After my husband died, I clung to his clothes, wrapping myself in his sweaters and the comfort of his scent. I cherished being among his things until I realized that he would have wanted me to donate them to those in need. After about three months, with the help of an army of friends, I donated all his clothes and shoes, with the knowledge that he would be content that his “stuff” was recycled for the benefit of others.
When I was ready to move last year, I began to evaluate all the “stuff” that we had accumulated over the years. I remember the late comedian George Carlin ranting about stuff:
“That’s all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That’s all your house is – a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.” Man did I have a lot of stuff I needed to purge!
I am getting up there in years, although I still won’t call myself a senior. Of course, I am not above getting the senior rates for movies! The thought of burdening my son and his family with going through all my “stuff,” after I was gone, was an incentive to declutter. I wanted to tidy up and clean out before it was too late. I also felt that this would be a moment of catharsis. I would be cleansing myself of unnecessary items while helping people who truly needed them. My mood shifted positively, as I thought that I was happily donating to others who were less fortunate. Besides, it made shopping in my closet easier since now I could actually see all the remaining “stuff!”
Marie Kondo’s minimalist approach to tackling this task was a boon. She bade me to thank each item for serving its purpose and send it on its merry way. OK, the truth is that I had so much stuff, if I had to say goodbye to all of it, I would still be stuck, ridding myself of stuff in my old house! The KonMari Method touts only keeping things that bring us joy. I didn’t have time to sit with each and every item, but once I got the hang of this “keep or give away routine,” it felt like I was on a path headed in the right direction.
I spent hours putting the photographs I wanted to keep into the computer where they could be saved and printed if needed. I shredded documents, filled boxes of stuff for charity donations, gave away half my kitchen to young and newbie up-and-coming chefs and cooks, and then needed to ice daily because of the toll on my back. But despite the back pain, I was feeling good about the move, and even better about the lack of clutter in my new condo.
Instead of this process being arduous, it became something affirmative and constructive. The more I emptied out my house, the more I envisioned my new condo as being uncluttered, orderly, tidy, and brought a smile to my face, knowing Peter would have been so happy to see me in my new surroundings.
And if you would like to buy my new book: https://www.amazon.com/Jokes-Over-You-Come-Back/dp/1981137866/