“Keeping things ‘just in case’ indicates a lack of trust in the future” – Karen Kingston
I spent two hours today dragging boxes of mildewed letters, books, and other cobwebby remnants of years gone by out from my garage. Some of these boxes had been following me around since college in the 80s.
I kept some stuff that I thought my kids might like to see: pictures I’d drawn and stories I’d written in middle school. Selected letters from friends and family. My old 5th grade Cotillion invitation which is almost verbatim like the one Franny received from her Cotillion committee this year.
But I knew if I paused too long over any box, if I stopped to ponder the possibility that one day I might actually want to read that never-cracked-open Katherine Ann Porter Story Collection, nothing would get thrown away.
So I was ruthless in my purging. I felt queasy at times. Overloaded, teary, as flashes of my life history pelted my consciousness.
But in the end, I felt lighter, energized, and ready to say goodbye to pieces of past I no longer need.
“If you worry that you will need something after you have thrown it away then sure enough, very soon afterwards, your subconscious mind will helpfully create a situation where you need that very thing, however obscure it may be. ‘I knew it would come in useful some time!’ you exclaim, but in actual fact you could have averted this need by thinking differently. You created the need yourself by believing that you would have it!” – Karen Kingston, Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui
Sharon Greenthal says
I am the anti-clutterer. I think it comes from years of moving every few years as a child and young adult. I love the feeling of free space…which I eventually fill up again. But sorting, clearing and tossing are extremely therapeutic for me.
I am the antithesis of Sharon (I think). I could no doubt do with “ruthless purging” but it’s fraught with emotion for me and I think, with good reason.
There was a decade of keeping all sorts of detailed records for legal reasons. (I suspect you can relate to that.) There was becoming the “oldest generation still alive” – much too early – and therefore the keeper of “family stuff” whether I wish to be or not, not to mention the difficulty of going through the “family stuff.”
There is physical injury that has made the actual manual labor of lifting and bending and sorting slow and arduous and at times, impossible.
There are 7-day work weeks that make purging both necessary when you work from a home office) and the last thing you want to do with any uncharted hours!
I have managed to accomplish some, bit by bit, over the years. But it is always painful (emotionally), and a seemingly endless mission.
I absolutely LOVE Karen Kingston’s book. That was such a motivator for me. I need to read it again and get another booster shot.