why is it so difficult?

Well I know why . . . when I try to get rid of some of my ‘stuff’ especially when they are things I have tried to cull in the past, the emotional attachment starts to speak a lot louder than common sense.  Common sense says that “You haven’t laid eyes on it for years (in some cases), no-one else has any attachment to it so get rid of it!”  But then there is that little “ah” and a smile at a memory that happens which prevents me form putting it in the smaller of two piles.   The piles being ‘Keep’ and ‘Get-it-out-of-the-house-asap!’

The reason for this clearing out of ancient bits and pieces came about when I had to get everything out from under a bed to move it and empty a small bedside cabinet, previously my mother’s, to give to my grandheart.  And of course when you start, somehow other cupboards and beds start to yield up their bounty.

Some of it has taken up residence in my tiny office . . . it was tidy but now I can barely get in there and until I start cleaning that up  . . . oh take pity on me when I start!  Instead of “if in doubt, chuck it out!” it will be “I’ll keep this, it might come in handy!”

There's not going to be a whole lot of work happening here! Wendy @ the Late Start Studio

There’s not going to be a lot of work happening here!
Wendy @ the Late Start Studio

This grumpy pair are bound to come in handy don't you think? Perhaps I could put a use by date on them. Wendy @ the Late Start Studio

This argumentative pair are bound to come in handy don’t you think? Perhaps I could put a use by date on them.
Wendy @ the Late Start Studio

So there I am with an untidy pile of old tat all over the floor, tripping me up, stuff that I haven’t touched for years yet somehow I can’t part with much of it . . . and I’m not talking about resources for art or craft work!  So far I have managed to be fairly ruthless however there are other things that will sit in a box, and sit, and sit until some time way off in the future when space is more of an issue.  Things like: a card I discovered, from me to my mother that she kept (actually I’ve now decided to toss that); the little notebook she had less than a year before she died where, in her shaky 96 year-old handwriting, my address and phone number appears on every second as does her own; a letter, not dated, from years before where her writing was strong and purposeful. There is no getting rid of some things . . . it’s just too difficult.

I have jewellery, not good, from umpteen years ago, not worn for yonks . . . .that’s all going (unless I think some of the bits might be useful to make a wigwam for a goose’s brindle some time).  And can you tell me why did I keep the hideous Harry Potter-like spectacles I wore about 35 years ago? Furthermore, why didn’t anyone tell me they were so fugly?  These are the easy things, these and the brass bells and candlesticks from the 1970s.  Why did I keep them in the first place?

And after this lot is taken care of, after the office has been culled and organised, after I’ve dropped things off to the second-hand shop and made a trip to the tip . . . well then I have to start on the mementoes from 7 years of living overseas and travelling around the world.  I know I’ll feel great when it’s done but heaven forfend!  Save me from myself!

18 thoughts on “why is it so difficult?

    • Yes, with the diploma beginning in just 3 weeks I would like to have everything organised. I used to think how wonderful it would be to know what I want to do but I get so much enjoyment from just mucking around.

  1. hang in there wendy-your making great progress! maybe add another pile to the “keep” and “get rid of” you already have…. one called “think about” for the items your just not 100% certain to keep/discard. the “think about” items can be sorted thru once the initial purging is done, and things are tidied up. sometimes, it’s so overwhelming in the midst of it all, it’s worked for me to come back to the things i just wasn’t sure about. usually, the majority of my “think about” items, get tossed or given away, but also, a few treasures i discover i am glad i still have. tfs, i am cheering you on 🙂

    • Thank you Jenny . . . my ‘keep’ pile will include the ‘think-abouts’ as I thought it easier to say yes or no. The ‘no’ pile is easier to sort into op-shop and rubbish although I look at some things and start thinking about how I might recycle it.

  2. Oh good luck, it’s so hard to part with stuff isn’t it? Especially good stuff that might come in handy one day, and one just knows that within a week of parting with good stuff you will be thinking wish I had kept that for x, y or z! Today I have parted with a garlic press as we had two! Hope I don’t regret it!

    • I have a couple of goat bells from Thailand and China in the trees . . . maybe I could try more. When the gales come in acoss the Tasman I’m imagining myself getting up in the night to silence them. I’ll try it though.

  3. I’ve been doing the same on and off for absolute ages! Currently, I’m inspired by the need to give up my studio space to my boyfriend. It is making me far more ruthless than I’ve ever been before. I do agree with the “not quite yet” pile though. It gives you room to not force a part of the process you are not yet ready for. Good luck.

  4. Some of what you wrote could come just out of my thoughts. I´m sitting here in my office and nothing is cleared but I finished my wardrobe – two big bags for the donation. Sometimes I´m overwhealmed by memories , situations I didn´t think of for years … and there is a little fear: will I loose these memories which are fixed at an object when I throw it away? That´s why it is always so difficult for me. But there is no other way as to clean up from time to time so applause for your progress.

    • When I first found the little gift card I had given my mother I was surprised she had kept it . . . the fact she had made me loath to throw it out. And the letter, just a very ordinary letter from about 25 years ago. I had through if incorporating these in a book along with photographs and commentary so I wouldn’t lose the sight of things that jog memories. By the way, your circles turned out really well . . . did I comment? I seem to recall getting interrupted.

  5. When we moved from a 2200 sq.ft house Virginia to a 1600 sq.ft house in Texas we had to look at everything with the knowledge that each pound of stuff would cost $1 to transport. Needless to say, we left a lot behind … at thrift stores, the book exchange, and even for the new owners of the house (who were first-timers with no yard equipment … heavy stuff). While I regretted leaving a few things, mostly it was a relief to let it go.

    These days we’re a bit more intentional, asking each other “But where would you put it?” before buying something. However, I also ask “Does it make your heart sing?” If the answer is yes, there’s always a spot to be found.

    • It gets to the point where your stuff owns you. For a time I lived in a small apartment in central Tokyo . . . I had little and wanted for nothing but there was a storage unit and a house back home. We only need this ‘stuff’ when we see it and if I just keep the things that make my heart sing and my life work . . .

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