be more mindful this year, of my body in particular, but also of my mind and spirit.  I think my sudden desire to create perfection in my physical surroundings stems from my efforts to work on my body.  My instinct is to perfect everything around me first, and then I can take the time to work on what really needs attention.  I used to do this in college and grad school - I couldn't sit down to study or write a paper until my dorm room or apartment was perfectly clean and organized.  It was a seemingly justifiable distraction from what I really needed to do. 

I'm going to try not to give in to the distraction this time.  I'm going to focus on my body before I focus on my stuff.

Well, maybe I'll let myself re-organize my bookshelves at work tomorrow, just for a little hit of the purging distraction. 

Bookshelves at work



XOXO, Bethany