There’s an endless stream of bags filled with freshly abandoned personal possessions accumulating outside my apartment door. They pile up much faster than I can find ethical means to dispose of them. There’s that old cliché about how your junk is another person’s treasure, but it’s hard to imagine ruined clothing and broken picture frames of any use.
My ambitious household purge was catalyzed by a recent death in the family, after which I found myself wading through decades of clutter you couldn’t imagine why they’d been held onto: a box of ash trays accumulated from an assortment of restaurants and hotels; soggy vinyl records; 1990s era maps and tourist guides from vacations past; tax records from many businesses ago. It’s fascinating to find what someone couldn’t part with over the years, or simply what got lost in the chaos. It quickly became apparent that a household purge of my own was long overdue.
I usually have a lot of trouble cleaning out what I practically don’t have any use or interest in keeping—most people do—but what I’ve come to realize is that once it’s gone, I don’t miss it. Making the decision to part with an item of sentimental value yet lost utility is the hardest part.
This all began for me in the few days leading up to Rosh Hashanah, which marks the New Year on the Jewish calendar, with the fall season looming as well. The symbolism was all too obvious, and the ensuing gravity consuming. As a writer, I spend a lot of time searching for meaning in the everyday minutiae. So much so that when meaning plops itself on my doorstep, it seems astonishingly serendipitous. There’s an opportunity not to be missed.
For all of us—some probably more than others—this time of year is pivotal. It’s a time to look back at the year that may have flown by and looking ahead to what’s left to achieve, how to use this moment as a launching pad for the next big idea.
It’s a great time to clear some of the clutter from your life and your business. It’s a project for sure, but a worthwhile one. What’s left when all the dust is cleared? What’s missing? Be sure you have surrounded yourself with the right people to support and catapult you forward through the what’s left of this year, and hopefully, there’s enough momentum to push on into the next. I’ll bet that you won’t miss what isn’t there anymore.