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Woman sitting on the floor sorting items into one of 3 boxes: Save, Discard, Donate.

Photo: Canva

We are settling into a senior community. So far, the adjustment hasn’t been as difficult as I anticipated. But my focus has been on moving out of our house and getting it sold. Now that is done and I’m concentrating on settling in here. I’m loving not having to cook. I’m willing to tolerate meals that may not be my top of the line favorite every time, in order to have that benefit. I’m also willing to tolerate eating at times that aren’t my favorite in order to have that benefit. In time, it may get old. For now, we are eating healthier than we have in awhile. Ron is loving having dessert with his main meal every time!

He is enjoying having some independence going to classes and groups without me. He knows his way around here now. He is also getting to know more people as we go to meals, exercise groups, activities, etc. This week, we had a couple of days we slept in and missed some things he would normally attend. But we will catch up later. I think the relief of the house sale caught up with us.

I am still consolidating things around the apartment. That means the decluttering I have been doing since Christmas, hasn’t really stopped. In fact, I’m finding it much easier to throw things away now. had a lot of things split up in the house before: some fabric and crafts were in the craft room, others in the garage. Now what I am keeping is in the craft room. I still have some things I may have to toss. Once I open boxes, I still have a mess because I can’t simply put things away. I still have to sort a bit more and decide if I actually have space for them or not. The reality of my space and what I thought I was going to have are hitting me in the face. So the floor in some of the rooms have piles in them as I decide where I will put some items and what I will put them in.

Each year, we need to do our personal sorting: emotional and spiritual, forgiving and reassessing. Just as we clean physical closets and drawers.

It’s a crazy process as I move ahead into this new year. I haven’t even begun to do that personal sorting. What am I keeping, what am I tossing because it is too cumbersome to carry it with me for another year? It is so interesting to see how that real life process overflows into my spiritual life without my thinking very deeply about it. I think it is because the more I toss, the easier it gets. I realize how many things I have been dragging through life with me in case I might need them some day for that next stage are no longer needed. And actually, those what-if things have only been weighing me down.

Keep the beautiful, it fills a place in your soul; Keep some reminders of those you love…with a caveat.

Once I moved here, that item that I thought I couldn’t live without just looked like a piece of junk when I tried to fit it in a tiny apartment. Keep the beautiful and use it. Enjoy it. Keep those things that remind you of people you love…within reason. It may be a photo or collage of them that you can hang on the wall, or put in an album that you can look through. But don’t hang onto every card they sent you,

I have held onto Ron’s and my letters we wrote during our courtship. We never read them over the years. It was recommended to me that we sit down and read them together and laugh and enjoy them, then toss them. We have been married over 55 years now. They are almost irrelevant. I like that. They will never mean anything to our children. So one of these evenings, that is what we will do.

Don’t know where to start with decluttering? Start small.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, clean out a drawer or a closet. It will clear your brain and it will make you feel good to have a corner of your universe cleaned out. Keep your decluttering simple with 3 piles: Give away, Throw Away, Put Away. Then do it and take the Give Away pile to the place you plan to give it to this next week.

If you have a big area to work on, start decluttering in one corner of the room with your 3 boxes and set a timer for 30 minutes or 1 hour. Then stop, put everything away, put the giveaways in your car and move on with your day until the next planned time for working on organizing your space and start where you left off. Don’t work until you are worn out. It will be something you have to recover from and you don’t want that. Work in bite-sized pieces and you will be surprised how quickly you are able to get the job done when you do it this way because it won’t be an exhausting job you will hate. You will want to come back to work on it and soon it will be done. Make sure you are putting things in all the boxes/bags. In other words, don’t just put away. Make sure you are giving and throwing away. Get as much out of your house as possible. And don’t second guess your give-aways. Put the box/bag in your car and don’t look back.

Blessings to you all.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV