For the last twenty years, my garage has been overflowing with other people’s possessions: boxes, paintings and frames, dishes and china, photo albums, clothing, furniture, art work, paper work. You name it. I have stored it. Most of these items never get picked back up again. People move or they forget that they have put them there. People pass away. It has become the land of forgotten things.
This week, I spent four full days cleaning out my garage and getting rid of everything that is not mine or in active use. The junk guys had to do three pick ups from my house. It was epic and exhausting but I feel a great sense of accomplishment, ease and joy now that it is done. I have reclaimed this space. It is no longer cluttered, clogged and impossible to walk in. It is spacious and open.
It is interesting how physical spaces are often a reflection of our internal lives. I have only recently learned how to set boundaries and to say no. I was never taught this skill as a child, and if anything, I was actively taught that I should always say yes to others. No matter my own needs, the needs of others always came first.
I have since learned that this is neither healthy or sustainable. As Brené Brown says, “the most compassionate people have the most well-defined and well-respected boundaries.” This is because when they say yes, they mean it, and when they say no, they mean it. There is no hidden anger or resentment. A yes is an authentic yes. So moving forward, I am going to say no when anyone asks to store something in my garage: it is not theirs to fill up. This will leave me with the space to say yes to the things that I truly want to.