Top Ten Things I Learned From My Massive Life-Changing Clearout

Now that my clear out is officially done, I wanted to share some of the things I learned. We finally "exchanged" on our house Monday, so will be moving into our new home in less than a month. I cannot believe that I actually finished this before moving, but wonders never cease.

10. You have no idea how much lurks hidden within your home. I am still getting over the shock of the bathroom clear out in which I believe my photo composition 'Bathroom Deconstructed' says it all:

9. My fascination with living in another country started young. Not only did I have two foreign pen pals (in Germany and Ireland), but I kept all the postcards sent to me from my Grandmother and Great Aunt Ruth & Uncle Rolland when they started taking trips to far off places. I also saved all the little dolls from different countries that Ruth brought back for me. The three weeks I spent in France when I was 17 was a major deal -- with its own scrapbook and itemized list of every franc I spent (I showed this to the Hub and he asked what happened to this frugal teenager?).

8. I now think twice, or even many more times about bringing things into our home. When I went to Krakow for the weekend I kept wanting to buy a souvenir. But then I would consider whether I really needed an object to remember my time there. I took a gazillion photos, like usual, anyway. I am especially skeptical of anything free:

7. Being neat is much easier when you have chosen the "right" number of belongings for you. I no longer feel controlled or overwhelmed by my possessions. And I can spend the extra time I have pruning around the edges -- I immediately know when it's not working out anymore between me and a pair of shoes.

6. Music used to be a big part of my life. It's kind of fallen by the wayside, so this was particularly informative.

5. When a category of items that you're clearing out gets tough, just break it down further. A good life lesson as well?

4. Buying anything -- particularly clothes -- is much easier. When you know what you have, what you need becomes much more clear. And if you need something, the universe will deliver it. (O.K., you might also need a job to pay for it or at least a credit card.)

3. I loved to record things. I was a prolific letter and journal writer. I had a bit of peripheral interest in art, but photography was my main visual interest and the number of photos taken tended to be inversely correlated with how much journaling I was doing at the time.

2. The majority of possessions shouldn't live squirreled away somewhere. If you have a possession because it gives you joy, then you should be able to see it and experience that joy.

1. Writing was clearly my greatest passion. It's so pervasive in my childhood belongings that I felt knocked over by it at times. And the clear out has given me space to consider this a little more seriously.

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