It may be a little early yet to start official “spring” cleaning, but that is what my family has been up to over the last few weeks. As we make preparations to welcome a new baby there have been necessary changes to the way we are using space in our home. Bookcases, beds and other furniture have been moved around, and the big job of cleaning out and reorganizing closets has almost come to an end.
During any kind of deep reorganization and cleaning I am always surprised by the things that I find taking up space. There are things I had forgotten we owned that fit into the category of ‘if it hasn’t been used recently we don’t need it’, things that are useful but have found their way to inaccessible and useless places, and some things that have been kept for sentimental reasons.
Now, I’m no Maria Kondo, and I’m sure we have still hung on to a few things that may not serve a recognizable purpose or that “spark joy”, but we have done some great work toward clearing out clutter and making space for new life. And with that clearing out, passing on, and cleaning has come a certain feeling of lightness.
There is a lightness that comes from letting go. An excitement that is sparked by the possibilities of creating physical space for something. A sense of newness that comes from even small changes.
These thoughts and feelings may serve as a good frame for my approach to the upcoming Lenten season. There is a certain amount of letting go that can take place with the thoughts in my mind: a letting go of thoughts that are not useful, or thoughts that are harmful. There is a certain amount of clearing out that needs to take place: clearing out room in my schedule and in my heart for more life-giving activities.
It is sometimes difficult to face work like this, especially when the task ahead seems too large to tackle. But I found that just taking a small step toward tackling the mess and clutter in our closets became easier (and even enjoyable) once we began. And I imagine the work of clearing out my mind, schedule and heart for lent will be the same. I will just pick one corner of my mind, one small box tucked away in my heart to begin to make room for the joy and lightness that comes from creating space for new life.