My husband and I have been clearing out things we no longer “need.”
As we do, my process often includes feeling the emotions and memories attached to each item.
That can be a BIG mistake, in a home-clearing way. It causes me to, sometimes, hang onto things longer than when they are, actually, practically useful to us.
However, it does yield a home rich with memories and meaning.
My husband is typically looking to just get rid of “stuff.”
He seeks a more sterile, distilled, efficient place.
Sometimes, though, we switch roles and decision criteria.
For example, there was a Halloween costume I made our now-27-year-old daughter the year I was pregnant with our son. Matt is now 20, so that costume has been in storage for a while.
Anne’s costume that year was an orange M&M. It’s two big puffy orange pillows, each with a white “M” in the center of each one, attached with ribbon straps.
I joked at the time I made it that, with one puffy pillow in the front and one in the back, it was as close to the space-taking experience of being pregnant as Anne would have until she was really pregnant, herself.
And so, after having kept the costume around for years, I was finally ready to donate it to Goodwill in the past year.
Practically, I decided, we had photos we could enjoy of Anne wearing it. And it was bulky, gathering dust, and unlikely to be something our kids’ kids would wear.
Amazingly, after I set the costume on the donation pile, Gary, who NEVER retrieves things once they’re on their way out the door, plucked that one item from the “to go” pile.
We had temporarily switched decision criteria.
You just never know what stays and what goes.
What criteria do you use when it’s time to sort through and let go of “stuff,” whatever that “stuff” may be? (It’s not always physical…it can be habits and ways of doing things).