Organize Like a Gardener
It was the middle of June before I was able to give my garden any attention this year. I don’t have the greenest thumb, but I do appreciate how harmoniously the colours of nature come together to provide a picture perfect backdrop.
But when I got to our back garden bed, I was faced with a dilemma. There, in all its glory, was an extremely healthy New Vintage Yarrow. I purchased it last summer in full bloom. It survived the winter and sprouted up this spring twice the size I remember – and quite straggly. It was a beast! With garden shears in hand, I bent towards the entangled limbs. Then I stopped. How could I just cut away all of this healthy growth? It was lush and green. Wasn’t this horticultural homicide? Isn’t it the strong who should survive, not be cut down in their prime?
I started by removing the dried, browned stalks that stood out amongst the green. Next went the stalks that stuck out so far that it caused the plant to look completely misshapen. Then it hit me. I had to remove the stems that were so heavy they drooped into the soil, the others that had become intertwined with a neighbouring plant, making impossible to distinguish one from the other. If I didn’t prune this beast, its beauty would be lost. The overall aesthetic of the garden would be compromised, and without a regular trim, new – perhaps healthier – growth would be stunted.
Isn’t this just like the challenges we face when confronted with a closet full of clothes, or a kitchen overflowing with odd ingredients that were used once, a long time ago? Our initial thought is “these things are all good still. I can’t just get rid of them”. Instead, ask yourself I there is any sacrifice that you are making if you keep everything. Are you sacrificing time and energy to dig through all those clothes that you no longer wear, just to find a piece you do still put on once in a while? Is the overall aesthetic of your room lost because your clothes now spill out all over the floor and bed? Is your kitchen counter so cluttered that it has become slow and tedious to make a meal, because your prep space is non-existent?
Just as the seasons change, so too do our tastes and priorities. The next time you are struggling to let go of something that is still in great shape, ask yourself these three questions:
Do I still use this?
Is there a cost associated with keeping it?
Could there be any benefits realized if I let it go?
Because it might be in letting go, that you can truly thrive.