The Fresh Start of Back to School

btoS

Ah, back to school. I love you. And not just because my kid goes back to school. At 15, he’s really not a problem during the summer. My love of all things back to school is really about me, not him. Well, me and football. I really love football. But I digress…

Autumn is the least brutal season here in Minnesota. No snow or bitter cold, no scorching heat, and the fall colors are spectacular. Even though January has the new year and spring has all of nature’s rebirth, I can’t help but think of fall as the beginning. No doubt that is the result of the many, many years I have spent in school. Fall is the real season of fresh starts in my mind. The notebook pages are clean and unwrinkled. The pencils are long and sharp. The shoes are still shiny and new.

I always find myself “nesting” in autumn. The garden and farmers market are producing ripe veggies and raspberries at an alarming rate, and I spend many evenings processing corn, canning spaghetti sauce, and turning apples into applesauce. It’s cool enough to bake again, but still warm enough to grill.

Back to school shopping and the changing weather lead naturally to decluttering, too. Last year’s jeans grew too short for my growing boy, so bringing in new meant taking out the old. Yesterday my son and I took out a big black bag of trash (just stuff we found decluttering, not regular trash!), a box for next year’s garage sale, and a box for the Goodwill (some things are worth storing for next year, some things are not). And while we were on a roll, we returned some paperwork and borrowed items just to get them out of the house. It felt so good to unload the unnecessary and to return the things that don’t belong to us!

In addition to nesting and decluttering, I also like to reconsider my commitments this time of year. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the things I’m committed to, and it renews and refreshes my commitment to the things I love. For example, I’ve added some additional hours at work, and picked up a book about non-profit management that I think will help keep me inspired. I’ve written a book review to share here on the blog, and am planning some great material and a giveaway for Food Shelf Friday in September. I’ve also made significant progress on the revision phase of my thesis, and have plans to finish that up and move on to volunteering at the food shelf on my day off. I’m excited about what the future holds. I hope you are too!

As you head into this new season, what clutter in your life is holding you back? For what commitments have you lost passion? Take some time to really consider the stuff and activities that you hold on to. Are they adding value to your life or sapping you of your energy? Make some moves – the pages of the future are fresh and clean. You choose what will fill them!

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