I Donated 3 Bags of Guilt

Last Labor Day Weekend, my husband and I painted my home office. That is to say, he painted it and I helped. I love a fresh start! Neither my son nor my husband could tell the difference in the color, but I can. Since we decided to paint the inside of the closet too, we had to empty the entire room.

Somewhere in that process, I decided to review and purge the contents of my closet. It’s so much easier when it’s already in the living room, staring me in the face. I started with a bag of paint chips. I knew that I had mixed together the “ideas” with the “records,” so I began to sort. I kept four chips that match our home interior, and discarded the rest. You are probably wondering where I am going with this story. Hang with me for a moment, and you will see.

I realized that this was one of the projects in my closet that I had been procrastinating. After I was done with that, I was motivated to go further. I looked around the room and saw the box of picture frames screaming at me. It was just a large box of GUILT. The creative side of me wanted to repurpose them. I could paint them all black and arrange a collage of my family on a wall. I could paint a few of them metallic copper and insert mirrors, to hang in the front bathroom. I could paint them all a creamy white, and buy decorative paper from the craft store to hang in my office. But, none of those had happened, and there they sat, for a long time, making me feel guilty every time I saw them. Due to my own health difficulties, painting picture frames is not going to bring me enough joy to be worth the pain I would suffer from the process.

Now, I have a question for you. What do you have in your house that brings you guilt, instead of joy? Ask yourself why you are keeping something. If the only answer is “I should,” then ask yourself how you would feel if it were gone. Life brings about many changes: health, home size, work load, family circumstances. If any of these changes have left behind a feeling of guilt, then it may be time to let go.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Supplies from an old hobby
  • Clothes for when you lose weight
  • Decorations that someone else chose
  • Gifts that you don’t care for
  • Set of china from a previous marriage
  • Cookbooks that you know you will never use
  • Obsolete textbooks from college
  • Items you’re keeping, only because they belonged to Grandma
  • Items that you have replaced, but it “seems wasteful to throw it away”


To be clear, I am not suggesting that you need to get rid of all of the above items. I am suggesting that you ask yourself what you have in your home that give you a negative feeling, and not joy. Now, when I open my closet, I am happy to see what is there.

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