Spring cleaning is an annual rite of passage for many, however, I tend to clean out every three months or so due to my small living quarters. I’m a regular at the local Salvation Army and the Arlington Haz Mat recycling facility. But for Spring 2012, I’m not only cleaning out, I’m cleansing.
While it feels good to rid myself of old t-shirts, shorts and mountains of black shoes, I’m digging deeper. Cleansing out, unlike cleaning out, is ridding myself of the emotional stuff. It’s the stuff that not only takes up space in our closets, but unloads every fiber and piece of matter onto our hearts. These aren’t those things that you hold on to because you might need them later or are treasured family heirlooms. Nope, it’s the stuff that you haven’t used, listened to, or worn in 15 years, but can’t bear to part with it because of the memories attached to it. For some, it can be concert t-shirts, others it may be a CD collection, even kitchenware. Whatever it is, it hasn’t been used in over 10 years, yet you still keep it around as some sort of adult security blanket. Just knowing it’s in the clear storage bin at the bottom of 10 other storage bins in the back of your storage closet makes you feel secure.
Yes, I’m an emotional collector. I hold onto stuff much longer than I need to because I’m afraid of letting go of the memory, that specific moment in time. Emotional cleansing is hard, and more often than not, I have to be ready to let go. When I hit this point, my heart has said “good-bye” and I finally recognize that riding myself of the stuff doesn’t translate to riding me of the memories. After all, don’t we have Facebook for all that now?