On New Year’s Day, I cleaned up all my paper piles. It’s not what I intended to do. It’s not something I even like to do. That’s why those piles are there. They’re everywhere–on the kitchen table, on the counter tops, on the desk, on the printer, on the chairs, on the floor, under tables–pretty much every surface.

It started innocently enough. I traditionally take down my Christmas tree on New Years’ Day, so that my son’s adjacent birthday celebration is separate from the holidays. It didn’t take much to remove my little Charlie Brown tree, a scraggly two-foot balsam. Underneath it, though, the floor was covered with dry needles. I had to move furniture to clean it up. That exposed a whole corner where I stash stuff that has no home. If I’m not using it, why do I even have it? In case? In case of what? I cleaned out that corner and put a nice chair there to sit in and watch the birds.

I felt so much lighter, not just from having the clutter cleared but from clearing the clutter. From actually doing it. It was freeing. So I just kept going. Being New Year’s Day, it was easy to say “I haven’t used this or looked at it in a whole year, let’s start over.”  It was like a cleansing fire, spreading through the debris. The paper junk actually went directly into the wood stove, burning away. I ended up going through all of the nooks and crannies where clutter collects.

I really enjoyed that process. I released myself from stuff that was weighing me down. Voila! Starting the New Year free of clutter! Starting the new year with free space to move and imagine and create and start anew.