Before I put things in boxes I’m trying to make sure that everything I pack is something I want. I read an article about decluttering that said “If an item doesn’t serve you or bring you joy, get rid of it”.
That’s all well and good, I guess. The article didn’t go on to say “If an item represents an important milestone in your life and has meaning but for the most part takes up space in a manner that is inefficient and irritating, you should do THIS with it…”, which is really what I need.
I have no less than twelve race shirts. Most people who’ve done a bunch of races get very blasé about shirts; they go immediately from the goodie bag to the pile of shirts one wears when cleaning the gutters, with perhaps one wearing to a social event in between. But what of the shirts from my first year of actual fitness, the shirts from my ascent from the couch potato bin to the starting line? Can’t ditch those. Just can’t. So I folded them more neatly, which (I reasoned) made them take up less space, and back in the drawer they went, with some blessing uttered over them regarding a deep-drawer shirt wearing rotation that I promised to implement.
I policed the ‘unmentionables’, making a pile of underthings obviously purchased on a day when I was feeling naughty and oblivious to peripheral concerns like comfort or blood circulation. (Hint: If its bigger than a C you have no business pushing it in any direction other than down and in. Up and together, as quoted in the ‘Holy Grail’, is right out.) I disposed of a pile of linty bandannas from an era that also saw horn-rimmed glasses the size of Direct TV dishes and acid washed jeans as part of my ensemble. The sock pairs I’d made from singles that lost their mates but were passably similar (Step-socks, if you will)
Now to the closet, aka the guilt racks. Tons of pants given to me by an Orthodox friend who no longer wears pants. Dresses, origin unknown. Stuff I was grateful for but never really wanted. All of these went in plastic bags for Goodwill. Someone might want a short sleeved, brocaded wool dress. I do not. I’ve come to terms with this. It was like losing twenty pounds instantly, denuding those hangers and stuffing those items in bags. I can hardly wait to plow through piles of uncomfortable kitten heels and ill-advised purses and fill another bag. Or three.
There are still corners where sentiment lurks, little squirrel nests of memories, little cutesy cards and photos and doo-dads made for me by this or that child, especially mushy birthday cards stuck between things that I can’t part with. I’m not ready to come to terms with the rubber banded stacks of photos from my 10th Grade Band trip, or the August 2004 Vacation scrapbook that taunts me from a brown paper bag in the bedroom, all the happiness and good intention scattered in pieces like the Scarecrow by a flock of malicious flying monkeys. I will put it together. I will.