Monday, March 14, 2011

Forty days, forty bags

Last week a friend of mine told me that for the forty days of Lent, she's working on eliminating forty bags of clutter from her home. I love this idea! I have a hard time getting rid of things. Much of my clutter is sentimental; parting with things like pictures my children have drawn and items that were given to me by family members is heartbreakingly difficult for me. The rest of my "junk" consists of things that I've accumulated during the moves I've made throughout my life--from Michigan to Nebraska to Wisconsin to New York. In addition, my parents are in the process of cleaning out their house so they can sell it, and they've given me all of the stuff they've been storing for me for years: old school papers and projects, books, toys, even clothes. I don't know what to do with it all.

When I came to New York, I moved into my then-boyfriend-now-husband's house, which is tiny and already filled with things belonging to him and his two older sons. Much of my stuff went directly from the moving van to the basement, where it's stayed since late 2004. I can never seem to find the time or the inclination to go through all of the boxes. Just the thought of having to sort through years of memories and the detritus of my life makes me feel helpless, and the few times I've gone downstairs to survey my piles of boxes, I haven't even known where to begin.

The forty days, forty bags idea seems like a great place to start (even though I'm already a few days behind). I still feel overwhelmed at the prospect of going through all of my things, so I think I will modify the idea a bit. Instead of trying to rid myself of forty bags worth of stuff, I want to go through one box a day, which seems like a reasonable, attainable goal.

I intend to start this project tomorrow. I know it probably seems weird, but I'm a little nervous about what I'll find when I excavate my past. I've kept so much that I really don't know what I own anymore, and I'm crossing my fingers that my sentimental nature will allow me to part with the things that I truly don't need. It's the memories that get me. It's so hard to let go.

I'll update as I go through the process. Wish me luck! 

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