Elul Preparations:Cleaning out the clutter on all levels by Ariella Bracha Waldinger

Elul is the last month in the Jewish calendar and has been labeled a “Workshop in Time” due to the fact that Jews the world over are concentrating on cleaning up their homes, lives and especially their relationships.  The month itself comes with the mandate to tie up our loose ends, make amends and get our lives in order. We can achieve the goal of this powerful mandate, if we begin by getting our house in order and cleaning out the clutter on all levels. De-cluttering enables us to transform our spaces, both inner and outer, and simplify our lives which restores our sanity.

The Talmud in Brachot (57b) lists three things that “expand a person’s heart” and one of them is a pleasant home. When we live in an orderly home devoid of excessive clutter, we feel calmer and more capable of dealing with life by focusing on our priorities.

 Clutterer’s Anonymous states, “clutter is anything we do not need, want or use that takes our time, energy and space and destroys our serenity. It can be outgrown clothes, obsolete papers, broken items, disliked gifts, meaningless activities, ancient resentments or unsatisfying relationships.” Disordered things impede movement and reduce our day to day effectiveness.

Clutterers Anonymous shares the following questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What areas of my life are cluttered? In what way?
  • How has it harmed my relationships?
  • Why am I still hanging onto this? i.e., thing or emotion etc.
  • What is the worst thing that can happen if I get rid of it?
  • Is it being used regularly? Is it enriching my life?
  • Do I absolutely love it or am I suppose to love it?

 Don’t let the following excuses prevent you from moving forward.

  • I may use it someday
  • I could fix it up and it might look like new
  • It cost me good money or it may be valuable
  • It was a gift from a favorite loved one
  • I will read the books, magazines etc. when I have time

 De-cluttering Rules: Once you begin to get real about your stuff follow these rules:

  • Start small….one space at a time or one issue at a time
  • Hold the item or think of the issue and ask the questions listed above.
  • Create four separate piles: one pile for give-away, one pile for throw-away, one pile for move to another location and another for keeping it where it is but in a more orderly fashion…(use bins or whatever you can to maintain the orderliness)

It is a huge mitzvah to share the wealth of your give-aways with others. Please be aware, do not give away any stained or torn items, they must be thrown away. Items to be given away must be clean and usable. They can be put outside of your home with a sign that they are ownerless. They can be given to a gemach or shared with a friend.

Below is a great article on the benefits of being organized.https://unclutterer.com/2014/01/23/benefits-of-being-organized/

 I bless each of us to make the time for this sacred work. By taking inventory of our over-crowded schedule, our overloaded to do list and our over-stuffed mind, drawers and spaces, we can emerge into a life of living our priority order. By choosing to clean out the clutter in our lives, we can be more effective by being more selective…carefully choosing what we do, and what we own. It is spiritually freeing! Remember, discipline is remembering what we truly want for our lives during our precious time on earth. Once our direction has become rooted and prioritized, we can reap the benefits on every levels be’H.

Kesiva V’Chatima Tova,….may we all be written and sealed for a healthy and happy New Year,  Ariella Bracha





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