No, I’m not talking about competing with Sir Dyson.

I’m referring to creating holes in your life so that you can fill the holes up with new things.

Last weekend we cleaned the carpeting in the upstairs. It’s carpeting we inherited with the house and it isn’t the greatest, but we aren’t ready to replace it yet. (Mostly because it’s the ongoing debate between us: hardwood—me—versus carpeting—Alex.) At the same time, I tore the kitchen apart. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve done that and figured it was time to see what might be lurking in the top rear of the snack cupboard. I rearranged and moved Alex’s mother’s dishes from the hutch to the cupboard. I don’t believe in saving things for the sake of saving things. Use them! I made space in drawers and found room in cupboards. A week later and those spaces are still empty.

I read this novel once … well, I read many novels all the time … and actually I didn’t finish reading this one because it was poorly written … but all that aside, the character in this book only kept 200 belongings at one time. Now, that’s impossible for a working person living in a house, driving a car, who has friendships. Think about it—if she had plates, silverware and glasses for four people, she was already pooched on only having 200 things. Heck my sock collection would get me into serious trouble with that number.

As my friend Patty, the Certified Professional Organizer states, if you keep collecting things and you never get rid of anything, where does it all go? Hence, clutter in our lives, which leads to clutter in our minds, which leads to stagnation. I don’t know about you, but if I’m stagnating and unable to have sideways or forward motion, I’m done. Shut me off, turn me over and toss me in a corner. But don’t let me stagnate. Ever.

Patty says that that clutter, the keeping of unnecessary things, boils down to unmade decisions. Think about what you really want on that desert island with you and get rid of the rest.

You have to eliminate things—sometimes inanimate, sometimes the dead plant you keep trying to revive, and sometimes a person who is simply no longer good for you to have in your life. But if you don’t eliminate and clear out space—create a vacuum—for something new to come in, it simply can’t.

Or nowadays, of course, you can become a hoarder and get on TV.

My point is, we have to have holes in the days of our lives in order to fill them up with new experiences, new people, new things. We have to have loss in our hearts to know how much those hearts can be filled with love. We have to dig up last year’s bulbs in order to plant spring flowers.

Life is a cycle and vacuuming out the old stuff is critical. Creating holes for your vacuum to find: essential.

And yes, it’s time to clean the rest of our house.

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