Saturday, August 11, 2012

Adventures in Purging

I am on a roll...

Today I purged some clutter from my life, including

half a box of old pictures, including shots of random landscapes I have seen over the last 20 years, pictures too dark to tell who is in them, pictures of people I no longer recognize, and double prints of every animal in the Atlanta Zoo in 1993

the clear plastic swans off my first wedding cake

newspapers I saved from 1996 for no apparent reason

manuals and directions in Chinese and Spanish for appliances I no longer own

a set of keys for my 1983 Ford Escort that I sold in 1989

two plaid scarves I haven't worn since 1988

2 obituaries of people I barely knew

a Weird Al Yankovic cassette tape

a piece of wood (??)

a pack of stained, water-damaged envelopes

Hershey Kisses wrappers a boyfriend in college gave me

and an album full of pictures of my parakeets when I was 14.

Well. I feel lighter!

Tonight I am going through a stack of letters. Most of them are from old boyfriends, some from my first husband, some from my parents and others from friends and foes. All of them were read and re-read and saved and lugged around from home to home over the past 20 years. I don't think any of the letters date from more recent than 1990. No doubt most of them are going bye-bye; I may save a few from my parents or my kids' father (for them, maybe, or maybe not, since they are boys and couldn't care less about that kind of thing). I also have about 8 full cassette tapes of "voice letters" from my first love, who I was going to marry but didn't; I was thinking about giving them one last play before ditching them, but you know, I really have no desire to at all. I have zero emotional attachment to them anymore. Might seem like no big deal, but listen. I carefully packaged and stored and saved and moved this stuff all over the country for two decades because I was *emotionally attached* to it. I could not imagine letting any of it go. In fact most of this stuff (except the pictures and manuals) was in a box marked "So Dear To My Heart" and was the last, very last box of emotional *stuff* to sort. It was supposed to be the hardest box, the one I would languish and cry over as I sorted it (and put it all back away to re-sort some other day) but it's not. Something dramatic has shifted in the last few years... or maybe more recently. It is not the least bit hard to let any of this stuff go now. It is freeing, fun, wonderful! It makes me wonder why I lugged it all around for so long!

Oh, and I found a great new home for my Schefflera plant today! I wrote about it a few months ago; my son gave me this plant when he was little and it was a few inches tall; now he is 16 and it is a monster. I really didn't want to keep it anymore, because it is toxic to dogs and I got tired of trying to move it around and remember to water it, but I had an emotional attachment to it until very recently. But you know, it is just a plant! I am so over it. So today I took a picture of it and donated it to a new local greenhouse. The kind man who took it was very pleased to have it and will propagate more Schefflera plants from it. Another happy ending!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)


Vickie said...

You are definitely on a roll. I know it feels good. And I think you are correct, have to be at a certain place, within yourself, to be ready to live in the moment and not so attached to the past.

Taryl said...

Yay for purging!

Mary Ellen Quigley said...

Wow! You are really clearing the place out. Good for you.

Anonymous said...

This made me laugh! I have done the same thing. I was in my 40's too when I finally threw away the ex-fiance letters and other things from my teen years. I think we hang onto things as a way of not letting go of the past or our youth. Something wonderful is changing in you!

Anonymous said...

Long time lurker here...Lynn, this is exciting. You have had a break through. Memories are within us, NOT within material objects. I recently became a moderate minimalist (I say moderate because I am still a work in progress) and over the last year donated about 50% of my material possessions. The lightness of it is phenomenal. The openness within my home calms my spirit and the bonus is cleaning is SO EASY. You are going to find that as you lighten your material load, you are going to lighten physically as well. Change is in the mind first, then the body follows. Two inspirational blogs to keep you motivated are Zen Habits and The Minimalists. Joshua Fields of The minimalists recounts giving away all of his mother's possessions after her death keeping nothing for sentimental reasons. Keep up the awesome work. Namaste

Darcy Winters said...

That sounds like what I have been doing. I would suggest keeping the letters from your parents. I have been running across things that my Dad wrote and since he is gone, each one is a gentle reminder of how much I miss him.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll be the weird one and say: no! don't do it! I threw away some stuff like that and you know 1. there is absolutely no way to replace it (unless the person who sent saved a copy) 2. just because you're free of the drama doesn't mean it stops being a part of how you got to where you are; maybe at 80, maybe kids or grandkids 3. scan them electronically into pdfs and throw away the paper. Take pictures of the glass swan if you don't have one. Save electronic pictures!

Mary said...

You are on a roll with purging! I bet you feel a ton lighter. Clutter has a way of weighing you down, even if it is all sentimental stuff. But after all it's just stuff. It could be gone in an instant anyway with a natural disaster.

Anonymous said...

Purge baby purge! The past is gone, the futures uncertian , lighten the moment, its all we really have anyways.

Anonymous said...

The best thing you got rid of! The Ford Escort in 1989! Was that not the worst car ever?

Maybe I just got a lemon.

Lyn said...


LOL... mine was okay :)