Last week when it hit 54 degrees, the first rush of spring moved through me as I walked from my home to the office. No bitter cold to shrug up against—shoulders dropped, big breath in. I could almost see the crimson tulips in the Jefferson Market Garden and people were already taking advantage of the benches outside the cafes—talking, smiling, out from their winter cocoons. Big exhale..aahhh.

Last June I wrote of the ambitious decluttering project I was about to embark on. I thought it would only be my personal belongings I would have to organize, but it went much deeper. The attic and basement and closets have since been cleaned. Books were given to the library, clothes to various organizations and lots of stuff went straight to the dump. It was done at a pace—an hour or two here, 20 minutes there, two weeks off, sometimes more—but I kept at it with the discipline of a dancer. I had to–I was cleaning not just for myself but for the generations that occupied my home before me. We even had a few days where family members from around the country convened to divide up the old stuff. Whew! Now I am down to sorting through only what is mine and this is what I have learned—I DO NOT NEED MUCH. About 95% of the things that surrounded me had to go. The quote by William Morris that I had framed and hung in my over crowed home many years ago is only now beginning to reflect what is around it. It reads, ““Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”.

If this quote of Morris’ wisdom becomes my guiding principal as I continue to clear the clutter, my home will be a sanctuary. Not letting things accumulate should be easier after this marathon. With this first breath of spring I am thinking of my home and workspace as places of calm in what is often the chaos of life. Hopefully that will be enough to make ‘spring cleaning’ a year round life-style.

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