Labor day weekend we spent clearing out a lot of invasive species and brush from our property. As a result, we opened up vistas, gave desirable plants more room to grow and breathe, and got a refreshing dose of outdoor exercise. It was time well spent. We all agreed we should have done it ten years ago, but I guess we weren’t ready and were focused on other things. It was a perfect end-of-summer day to be working outdoors. There was no humidity, temps in the high 60′s and dappled sunlight – one of those magical days heralding the close of summer and the advent of autumn.
So what does this have to do with organizing? After a discussion with a friend who was musing about the transitional nature of Fall, I realized that our clearing and cleaning of our land is similar to the clearing out and cleaning of our other environments. If there is too much stuff in your space, whatever space that may be, or the semi-important and not at all important are jumbled together with the very important, it can be really difficult to function well. Just like the trees and plants outside, if there isn’t enough space around them and they are competing too much for sun and nutrients, nothing thrives. It seems that can be true for our interior environments as well. Not only do living organisms outside get stressed, so too do those who live indoors amid the clutter of unwanted things.
Maybe you can think of the things in your home that do not help you and your family thrive as the inside invasive species. Whatever they may be, and however they got in the house, we’re talking things like junk mail, kids’ party favors, presents or inheritances you don’t particularly adore, stuff you no longer use, wear, or projects you will never do, they can rob the sunlight (energy) from the important things. They steal resources/nutrients – you have to house them, move them around, clean them, worry about what to do with them, feel guilty you’re are not using, liking, or finishing them, make decisions, or not, (it’s stressful either way) about them. It makes me tired just thinking about it.
Make a date with yourself to get rid of some of these space invaders. You will feel so glad you did, and everything that you really want and need to stay will breathe better too.
Back outside, things look so different now, like a whole new and much larger world. We are suddenly noticing many beautiful trees whose forms were being crowded out and blocked by the clutter of the invaders. We still need to do a ton of work out there, but already the prospect of what this new landscape can become has brought us great joy and anticipation. A landscape guru, Deborah Silver, says Fall is a wonderful time to plant. So clear out some debris, take a deep breath, and make room for new and wonderful things to come.