I blogged about “to declutter or not to declutter, that is the question.” I came to the conclusion that I must declutter. I threw out NINE bags of books that were OLD, worn, torn and just out-of-date. I could not tell. It did not make a difference. I still do not have any extra shelf space.
I had the gardener trim and deadhead the perennials in the front yard. The garden does not look any less full. I am on a diet. I still cannot shed a pound. I donated all the clothes in my closet that I have not worn in the last two years. I still do not have any extra hangers, nor do I have any extra hanging space. So, what have I accomplished? In addition, I have gone back to old hobbies – writing and drawing. Now I have piles of projects—some I am finishing off, like my book, others that are I am in the middle of, like two children’s book I am working on, some I am collecting as ideas. In addition, I became interested in ancestry.com. I met a second cousin I never knew existed and now I have two folders — one for my paternal ancestors and one for my maternal ones. My husband, who is a history guy, saw my collection of photos and articles and he became interested. Now we are making a folder for his ancestors. My grandson is in kindergarten and he has already created lots of drawings and a few samples of writing that my daughter simply must keep but has no space, and so we are now collecting his work. My granddaughter, who is two, has the “What am I chopped liver?” attitude, so we are now collecting her work.
My plan was to retire and SIMPLIFY. Is life complicated or is it just me?
For years now I had a big sign “ACHIEVE” in capital letters carved out of wood sitting atop my book shelves in our office/den/second bedroom. It seemed appropriate at the time. We were not yet semi retired. We were still trying hard “to achieve,” although now ten years later, I cannot for the life of me remember what it was we were trying to achieve.
Once you are retired, you realize there is no more achieving. Your goal is to just get through the day, the week, the month, the year – stay healthy, pay the bills, and enjoy.
When I was on the local tv show to talk about my “decluttering dilemma” blogs along with the professional declutterer, a young woman on the tv crew asked me if she could have my “ACHIEVE” sign as I had brought that item in as an example of something I had but did not need.
I gave her the sign.
Now when I look up, there is an empty space on the top shelf. I remember that Barbara, the professional declutterer, said that the rule of thumb is – if you bring something new in, you should let something old go. Well, I let the something old go, and now I think I need a new sign that says: “NO NEED TO ACHIEVE.” Do you think I can find that at Homegoods? No but you can find this one on Etsy!!!!
I am blogging because I think I am thinking the thoughts that many of you must be thinking. We are a sophisticated bunch – us baby boomers. We are very much alive even though we are aging. Our bodies remind us that we are no longer twenty but we sure feel like we are twenty. Only we have life experience and with that, comes wisdom. I am blogging hoping that I am helping you reflect on where you are on the cycle of life. I am writing to declutter the clutter in my mind – the past, the present, and the future all jump around inside my brain.
What I never expected was that I would end up on a local tv station talking about my blogs about the clutter. Until now I did not even realize that the literal clutter that I was blogging about may actually be more about the clutter in my mind. And maybe the literal clutter is so confusing because it represents a past that may not coincide with the present and probably not with the future.
What I decided is: I will try to declutter first by selling my excess stuff but I will hold onto the stuff that may help me remember my life should my memory not serve me well. Whatever money I make from the sales, I will put into a slush fund and we will hopefully take an extra vacation here and there on it.
Whatever I don’t sell, I may put in a pile and invite my friends to bring some of their stuff and then we can order in and have a “stuff” swap. I will keep you posted. If it is a success, I will host an annual swap. If you are not my friend but like that idea, friend me on Facebook and ask me to invite you!
The rest of the stuff? I will donate if and when I move into NYC or get too old to stay put!