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Letting Go

I recently picked up an issue of Oprah’s magazine. One of the recent ones on clutter and organizing. Sadly, this is always topical in my house. We’ve been doing a lot of that lately–cleaning out closets, whole rooms and my husband has been on a rampage to Get Rid of the Junk. It isn’t like our house is ready for an episode of Hoarders, but we live in a small house and now that boys have gotten bigger, it has gotten a lot smaller. So being creative with the space is a necessity.

But there are sections of the house and my life that I haven’t been willing to jettison. Same with my husband. Relics from our former lives–the ones we had before we were married, before we had kids, before we had our own house. We all have those things. At least I think we all have parts of our lives that we hang onto well past when they are a real and honest part of our daily life.

So as it often is with Oprah, I read this article: How Oprah Learned to Declutter, and had one of those “Aha” moments she likes to go on about. It was time to let go.

Diving into what we call the “Bob Cratchit” room, we began that painful process known as decluttering. This is supposed to be my husband’s office, but it also houses (out of necessity) the pantry, closets with my knitting, my extra research books that don’t fit in my office, shelves of pictures we haven’t done anything with, and lots of junk. It was time to empty the room.

Out went my black leather pants and bomber jacket (stories for another blog!) which my son asked “who wore those?” and when my husband replied, “your mother,” I thought the poor kid was going to need therapy. The old 60s ball gowns I used to collect. Out. Dresses I haven’t worn in years. Books. By the boxes. And then we tackled the pictures–which were delightful, difficult and sometimes painful to look at. Your life flashing before your eyes in a series of images.

The final boxes went out this week. Some to my friend Anne–my kids’ outgrown clothes that go perfectly to her son, a recycle that warms my heart. A box of worn shoes to the recycle box. Old school uniforms for the school uniform sale. And of course, the last of the clothes from the closet. I handed them over to the man at the Goodwill with a lighter heart, but got down to one last bundle and just couldn’t surrender it. My grandmother’s furs. I knew I should let go, I never wear them, but I do love them and the memories of her wearing them make me smile. Her dressed to the nines and going to church on Christmas Eve looking like a movie star. I tucked them back in the trunk of the car and brought them home, whispering to myself,  “perhaps next time.”

Have you got anything in your closets that you just can’t give up?

2 comments to “Letting Go”

  1. Ethel Putala
    April 25th, 2011 at 5:22 pm · Link

    I so very much agree with you. My mother died recently at the age of 90. She was a hoarder of the depression. Having lost her mother at a very young age (4) she had nothing of her and being raised by an Aunt and Uncle that resented raising her. Mom kept every thing for the last 75 years. I found pictures, paper clippings from Pearl Harbor, FDR’s death and moldy books printed in 1884.Since I’m cleanning out her stuff I’ve gotten in the mood to do my stuff too. Being that I’m a senior citizen now I ask myself do I really want to clutter up my life with all the junk Iam saving that I might have a use for someday.Thanks for listening I’ll say thanks for your books they brighten my Days reading them.

    • Elizabeth
      April 26th, 2011 at 8:11 am · Link

      Ethel, my mom and I have these discussions all the time about how we both need to keep the clutter down. Good luck with your work and my condolences on your loss.

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