Sunday, February 23, 2014

Revisiting the Psychology of Clutter

Several years ago I wrote a post about clutter and why we sometimes hold on. It can be found here, if you're interested in taking a peak.

Right now, I'm revisiting this topic both in my life and on this blog. As we approach spring, and, quite frankly, are a little stir crazy with cabin fever from this long, colder than average winter, my family has decided it's good time to do some clearing out. 

Some of the things we're sorting through are still boxed from our original move east, 11 YEARS AGO. Wow. 

There are a few reasons why these thing have sat for so long. A lot of them were books. We didn't bring our bookshelves with us when we moved here, they weren't great and we thought we'd look for some better ones rather than move them 3000 miles. And then life got busy as we settled into a new area, and then new parenthood, and we didn't. Now, finally, we have some decent bookshelves, and we're unearthing books that, guess what, no longer fit our lives. Massage texts from a career I'm now longer pursuing, theater audition books from a hobby I don't currently have time for, and don't see getting back to anytime soon. Some I have no idea why I kept to begin with.

Yesterday, we sorted through 4 boxes and took more than half away for donation. In part, it was a practical issue of not having space to store what we unpacked, until just now. But I will also say that it was a fairly intense process to dive into those boxes and meet the past. I was reminded of who I was and left behind, in a big way, when I moved here. Of parts of my life that I miss, and parts that I'm glad to see the other side of. Some vestiges of trips I've taken (travel books) and of those I'm still dreaming of.

I found a small journal that was made for me, full of wishes from the guests at my bridal shower, on the eve of my marriage almost 17 years ago. There were sweet notes from both mothers, both now passed on, and from friends who I was once close to and have not kept up with. Notes wishing me equal happiness in my marriage as theirs, from friends now divorced. And notes from friends still close and dear, and oh so much younger.

Moving through these items isn't always easy, but worth it because, for me at least, it feels like creating space for the me who exists now, and the me to come. I am both the same girls who packed all of these boxes 11 years ago, and someone quite different. Sometimes it takes letting go of what once was, or what was expected, to make space for what is and will be.

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