Clear out the old to make room for the new

Sentimental items may feel comforting to keep. But no quantity of items that hold fond memories from the past are a substitute for living your life to the full now.

Child smelling sunflower

One of the main reasons that clutter clearing makes such a difference to your life is that clearing out the old makes space for the new.

If you are happy with your life as it is and are content to remain in the same old groove, read no further. Just leave everything in your home as it is.

But if there are aspects of your life you would like to change or improve, the fast-track route to achieving this is to begin by clearing out everything that no longer fits with who you are. After all, when you buy a new sofa, you don’t try to place it on top of the old one. You move the old one out first, and then bring the new one in. This creates the space you need, and also does something more. By letting go of the old sofa, you also release any associations you have with it and any stagnant energy that has accumulated around it.

The same principle applies to each and every item you own, big and small. Your home is a mirror of yourself, and you are connected to everything in it. The process of releasing the things you no longer love or use creates room for new things in your home and also new experiences in your life.

How rooted in the past are you?

Here’s a simple test you can take to discover how rooted in the past you are. Take a stroll around your home and estimate the percentage of things you own that evoke strong memories from bygone times. If this applies to more than 50% of your belongings, then you are living more in the past than in the present and are not so available to engage the new and embrace the future.

Keeping a few items around you for sentimental reasons is fine. But when they take over your home, they also take over your life. You can’t take any of them with you when you die, so why cling to them while you are alive? There is a world of new experiences waiting for you, if you are willing to let go of the old and make room for the new.

Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd 2014, updated 2022

Related article
Don’t let your home become a museum of the past
Keepsakes and memory boxes

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About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fourth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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3 Responses to Clear out the old to make room for the new

  1. Dear Karen.
    I love your book clutter clearing plus monthly email.
    I have read your book three times and each time I have read it I learn something new.
    I am a pensioner of 72 and had a operation for hernia this morning which was a success.
    Your monthly email was brilliant.
    Long may you live.

  2. Interesting to think about. My husband and I are both quite “sentimental” and we do indeed have a lot from the past. Thinking about it more I also grew up in a house with much related to the past and had a grandmother with a huge house FULL of the past. We used to rummage around in the many closets and find ancient boxes of love letters, or dresses from the 1920’s! It was a huge job for her children, my father included, to clean it all out when she died. A lot went to local museums. My grandmother saw herself as the keeper of family history and keep it she did.

    For me a lot of my childhood was a bit like an archaeological dig, and somehow not having mysterious things tucked away to be found later , does not feel like home to me. Have you bumped into others like me in your many years?

    I do want to be more in the “present” and am clearing things away slowly but surely. I also do remember talking with a second cousin’s wife who said to me . “What is with your family and the past??” She said that at family dinners her in-laws would start talking about WWII and that her parents, on the other hand, wanted to know what their grandkids were studying, doing etc. Realized at that moment how my whole extended family, which is quite large, is primarily rooted in the past.

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