When I moved out of my one-bedroom student apartment several years ago, after living there for about five years, I was surprised about the number of moving boxes that gradually filled up. The first 20 were quickly packed – and I hadn’t seen the basement yet!
Over the years, a lot had accumulated in the 26 square meters. In addition to what I had taken from home, I gradually added new things – without letting go of old one. Sometimes because I didn’t even consider it, and sometimes because I couldn’t or didn’t want to let go.
So in this move was also a chance. The chance to sort out, to let go, to think about what I really still need.
If you’ve ever moved, you might know this: you suddenly have things in your hands that you didn’t even know existed anymore.
So why carry them around any longer?
If you are not so good at leaving things behind, you pack “maybe boxes” (= maybe I need this again). These are the moving boxes that then are left unpacked in the basement for years in the new apartment — and crazy enough, are sometimes even dragged along for another move.
This reminded me of habits.
Some of our habits we are not even aware of. We function as if on autopilot, without questioning. Maybe we don’t want to because then we would have to admit to ourselves that they are not good for us?
Some of our habits are like the unpacked boxes in the basement. We don’t really need them, sometimes they even get in the way when we need space for something new. But we’ve just gotten so used to them, they give us a sense of familiarity and security.
And then there are the “gifts”, habits that we have adopted because someone told us or we read somewhere that they are good and important to be successful, healthy, happy, etc. Maybe they fit into our “inner home” – but maybe we have a different style? In any case, we should also question them from time to time.
“I can, because I want to, what I must.” – Immanuel Kant
Most of the time, with habits it’s similar to moving: we only consider cleaning out and questioning when a change in the outside world prompts us to do so and we realize that it no longer works a certain way: a new work situation, new demands at work, a drastic life event. Then we can, because we have to.
But why wait for the move?
How about a regular emotional and mental spring cleaning to act more consciously and hold space?
An “I can because I want to,” so to speak?
If we manage to regularly “clean up” our habits, we create agility, lightness and space for new things. And a nice side effect is that the next “move” becomes much faster and easier to manage.
What habits, routines and thought patterns could you question and clean out next week to create space for new things in your life?
Have fun discovering, unpacking and letting go!