“If you keep an open bough, the singing bird will come.”
That was a poster I had in my room as a teenager.
Each year, around New Years weekend I make space for the year to come:
- I transfer birthday, anniversary and other commemorative occasions to my new calendar (my one remaining paper-based calendar – the birthday reminder/pretty art calendar in my home office)
- I go through the cupboards and the refrigerator and toss things that are past their usability
- I go through the medicine cabinets and do the same
Then, sometime soon thereafter I go through the rest of the house – clothes, decorations, and, for me the bibliophile, the Big Deal – the Purging of the Books.
A friend had told me that bibliophiles past 50 must institute a rule of ‘one in, one out’ lest they become buried under an avalanche of books. While not rigorous in that application, my rule is “no new book shelves” – so my books have to fit their current space.
For those readers in the Chicago area, I’ve stumbled upon a great resource the Chicago Books to Women in Prison project. This group (which also has a Facebook page) collects paperback books (no hard covers allowed) and ships them to women in prison.
I LOVE taking my books there as it seems like a triple win:
- Most obviously, I achieve my goal of clearing space for new books to enter my life
- The books I am releasing get recycled – they will be read again – and most likely more than once
- It’s a tiny mitzvah -a good deed, bringing joy to someone who could really use some
Maybe you don’t live in Chicago. Maybe you’re not much of a reader. But I’ll bet there is something in your house that you have too much of it, that might be useful to others.
I feel pretty sure that we don’t own our stuff – it owns us. So if you want to invite spaciousness, newness, and exciting opportunities into your life, you might try creating an open bough on which those bluebirds of happiness can land.
At a minimum you’ll have less stuff to tend to and thus more free time.
Do you do any routine “purging” of stuff? When? What? How? As always, I really want to know - so add your comments to the conversation!
And may the singing birds you attract this year delight you and surprise you with goodness.