My workload has been light these days and I have a little time to work on the house. But I haven’t. The problem is when you get to this level of stuff surrounding you it is so incredibly overwhelming trying to figure out where to begin. I look at it, I plan what I am going to do, but somehow it doesn’t seem to get done and I am stretching this project on and on far longer then it should be stretched. It is hard to do so it is easy to avoid.
Over the past year to two years I have donated at least 7 or 8, possibly even more, loads like the one below to various organizations like Goodwill, Miami Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, and the Veterans. All the donations pretty much look like this..that is a mountain of stuff! And with as much stuff that has left the house, I am still buried in every room.
The hardest part of the decluttering for me is the decision-making process. I suck at making decisions, always agonizing over choosing the most perfect scenario and mourning the loss of whatever I didn’t choose. Up until recently my home has been filled with every single momento of mine and my children’s past. I had given away almost nothing and if it existed in our life at some period of time I still had it. Intact too! No missing pieces. I may be messy but I am good at keeping everything together within the chaos.
But the sifting and sorting is not just some mechanical process that is easy. When I do it I have two big obstacles, one physical with the challenge of lifting and carrying, and the other, much harder, is the slam me in the gut emotion wrench. My indecision reveals it ugly head here, tearing me apart as I face every single item. Nothing seems to be an easy snap decision for me. I am faced with a history lesson of my life as I open box after box of long-forgotten but still existing items. Each item torments me with a barrage memories. Unfinished projects I was going to do with my kids, incomplete plans, games and other activities we bought but never played. Toys once thoroughly loved but now forgotten and outgrown except by me. A marriage failed, kids growing up and gone. Time lost. Decluttering brings me face to face with my best intentions that turned into failures. It is so hard.
And the giving away is so final. Somehow when the items go, my memories go with it. I know all of the decluttering gurus say the memories remain long after the item is gone, but I have not found that to be true for me. Holding an item in my hand brings up memories in a touching, nearly physical way. Some good, some sad. Some downright painful. But having the item brings them back and when they are buried, or donated, they fade. Out of sight, out of mind.
But as painful as the process is I have to do it. I cannot keep a lifetime of stuff, a lifetime of memories in my home. It is crowding us out and the house has become an unpleasant place to live. I know for my sanity and for the sake of my kids and whatever time I have left with them, I need to turn this chaos into peace and joy. And so I trod on, and keep moving the mountains out of the house, blessing them for others to enjoy and get use out of.
It is so hard.
Stuff going out in this load, the three large bags, the large box, and the two boxes of videos:
- One bag of my old shoes and a few of the kids shoes, about 15-20 pairs, lost in a box in the closet, unworn since 2003. No kids in the house fit in the kid’s shoes anymore.
- One large bag is kids clothes, mostly T’s, in the same box also unworn since 2003, and outgrown. At least 50 pants, shirts, shorts, and more. Again, no kids in the house fit those clothes.
- A huge bag of clothes from M’s closet that he decluttered last weekend.
- A bunch of games, including Guess Who, States, and several others.
- All of H’s old Barbies, the Barbie car, and a huge bag of old Barbie clothes and shoes.
Another large bag of Barbie accessories.
- A big bag of at least five or six or more throw pillows that have not been used in years.
All of the Disney videos, two boxes of them, going to my mom who wants them. At least 100 videos.
Lots of memories.
I agonized over the Disney videos, even going as far as looking on Ebay to see if they were worth anything, but in the end I decided to give them up. And yes as I sorted them and held them in my hand many memories came flooding back of how much my kids had various favorites when they were little, of the special ones they watched hundreds of times.
I decided though I can always buy DVDs as they come out if I really want them in the future, and the kids don’t watch them anymore, we don’t have a working VHS player, although I know if we did H would still enjoy them even at 15, heck even I would enjoy some of them.
The deciding factor was the space. I want freedom, I want peace, I want Zen in this house and by keeping all of the old memories I cannot achieve that. There will be other things I will keep as I go through the house. Things more personal, with more attachments. But not these.
Oh my goodness this is just so hard and I have such a long way to go.
Courtney’s challenge helped motivate me to call the donation center for pickup and get the stuff out of the house. I have probably close to 300 items in the pile going out so I have met the challenge already! But I am going to step it up and get at least another 100 items out of the house by December 15. Hopefully more.