March of Trash asks you to take action on clutter every day for a month.
Many of us are stuck at home more than usual this season, and this can be an opportune time to clear clutter from the home. Some of the unpleasant emotions of being stuck in a place involuntarily can help you focus on different parts of your clutter. I explore four of these emotions below. When you recognize these emotional reactions in yourself, you can think of them as prompts to clear clutter of specific kinds or in specific places.
What this feels like: The rooms you are in feel like a poor substitute for the wide world outside. It feels like the world got smaller. This leaves you wanting room to move and space for things to happen. To tell how much this feeling is affecting you, notice how often your thoughts are turning to a wish for space, adventure, the sky, the horizon, and traveling across distance.
Clutter clearing focus: Create space for yourself. Clear out anything that is crowding hallways, doorways, or any place where you walk. Clear counters, table tops, your desk, your inbox, or any working surfaces. Consider taking away large wall decorations that look heavy or are in shadowy colors, to create the illusion of open space.
What this feels like: It’s hard to get started on most things. It seems easier to sit and wait.
Clutter clearing focus: It may be the weight of the clutter that is getting you down. Remove large and heavy objeccts that aren’t being used, along with anything that has stayed in the same spot for a year or long enough to get dusty. Look for ways to place things that have bright colors in a more visible place for a few days to create the feeling of freshness. Considering bringing in a few local flowers or produce to provide a focal point for fresh energy.
What this feels like: It’s hard to get interested in anything. Everything is gray. Anything you look at seems like you have seen it before.
Clutter clearing focus: If you are bored in your own home, it is helpful to recognize how unnatural this is. You created the environment, so in theory, there should be no end of things for you to do there.
Probably there are plenty of things to do, but it is hard to see them. Instead, you keep seeing things you don’t want to do. Try to remove or hide games you wouldn’t want to play, books you read that weren’t that good, things that don’t work, and anything else that has outlived its usefulness. Get rid of clothes that don’t fit. Store away out-of-season clothes in boxes or in a place where you won’t see them. Clear counters and tables so that you have space to create something new. Pick one thing to repair or one project to press ahead on and finish so that you can get it out of the way and free up more space. When the old and tired things are no longer dominating the space, you’ll find that your surroundings aren’t as dull as they had looked.
What this feels like: It is hard to find space for yourself. Everywhere you turn, you see of other people’s ideas, decisions, efforts, and arrangements more than your own.
Clutter clearing focus: Your surrondings have to reflect the unique person you are — and that doesn’t require a makeover for the whole house. Start with a small space, no more than half a room, that is most personally connected to you or most distinctly yours. Make this space a reflection of your personality. Do this mainly by taking away things that are not a good reflection of your ideals, values, and style. These things are there because of other people’s opinions, social pressure, or cultural epectations. Keep only the things that are valuable to you. Especially remove any passive-aggressive gifts from relatives. Those are the ones that were meant to carry the message that you shouldn’t be the way you are. When you’re done, this area should look like it could only belong to you.
There is a time-honored tradition, illustrated in the Hermit card of the tarot, that supports using time away from the world to become a truer reflection of who you are. The emotions that, on the surface, seem to be waiting for the day when you can go back out into the world may also be nudging you to make a shift within yourself, and that is a journey that might start with a new look at your material possessions.