Last week, I spent a solid three or four hours cleaning out my room. I sorted through what I had, decided what I could get rid of, and figured out how to organize things with some semblance of order. It was a lot more work than I thought it would be.
There were two main observations from the purge of my room:
- I had (and still have) A LOT of junk
- I’m really good at hiding it
The reality is that I haven’t taken inventory since I left college a few years ago. At the time, I owned so little that everything seemed valuable. Much of it went into boxes or bins or milk crates that hadn’t been sorted through or looked at since I moved into my first real place. The thing about junk, though, is that you don’t want anyone to see it. As a result, if you’re going to hold onto junk for a long time, you have to know how to hide it so that its not lying out in the open. The crazy thing is that after throwing away several garbage bags worth of junk, my room didn’t look all that different; the casual observer might not even notice a difference at all. I know it’s different, though. I feel the improvements in the organization and the lack of clutter. In a lot of ways, it felt liberating to be done with all that old junk I held onto.
This whole experience made me think about myself on a deeper level. What junk am I mentally holding onto? What negative attitudes, thoughts, and biases can I get rid of? Until I had to inventory the hidden junk stockpiles in my room, I never thought about inventorying what was in my head. My brain is a lot like my room — there’s definitely junk in there, but it’s well hidden. I need to sort through it, catalog the junk and the valuables, and ultimately get rid of what I don’t need.
I’m not done cleaning my room. There are still some items that have to find a permanent home. There are some clothes I want to donate, but I have to get around to actually doing it. It can be argued that the job will never be done — just two years ago, I didn’t think I had any junk, but now I find myself inundated with it. The mind is no different. We all hold onto negative thoughts, stubbornness, and misgivings. We can try to purge ourselves of the negative things we hold onto, but we’ll never be rid of them all. However, it is important we try. Just like with the physical world, we risk burying ourselves with the collective weight of our junk if we don’t throw out the useless things we hold onto.
It may never be perfect, but it can always be better.
Song of the Week: (Song — Artist — Album)
The Healing — Gary Clark Jr. — The Story of Sonny Boy Slim