“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin” – Mother Teresa
A new year is beginning! What have I been lugging around in 2016 that I don’t need in 2017? That’s what I’m asking myself.
I’m sorting through my stuff. It’s hard. I need a hug. Since I often suggest to others that they begin with a non-emotional category; linens, for instance, I take my own advice. I quickly find that the linen universe is against me. Two shelves in the small linen closet are filled with hand-crocheted pillow cases, sheets, doilies, and more doilies. Why couldn’t I just find old worn out sheets?
A couple of hard-honed truths come to mind.
- Sorting through other peoples stuff is a LOT easier than sorting through my own stuff.
- My life experiences–all of them— are my teachers. They are specifically designed to give me empathy for other people.
After I cull some things in the linen closet, I move on to the room I’ve been avoiding most. Taking a step in that direction is a victory. “Don’t give up! The beginning is always the hardest!”, I preach to myself.
This was the boys’ bedroom. A favorite memory is the time John “personalized” the comforters.
He was about three or four-years-old when I’d placed two new matching comforters on the twin beds. So as to be clear about where he and Ben would sleep, he’d written, in Sharpie, with bold letters, their names on each comforter. He was so proud of his contribution!
In recent years, the room has served as a craft room of sorts. Katherine and I covered the floor with a drop cloth and spent many hours painting signs, canvases and furniture. The items I’d hoped to use some day for making art– those were hard to toss.
After my parents passed away, the room became a repository of antique picture frames, boxes of more antique linens, ancient photographs, etc. There was a painful time of letting go when we cleaned out my parents’ home, but there were still things I couldn’t quite part with.
Thankfully there is something magical about getting started and creating momentum. As I wade through the plethora of stuff I begin to place less and less value on things I thought were important. I’m growing weary of ALL the stuff!
Some thoughts that you may find helpful:
- We procrastinate going through our things and the task becomes a behemoth in our minds. As I say to my clients, “This is not insurmountable!” Preaching to myself!
- Toss items that can be replaced (if needed) for only a few bucks.
- For “some day-maybe projects” tell yourself you can afford to buy the necessary components if and when you decide to tackle the project some day.
- Donate old linens to the animal shelter.
- Donate old blankets to the local homeless shelter.
- Fabric remnants, sewing and art supplies, scrapbook paper, can be offered on Craigs list under the Free heading.
- Give away items on Facebook.
- When confronted with sentimental items, I keep reminding myself that the treasures weren’t meant to be passed through generations. My grandmother, while spending many hours on her beautiful needlework, was not imagining her future adult granddaughter saving her creations for years in the back of a closet. She was creating beauty for her present life and that of her family. She, no doubt, gained much pleasure from her work.
- Folks often keep stuff because of the original cost. That money is gone, and it paid for the item to be enjoyed for a finite amount of time. Its usefulness may have expired. What would someone pay for the item today?
- If something has a story you want to remember, take a picture, write about it, and then pass the item on.
When you’re stuck ask these questions:
1) Would I buy this item today?
2) If a natural disaster occurred, what belongings would I try to retrieve? What things would I be relieved to find gone?
3) Which clothing items would I be devastated to lose through a bleach spill?
4) Does this thing add value to my life? Would the space it requires be more valuable to me than the object itself?
5) Would it be helpful to invite a friend over (or an organizer!) to help evaluate stuff?
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris
Good job momma!!!!
Thanks Katherine! <3
((( )))) = Hugs to you! ♡
Thank you Jean! Hugs to you right back!
I have always looked up to you as a woman who beautifully organized her life. I am a messy. Always will be . Your vulnerability inspires me to once again try to tackle my own mt Everest of stuff. Thank you for sharing your heart , your struggles and your wisdom! Sending a huge hug via FB . Know you are loved and that a new adventure is beginning. Keep encouraging and being real!
Jesus shines through!
Dear Myra? I am reading your posts as I lie here in bed recovering from an awful week of fighting cold/ flu ugh!! I find your words honest and inspiring. My current project is 35+ years of photos!! Any ideas how to approach this seemingly insurmountable task? I have started by using clear plastic shoe size boxes– one for each child and a box for each family of grandchildren. Then one for travels we’ve taken and one for relatives. Almost through with that sorting. But then what???? How do you part with photos ? Any questions to ask myself? I’d be willing to listen. Ps. Not really a scrapbooker…..too detailed for me. Thanks for your consideration Myra. God bless you and yours. Warmly, Ginny Hauser
Hi Ginny- I missed this earlier! I’m in the same boat with photos! My long procrastinated task! I hope you’ve had some success in getting yours together. You’re way ahead of me! 🙂