“Here honey, I left this for you to clean up! I love you, Mom.”

Somebody is going to have to come and clean up after me, sooner or later. Perhaps it’s after I die in my bed. Perhaps it’s after I’m shipped off to a nursing home to live out the rest of my life. I have no clue the whens and hows. I just know that sooner or later somebody will have to do what I’m ignoring, distracting and avoiding.


My urban daughter doesn’t like the rural lifestyle. Of course, that includes sheds where things are stored that I don’t know what to do with. And, where there are sheds there’s evidence of mice and rats. “Here honey, I left this for you to clean up! I love you, Mom.” 

Okay, so I had a rat encounter recently. I go on high alert to sounds and sites of anything remotely in the vicinity of my home. Lucy, my new mouser is doing her best to take care of the situation. She’s got a lot ahead of her. Though she’s brought to the door a number of rodents (fortunately they’re dead), I’m unsure whether she’s got the one!!! 

Killing rodents myself is the last on my list of dealing with the issues. Peppermint spray, moth balls, steel wool, hardware cloth, sonars… they are all in play these days. And, since I’m always seeing how the paradigm shifts, I of course have conversations with the rodents. I let them know I love them and promise not to poison or kill them if they stay far away from my home. Otherwise, my dear cat will make a scrumptious meal out of them. I reminded them too, of the owl that visited on my roof, twice, able to get to places a cat shouldn’t. I haven’t heard a squeak since I made this promise! (Michael Roads wrote a book called Talking with Nature, which speaks to this. I highly recommend it!)

Sparking Yuck or Sparking Joy

So, though the rodent adventure began another round of purging stuff, it also sparked care and respect for people who will have to deal with whatever I leave behind. I think that’s a dirty deal for people we care about. So, I took a dive into my closet and my bathroom cupboards. I asked myself, “what would I do with this if I were left to deal with it?” First, I’d feel resentment and anger that I’m left to take care of this crap. Then, I’d begin to throw away everything that hadn’t been touched in months or years. So that’s what I did. All of those “well, I might want to use this.” Or, “I never even opened this.” It didn’t matter. Into the bin it went. If I were my daughter, that’s what I would do—chuck it all! None of it sparked joy. It all just sparked guilt.

Sparking Joy?

In a nutshell, Marie Kondo is a master at decluttering. Her philosophy is keeping what sparks joy and letting go of everything else. It’s a beautiful practice to realize what and who in your life sparks joy. It’s a wonderful practice to clear away everything else and everyone else! It takes practice; however, I’m finding it a very positive experience! Who doesn’t want more joy in their lives?

So first the bathroom, then my closet. And yesterday, while putting away something in the shed I saw tons of evidence of rodents. I swept up a lot of the droppings and kind of moved things around, making sure the sonar was working and spraying some peppermint spray as a deterrent. It was a small effort to prove to myself I was taking care of things—sort of, but not really.

Again, I thought of my daughter and how she would hate me while she’s hating taking care of yucky stuff no one wants to deal with. My daughter and I have enough to deal with without burdening her with this too! So, this morning I tackled the shed. I trashed everything that was trashed by the rodents. Anything touched by the pitter patter of little feet—gone. This included a box of my books that I thought were carefully packaged. No chance! GONE!!! My shed doesn’t actually spark joy, yet, but it doesn’t spark disgust or guilt. I’ll take that!

I text my daughter, alerting her to the fact that I’m making her life better by me cleaning up my crap! She loves that! She loves that I talk with her about my plans as I age and inevitably die. There’s no mystery. There are no choices she’ll have to make on my behalf. And hopefully, whatever is left in the house or shed, it will be an easy process of making it all disappear. Well, maybe easier!

Maybe I write about this more than you’d like to read. However, not only does clearing out the clutter impact on those you leave behind. Clearing out the clutter makes you feel better today! Because not only do you feel better about yourself and your home, but you also know you’ve taken care of the people you love in ways that will make them say THANK YOU for the rest of their lives!!! Everybody wins, because everyone feels loved and appreciated!!!

Would This Be Considered a Secret or Just an UnKnown Truth?

I’ve heard it said, but now have experienced it numerous times, that when I’ve let go of what’s no longer useful or sparks joy, something akin to alchemy has occurred. There are shifts that are unexplainable. There’s an elevated sense of delight, and I wonder how they came about. New things and people show up—the ones I’ve been imagining for perhaps decades. I remind myself that this happened after I let go of yucky, guilt-ridden stuff that truly brought no joy to my life.

I highly encourage you to experiment with letting go of what no longer sparks joy—only so you can experience that alchemy yourself. As the paradigm shifts, there are lots of fascinating and delightful things to be realized. And, those you leave behind will love you even more!!! Again, everybody wins!!

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