How cleaning the kitchen can change your life

Change your life?  Sounds crazy, huh?  Stick with me, this will make sense, I promise.

Some recent work in my kitchen required that I empty out the cupboards and move the table and chairs out of the room.  Afterwards, everything was dirty and dusty so I set about cleaning and putting things away.

As I touched each object and washed it, I asked myself’ “Do I need or want this anymore?”  If the answer was “No,” it went in the recycle, trash or give-away pile.

If it was “Yes,” I inquired into the meaning of the object; was it useful or was there some sentimental connection with a loved one or past events?  Did it need to go back in the kitchen, or somewhere else?  Could it serve some new purpose or be seen in a new way?

I found myself being very intentional about what went back into this renewed space, not wanting to bury the new look and feel of the kitchen with all of the old “stuff.”

Several important changes emerged from this process.  As the kitchen came back together, there was a new spaciousness, less clutter and the clarity that comes from putting things in order.  I felt lighter and more open as well, happy to let go of things I no longer needed and delighted to reconnect with things I had forgotten or couldn’t find.  Some items found new life in different places in the home, some came together in surprising arrangements with others.

Midway through this process, it dawned on me:  this is a metaphor for how I am intentionally working to create greater health and wellbeing in my life.   As an example, I have been doing an inventory of my professional commitments – figuring out what is working for me and what is not, building on that which fulfills me and letting go of tasks that seem “lifeless.”  I have reframed and redefined things, and changed up the order.  I have allowed space and time to “be” rather than filling up my day with “doing.”

The result?  I am working more efficiently and with greater satisfaction.  I am able to focus more clearly, making room for new opportunities and letting go of what seemed more like obligation than avocation.  Work doesn’t feel like “Work.”  There is a sense of ease to my days that wasn’t there before.

This process can be applied to any area of your life; things, tasks, relationships, routines, and beliefs, to name a few.  Here are the steps:

  • Take it out.
  • Look at it.
  • Feel it.
  • Do I need it?
  • Do I want it?
  • What does it mean to me?
  • Can I see it in a different way?
  • Can it have a different purpose or place?
  • Does it combine with others to create something new?
  • Is it time to let it go?

I’m going to continue to play with this process in other dimensions of life, and invite you to do the same.  I’d love to hear what you discover.

Linda Oxford

Linda Oxford, MS, MA, LPC, RYT500

Linda has a private mental health counseling practice in Rochester Hills and Alden (seasonally), Michigan. She provides compassionate and confidential psychotherapy and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes, meditation and yoga training to people, groups and businesses wanting to learn to decrease anxiety and depression, cope with chronic physical or emotional pain, improve health and well-being, and gain greater satisfaction with life.

2 Comments

  1. Peggy Ann Kralik on August 11, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    That is so perfect for me right now! I am doing what is called “flight team”, which is a 9 month program for leadership in my business. The first thing they wanted us to do was clean something out, like what you are describing. It creates space for new things to come into your life. Glad to see we’re still on the same page. Love and blessings to you. Peggy Ann Kralik

    • Linda on August 11, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      I’m so happy it was meaningful for you! I’ll look forward to hearing what you learn…

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