I am a firm believer in decluttering my physical space. Every six months, I wander from room to room, closet to closet, with one goal in mind: purge what I do not need. Piles of stuff start to grow like anthills in the middle of the room. But each little mountain is assigned a purpose. One pile is to keep, the other is to discard and the last mound moves to a donation bin. This process is simple, but effective. Within a two week time frame, several garbage bags form a single file line in our garage. I am reminded again how much I do not need and for the next month, before I add another “must-have” in my cart, the image of white garbage bags flicker in my head and I decide not to make certain purchases.

The physical emptying of my space offers comfort and clarity and it is a ritual that does not require any extra effort, but is a natural extension of my self. For the last few years, I’ve tried to adopt this same emptying technique with my mind, but I am not certain how successful I am in paralleling the clarity that I’ve achieved in my physical space.

Read the rest of my essay on The First Day. 

Image: “Clairvoyant” by Jason Samfield via Flickr