clean house

I’ve always struggled with maintaining a clutter-free home, and that has been the source of a lot of guilt and shame for years.

To kick off the Big Clean-up, I recently scheduled a garage clearing day with all of my kids, as a lot of the boxes held their belongings and I didn’t feel right about throwing things out with their consent. It surprised me how easily they let go of the past, and which things triggered an unexpected emotional response.

All of it is hard for me. For one thing, the garage was intimidating, the holder of boxes that were packed and moved every 2 years or so during my marriage. Taking care of babies was a full- time job, and I never had a chance to get organized before the next announcement from my husband about some job opportunity somewhere with little regard for the family.

We added to the brown boxes and lugged them along with us from coast to coast and back again. The load grew and grew, but finally we ended up in a humongous house with a basement that could hold and hide endless boxes of stuff so I didn’t have to even think about it until “someday” came along.

And then it did.

The divorce took just about a year to complete and we lived under the same roof at the suggestion of his lawyer. When the day came for us to move, he quietly packed up his personal belongings while I was away (and some of mine) and left.

My turn came to pack, and of course I had lots more stuff in addition to the stuff my three kids had accumulated. But then… The brown boxes.


Off they went with me to a tiny little rental house where we lived in very cramped, non-air-conditioned quarters for 3 years. And the boxes sat while I recovered and tried to find a job.

And now we have lived in my very own home for 7 years – the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I was a child. And the garage became the new hiding place for those scary brown boxes that held parts and pieces of past lives I’d just as soon forget. So they sat… And they sat…

Every once in awhile I would feel a surge of energy and attempted to attack the boxes. But one after the other they brought me to my knees with old hurts and I couldn’t get through them.

But I am ready now. I feel completely invested in this house-clearing project, and it isn’t just a 2-day whim.

Acknowledging that the boxes and their contents were not my “fault” was a good start. Knowing that the ghosts inside cannot hurt me anymore, and that I’m ready to face them and let them go is a huge step. But visualizing an optimistic future where I am surrounded by things that I love and where nothing is hidden away ever again is the biggest motivation of all.

My heart-opening has led me here, to this place where freedom and clarity live. I want it. I crave it. I can no longer tolerate living in the darkness.

“Perfect Love casteth out fear.”

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