Summer vacation is a time for relaxation, quality time with family
and friends and activities to enjoy the moment and refresh our souls.
One way to renew our spirits is to dedicate time serving others and
focus on developing different skills. For my family, summer “renewal”
included decluttering and letting go of all the things that we
accumulated during the year.
Before deciding what we needed for
the new school year, my siblings and I would take stock of what we had,
clean the clutter, donate what we did not need and recycle the rest.
You’d be surprised at how much we collected without realizing it.
was reminded of the importance of decluttering as I was heading to the
bus stop one day. My backpack broke and I almost tripped with things
falling from it. As I separated my possessions in plastic bags while the
bus passed me by, I realized part of the problem.
I had not
emptied my backpack before collecting more items on a trip. I was
carrying needless things around and they broke the backpack. Many of the
items inside were for “just in case,” things to read when I had time,
things I offered to carry for others or things I could have left behind.
of it just added extra weight and made things harder to find. I had to
take stock of what I was lugging around and declutter.
decluttering tradition can be applied to other aspects of life. Often we
accumulate stuff, thoughts, worries or useless things that are just
taking up space in our rooms, homes, minds and hearts. These attachments
make it harder to function to the best of our ability. The mess keeps
us from being grateful for God’s gifts. Sometimes, the clutter even
covers up or pushes out things we actually need.
taking stock of what we are carrying might seem like a daunting task,
but summer is the perfect time to tackle the clutter little by little.
Getting rid of what is taking up space at home can give us clarity — and
make it easier to stay organized.
Less clutter gives us a
realistic view of what matters most (and what really does not matter).
Decluttering frees us to say “yes” to what’s most important.
we have cleared the unnecessary junk, we can take other steps for
positive change. Although we can make an effort to be better anytime, we
realize something is keeping us from being the person God wants us to
be. Decluttering before the new school year gives us a better chance to
grow into this person. Now is the time to make room for God in our
New beginnings are opportunities to let go of the things we
are attached to that are not helpful to growing closer to God (and our
true self). After simplifying our possessions and letting go of our
attachments, He can take up more room — if we invite Him.
to ask the help of God’s spirit so that we can learn, grow and discover
in the coming year,” Holy Cross Father John Jenkins told students at
the University of Notre Dame at a Mass of the Holy Spirit years ago.
These Masses have been long-standing traditions at many Catholic
universities, where students, parents, faculty and administrators pray
so the Holy Spirit enlighten, strengthen, comfort and guide them in the
new academic year.
Whether you are transitioning to college,
changing schools or just going to the next grade, a new school year is
an opportunity to start anew. Getting rid of your mental and physical
clutter this summer can make room for the new challenges and exciting
opportunities God has in store for you.
Negro Chin is bilingual associate editor at Maryknoll Magazine.