“Wait…you’re selling your garage…?”

So my neighbor is conducting a big, two-day garage sale this weekend.  You’re familiar with the garage sale?  It’s this:

The garage held all this junk?  Is it somehow bigger on the inside than it is on the outside...?
The garage held all this junk? Is it somehow bigger on the inside than it is on the outside…?

The garage sale is what occurs when an individual or family has accumulated so much flotsam and detritus (i.e., “crap”) in their home’s garage, that the vehicles that the garage was originally built to house can no longer fit inside it…so they decide to scuttle as much of the detritus as possible in one fell swoop of an event.  They lug all of the miscellaneous clutter out from the garage and put it into the first sunlight it will have seen in years, they assign low, low prices to everything, and the theory (and the hope) is that other people will find some of this clutter desirable enough to buy it and transport it away, thus freeing up valuable space in the garage.  Quite often, this prospect of freeing up that space is as much a motivating factor as is any potential income from the event.

There’s probably an interesting documentary to be made about the odd dynamics and interactions that are unique to the garage sale.  And an event of this nature can without question come with its good points (the streamlining of the use of space in one’s home, the cutting loose of outdated attachments, some small bit of profit, possibly a new personal connection or two) and its bad (frustration, arguments, exhaustion brought on by incessant haggling, sunstroke, disappointment, nostalgic aches for old belongings, pack-rat panic at parting with things despite their basic lack of use and/or value at this point) — and which category would rightfully claim the visual effect of a tableau that suggests one’s garage has fallen ill, and vomited its contents out onto the driveway, is a real judgment call here…

The Haggle: "That's outrageous!  I won't pay it!!"  (artist unknown)
The Haggle: “That’s outrageous! I won’t pay it!!” (artist unknown)

But the reason I’m posting this here is to focus on that idea of streamlining…of casting away things that have become outmoded, ineffective, and irrelevant, but which we’ve continued to cling to for whatever various reasons, thereby squandering energy we might put to much better use elsewhere.

I believe this principle can be employed in many areas of our lives, be they highly metaphysical, or totally mundane.  Clean out your spirit…clean out your basement.  As above, so below, and vice versa.

What can you jettison at this time?  What can you pare down, strip away, cut loose…?

The hard choices presented by clutter -- artwork by Paul Foreman
The hard choices presented by clutter — artwork by Paul Foreman

The decluttering process is a difficult and often time- and energy-consuming one, but it can be incredibly worthwhile.  And I suggest not only casting a serious critical eye upon our tangible belongings from time to time with this principle in mind, but also performing some similar analysis upon the intangibles that color our lives: rituals, policies, emotional baggage that we cart around like ponderous sets of luggage…  Making the effort to really sort through some of the things that we’ve allowed to attach themselves to our lifestyles, and to then cast off those things that no longer serve us, can be intensely beneficial.  I don’t think it would be inaccurate to view the process as part of a sort of “spiritual fitness program.”

Decluttering: like this, but for the soul!
Decluttering: like this, but for the soul!

At any rate, my neighbor has inspired me, and I plan to devote part of my own weekend to both tossing out some of my own physical clutter, and to examining some of my habits, rituals, and practices, to see which ones might no longer be making positive contributions to my well-being.  And today being Saturday — the day we’ve named for Saturn, the Planet that symbolizes, among other things, limitations, restrictions, contraction, and self-discipline — seems like the perfect moment in time in which to do it!

Join me in some decluttering today…?

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