Recently I discovered that my favorite color had changed. Ever since my childhood, I loved the color red. My parents let me have red carpet and drapes back in the 70’s, which made my room glow in the afternoons. When given a choice, I always chose red and used to say, “If I’m going to have one, it might as well be red.”

One morning during yoga class, I looked into the mirror, admiring my new celery green workout shirt, and realized something startling: my favorite color wasn’t red any more. It was green.

How did this happen? I looked around my home and noticed that green had quietly crept in. From shirts and sweaters hanging in the closet to the beautiful cut glass bottle on my kitchen counter, I had surrounded myself with different shades of green. My favorite color had changed without me knowing it.

That realization made me think. When my daughter asked what my favorite color was, I hesitated. What did I really like? I then began looking at my surroundings more closely. Did my belongings reflect who I am and what I like?

It’s like carrying around a bag you’ve always had. You loved it at first, but now you carry it because it’s familiar. Looking closely, you might discover how worn it is or that you no longer like the color or style. You carry it because you’ve always carried it.

Are you walking into the new year with old bags? Are you holding on to things that aren’t “you” anymore?

Old bags can show up anywhere. Here are a few places to look at and some questions to ask:

• Kitchen – Do you like your dishes? Do you still use those serving pieces? Does your cookware reflect your lifestyle and the kind of cooking you do now?

• Closet – What colors, textures, and styles do you like? What isn’t you anymore? What do you never get around to wearing? (Hint: look for items with dust on them!)

• Office / desk – Are your books ones that you’d read today? Do your knick-knacks reflect your current interests? Are you motivated by what you see?

• Living spaces – When you look around, do you see items that you love and enjoy?

As you walk into the new year with new goals and resolutions, check the bags you bring with you. You may have some things to let go of (like my red wallet). That’s okay. Those items have lived a good life.

There may be some sadness over chapters in your life that have concluded. It’s okay to grieve.

You may be tempted to ditch all of your old bags in favor of new ones. Be careful. Take some time to live with the white space left behind. You may even find that you enjoy living with less.

Take some time to check your bags. Enjoy what you love and be ready to open your hands to take hold of new ones. Happy New Year.

© Renee Ursem, 2011

Author's Bio: 

Renee Ursem, Professional Organizer and owner of Get It Together, LLC in Las Vegas, helps people learn how to organize and maintain their spaces using simple, practical strategies.
Renee can be reached at She is on Facebook and Linkedin.