Clearing is different from Sorting
About 3 years ago, there was a violent hailstorm that pounded furiously right on top of my house. Every building in our complex got a new roof. It was written up as one of those freak localized weather events, but it impacted me personally.
The hail pulverized my window well cover and rapidly filled up the window well with rain and leaves and hail stones. The pressure of the water against the glass blew out the pane and the gushing water flooded the basement.
Yikes, what a mess.
I managed to water-vacuum the 1 inch of water spread over 1100 square feet and saved everything. But whatever order was in place before the flood had long disappeared. Everything was stashed in the high end of the room. Piled on top of each other. For three years, now. Goodness me, three years.
So, I’ve returned to the scene to clear. What I realized after digging in is that it’s too soon for sorting. Time to clear but not sort? What’s the difference?
Clearing is the process of organizing the piles, putting like with like. You remember, “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things, isn’t the same…”
Now, all the photos are in one corner, the boxes of old office files (3 of them distinctly labeled “Black File Cabinet,” like that means anything) are stacked together. Even the empty shipping boxes are neatly organized together.
Clearing helps determine what goes and what stays. In order to get the shipping boxes organized, many were discarded or recycled. And the old luggage with the broken handle? – time for that one to go. If you pushed it aside to deal with later, then now is later.
Clearing carves out space. My basement was navigable, but not usable. There was plenty of room for me and the grandkids to enjoy a killer game of ping pong, but if I wanted to find something specific – forget it. Or if I wanted to retreat to the basement to work on a piece of art, sorry, it’s a dusty mess down there.
Now, the dust is minimized, there’s a space for my fiber art making, and a place for exercise and meditation. When I need to find something, I know generally where to start looking.
But I’m not done. There is sorting to be done and that can be a time consuming endeavor. Sorting has us face the minutiae that we postpone. Sometimes we just don’t feel like going through that box of photos, we dread digging through those old boring records.
It takes longer to sort than to clear; best to plan accordingly.
And how do you know your clearing has been successful?
Perhaps you remember a time when your car was really dirty, filthy actually. Every time you got in to drive somewhere, you would remind yourself – must wash the car. Looking at your car made you cringe.
Then, you got it washed. After that, when you looked at your car it felt really good, right? That’s what clearing feels like. It’s that satisfied feeling you get when you see a part of your life get the attention it deserves.
It feels really good.