Decluttering makes me happy.
It began when I read Marie Kondo's The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you haven't read it, you should. Even if you don't agree with her ideas, it's a fascinating read, cause she be crazy.
My take away was that every possession should spark some joy in your life, so throw away everything that doesn't.
You have to be reasonable though. Your vegetable peeler might not spark any joy in you, but it would be very inconvenient to be rid of it. Although... my mom got me a new peeler from Homesense, and it's so sharp and good and so much easier to use than my old one, I am actually joyful when I touch it (seriously get thee one of these).
So even a basic utensil can spark joy if it's good quality and makes your life easier!
COULD I BE A KONMARI CONSULTANT?
Decluttering was easy for me.
I'd moved three times in five years, right across the country, and so I'd already pared down to what was most important to me, what I most loved: books, clothes, and art. And I love organizing. It's a pleasure. I would even come to your house and go through the fridge and throw out expired condiments and sort them. If you want. It's more fun organizing someone else's stuff than your own.
So, I investigated how to become a KonMari Consultant. You can, if you're willing to go through a long process with no guarantee of becoming accredited, because they might feel like you don't make the cut.
Step one is reading the books (check). Step two is tidying your whole house - and then proving it. With pictures.
Well, that gave me pause. As much as I threw away, I think Kondo would say I'm not done (aka, since I've already read the books, she says I don't need them anymore). Besides that, I might start a war if I started getting rid of Brian's things, and the majority of the stuff in the house is his.
For example, he owns about six levels. She would say that is excessive. He would not.
But I can't blame him for my decluttering halt. I haven't told you the whole truth yet.
NO... NO I COULDN'T.
It's true that I pared down my belongings as I moved. But I didn't get rid of everything. I also stored things at my parents' house.
Points that it was packed and labeled nicely in stackable bankers boxes? Sure. Still took up an awful lot of real estate in their basement.
So, when I came home for the summer, I set a goal to go through everything. I went through ten boxes stored in the laundry room, only to come out on the other side to hear my mom musing, "I wonder if there is anything of yours in the crawl space?" And pulling out ELEVEN more boxes.
Box after box after box. Boxes of stuff that I often couldn't remember owning, but at one point had felt like I couldn't throw away.
SOME THINGS I FOUND
- My deceased Grandpa’s favourite tie
- The nightgown mom bought for her honeymoon (but didn't wear because it was too uncomfortable)
- The manual for a Sony walkman
- Christmas tree needles
More truth: saving Christmas tree needles is not just a habit of my youth. I can't help it! After you take down the Christmas tree, it's just... so... gone... and they smell so lovely.
I also have a piece of the stump from the first Christmas tree Brian and I had together. Yes, a piece of Christmas tree stump. We had a wonderful day tromping through the woods with his parents and our dogs, having hot chocolate and hot dogs over a fire, and cutting down our Christmas trees. His dad thought the tree was too tall, cut off the end, and was going to throw it away.
So I rescued it.
In my defence, it made a really cute ornament once we drilled a hole in it to thread some wire through.
SOME THINGS I GOT RID OF
I said farewell to a wide variety of belongings this summer: souvenirs and notes from university, clothes I'd thought I'd wear again (full length leather jacket, I'm looking at you), VHS tapes...
Some things were all too easy to throw out.
Like the letters I wrote to my future husband, as a teenager, telling him that he was worthy of 100 exclamation marks and I would let him buy his own clothes - scratch that, no, I WOULD buy him clothes!
(Spoiler alert: in real life it's a mix of both.)
The hardest thing to part with was the bundle of get well cards I had been given during my the various hospital stays of my childhood. Because they were memory triggers. I knew once I threw them away, I wouldn't remember the specifics of each individual who signed them.
But I remember the general feeling of love and caring I felt at that time. And I don't need the cards to remember that.
We don't need memory triggers to remember everything.
Nor do we need to remember everything... like those letters to my future husband!
So here's the rest of the whole truth: I also have a storage unit in Fredericton to go through.
Um, maybe next summer. Baby steps.
Right now I'm driving across Canada with a trunk full of stuffed animals, papers from my four favourite university classes, old family photos (I don't recognize the family members but, they are old) and my Grandpa's favourite tie.