Spring Cleaning

Making Room for the New

Spring has come earlier than anticipated to California. Mid-March and the surrounding cherry trees have already blossomed in epic pinks. While Boston still slogs through more chilly snow, Bay Area spirits lengthen with the brighter days.

On 14th street in San Francisco, I open the apartment windows and wield the broom. It is time for spring cleaning. For the first time in my five years here, I am methodically rummaging through all belongings with a simple binary assessment: keep or go. Oddly, my approach is not sentimental; it feels time to purge. I feel no pangs to throw out objects that may be of use some day. The day is now.

So far, I have tackled the kitchen. I threw out frozen cherries, spaghetti sauce, and marathon energy supplements. I repackaged and labelled spices. I have tackled the living room. I removed half of my books as no longer necessary. I will deliver these stacks to the Phoenix bookstore in Noe Valley with the hope they will take them. I next will pare down my clothes and then sort through the garage storage locker. I wiped away the mold from the window blinds and took the dust of the tables. I would like to give away some of my art creations; much of the fun was in their construction.

I aim to shed at least 20% of my belongings. I’m not usually one to have much stuff in the first place, living in an a 600 square-foot apartment and having once moved to California by car. Still, after five years, I’ve accumulated detritus.

Much of this spring cleaning is psychological. I want to live leaner and freer. I can’t anticipate the future, but if there comes a time when I need to move and change, I’d like to be nimble now for the next chapter. I may need to cram all this stuff back in the same car and drive off into the American sunset.

I’m uncluttering. I try to think about less. I want to hold on to only two objects at once. I want to sleep until I’m rested. I don’t drink as often. I stay home a lot. I’m stretching my hips upright and uncoiling my back. I breathe.

Removing so much stuff, I hope, will open up something new – perhaps not new stuff, but new experiences and people. I signed up for a weekend welding course. I booked a retreat in April. It is spring and I’m ready to wander. Do you want anything of mine?