I’ve been raised in a family of keepers.
The typical reaction to getting rid of something is, “Wait a minute! Don’t you need that?”
Or, “Let’s give this to Amee! Then she won’t have to buy it.”
They’re givers. They mean well.
But at some point, you gotta just decline.
Nothing crazy. We throw away garbage, we clean. We don’t collect animals.
But we do keep paper! And pictures. And furniture.
And for me, being a writer, I have A LOT of paper.
I felt that everything I’ve ever written was something precious. I WROTE IT, it’s gold! This will be worth money! For awhile, I thought I wanted to publish this some day.
But I realize, I don’t. I wrote it for ME. It helped me express what I felt at that time. But that’s not the person I am today. I have no need to make those feelings public or share them now– they’re not true anymore. I’ve grown beyond them. Ripping up the majority of those poems is cathartic. It’s also hilarious to read my angsty love poems from seventh grade, about boys I would never kiss. I was so shy, I could barely flirt! It’s served a purpose, keeping it. It reminded me who I was growing up. It provided some laughs. It impressed me, with my own grip on language at such a young age.
But if I keep it, I’ve got to manage it and store it. And I’m ready to let it go and move forward.
It takes up a lot of space! And I’m only 33.
In a week, I’ll be 34. And I find myself envious of friends with apartments that have barely any stuff.
“But it’s just a ROOM!” my Dad will say.
Exactly. A beautiful room with lots of space.
And I want to move. That’s another goal for this year.
And it can be fun, if I try. If I put on some music or TV and just sit down and ruthlessly make decisions.
I don’t want to bring all this with me. I want to have less to pack. I’m making a point to go through all those boxes I just shoved things into each time I moved, and forgot about. I’ve gotten through the majority. It takes a lot of emotional energy to sit with those items and make decisions. But I’m doing it!
To those of you who are gifted with organization, how do you make decisions about photo albums, family pictures, and old correspondence? Letters, cards?
I can either organize, display, or pitch them.
Already, my closet is gloriously vacant. I would say I’ve donated or given to other friends about 80 percent of the clothes I used to own. I had kept things dating back to high school! Old slutty Halloween costumes from my Twenties. Everyone had them! I don’t need that kind of attention anymore. Now I feel sexier wearing something with class, that covers me up. Things that don’t fit me anymore. Old bridesmaid dresses. My Prom dresses. They were the trendy Jessica McClintock corset types from 1998 and 1999 with the big tulle skirts that looked like a pumpkin if you squatted down in them. I kept them thinking, “Maybe I’ll make a pillow out of the skirt!” But I’m not gonna.
And taking them to a thrift store was so liberating. Someone else will enjoy my dresses and costumes. They will have a new life, in someone else’s closet. Maybe even for Halloween. I donated a gypsy dress I wore many times for Halloween. I certainly got my money’s worth! I donated a couple of toy swords I had. I always went all out for Halloween and bought props and accessories.
This Halloween, I just want to be myself! No costume, no make-up, no wigs.
I don’t want to try on a new identity. I like my own!