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Does anyone else feel like Halloween was just last week? We were all anxiously awaiting the cooler weather and the changing of the leaves and getting ready for the holidays. Then we blinked and now it’s the New Year and we’re caught in this never-ending arctic freeze.
When I finally braved the cold and took down the last of the Christmas decorations, I declared to myself that I am officially ready for spring. I’m ready for the warmth and the flowers and the ability to simple go outside without being completely bundled up.
And, of course, along with the spring thaw comes the desire for spring cleaning.
There are certain times of the year that we simply want to clean and purge and start anew. Since the new year started, these feelings are rising up in me. And I know they are legit because I actually caught myself thinking about having a yard sale.
Every time I have a yard sale, I swear that I’ll never ever do it again. It’s not worth organizing and hauling my stuff outside and having someone talk me down from a $25 price tag to a 25 cent price tag. And yet, here I am, with so much accumulated stuff that it’s more than a simple trip to donate (which we still do frequently).
How do I get into this state? I call it the Spring Thaw and Winter Purge.
Every year, I say that I will be more selective and buy less. I will think long and hard before making a purchase. I won’t buy simply because it’s a good deal. It has to be something I need and want (or just really really want). And I think I finally figured it out.
I like new things.
Now, that makes me sound a little spoiled, a little materialistic, and maybe even a little shallow. But I’ve put some thought into it and realize that there may be something more to it than just liking new things.
I think about how I feel when I walk into a hotel room. And if it’s a nice enough hotel, I feel immediately calm and relaxed. Typically, I’m traveling alone so I have the entire space to myself. The bed is neatly made. The furniture is dusted. The bathroom is sparkling clean and everything is in its place.
I feel in control.
And that is the feeling I’m often looking for.
When you buy something new, it is in that pristine state and is likely in the best state it will ever be in. Think about new clothes. The minute you wash them they’ll never be the same. Think about new shoes. One false step and you’ve got a stain or a scuff.
I feel the same way about cars and furniture and phones and eyeglasses. The minute you pick it out, you almost get a high from the excitement of something new. And you promise that this new fill-in-blank is the one you promise to take the best care of. And you put rules in place.
No eating anywhere near the new couch.
Always store the eyeglasses in their case.
Don’t use the phone while eating.
No touching the touchscreen in the car.
That last one is a true statement. When I bought my latest new car, it came with a large display that can be controlled by touchscreen or by a knob in the center console. I made a specific rule that no human hands shall ever touch my display screen simply because I hate the look of fingerprints.
It’s not about the car. It’s about control of my environment. And the ability to control starts over with each new purchase.
Thankfully, I don’t have a strong, unsatisfied psychological need to control everything around me but I would love a little more order in the chaos and I’m ready to start the winter purge.
I’ve read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? and I’m still not there yet. I still like my shiny new things. I’m still actively researching my next TV (because 55″ just seems so small) but I’m trying to take control of what’s in my current environment. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll just go spend a few days in a hotel.
What have you used for your spring thaw and winter purge to help you get your life in order?