Dumpster as a Metaphor?

Do you ever look around your home and realize that you just have too much “stuff?” I recently did. I realized that there were broken items that hadn’t made it to the curb because I could not carry them alone. I realized there were old bikes and cabinets in the garage that needed to go. I realized that I just had too much old stuff, too much stuff from my marriage and just too much. I needed to get rid of some of this and so on a whim I called for a dumpster to be delivered.

I have never been so excited to see such an ugly green steel box in my life. I actually took a picture of it! Silly, I know, but it definitely represented something important for me and I needed to memorialize that moment.

I began to throw things in to the dumpster from my yard. I threw out broken pool items, an old diving board, old containers, and the old basketball backboard.  Anything I could carry by myself or with the dolly, I brought to the dumpster. When Don got here, we began on the heavy stuff. We took an ax to the rotting picnic table near the old horseshoe pits. It reminded me that I should clean those up and actually use them this year. We threw away cabinets, and bicycles, luggage and an old fire pit.  We were getting a workout with some of the items and it felt great.  Don kept jumping into the dumpster to move things around so we could fit more. I kept finding things to throw in there.

I was in the basement going through items for the dumpster when I came upon a box I didn’t recognize.  I opened the box and realized it was filled with stuff that belonged to my ex-husband. Nothing that was worth anything although it may have had some sentimental meaning to him at some point in his life. I didn’t bother to go through it, realizing that it had been 5 years since he lived in the house and 4 since our divorce. He obviously wasn’t missing it.

I walked up the basement stairs and could feel my heart pounding just a bit harder, just a bit louder.  I felt determined to get this box out of my house and rid my home of the last of him. I threw the box in the dumpster and stood there for a moment. There was a weird sense of calm that came over me, and a bit of a weight lifted.  It was as if the weight of that box had been on my shoulders.

When the weekend was over, I looked at the full dumpster and felt incredibly light! I realized that this represented more than just a lot of junk that had piled up. This represented getting rid of the old. Moving on. Ridding myself of unnecessary burdens. De-cluttering my home also began to de-clutter my mind and my heart. It felt like I could move faster, be more agile.

I felt clear, more focused. I could now see the future better and focused less on the past.

Now that isn’t to say that everything that I need to get rid of was thrown away that weekend. It wasn’t.  I still have my doubts that need to be thrown away. I still have my negative thoughts that need to be thrown away. But I feel lighter and more capable to move forward than to be stuck. I have a lot more to de-clutter. I have a lot more to rid myself of before I am only looking forward but this was an incredible start.

The dumpster started as just a way to get rid of things I couldn’t get to the town recycling center myself. It ended up being a metaphor for this point in my life. This crossroads of moving fully forward versus always taking one step forward and then one or two back.  This began a new chapter for me, the start. Focused on going forward versus looking back. Focused on being my best instead of assuming my worst.

A great metaphor and a great feeling. We all need to de-clutter; our homes, our minds, and our hearts.

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