For the last few months, I have been pondering over the concept of decluttering. Allow me to elaborate; when I say decluttering, I don’t just mean in a throw-out-a-bunch-of-old-clothes way. I am also not referring to minimalism – getting rid of everything.
What I have been contemplating is a habit I have of holding onto everything. Not literally everything, but things I have associated as having a sentimental value in my life at one point or another. When I moved house, this was something I noticed in particular. Old birthday cards and photos, knick-knacks I picked up on my travels through Europe – train tickets, key chains – just to name a few.
The other things I found were old DVD’s of shows I used to watch, over 100 magazines I haven’t read, a bag of recycled craft pieces I might one day use in a creative project… I could go on, but I think you get the point.
I suppose my point in all of this is, I have been challenged to ask myself why I kept some of these things for so long. In a lot of ways, I suppose, I tie things like this to who I am. These possessions have somehow shaped who I am. I realise now, that this isn’t true. I also realise that I don’t need so many reminders of things from my past. What is poignant to me, is that those things are in the past for a reason. I am living in the now, I don’t need to look back anymore. And I don’t need a train ticket or old Polaroid to remind me that I’m not that person anymore.
I’m proud to say that I threw a lot of those aforementioned things out. A lot. Most. Not my Lizzie McGuire DVD’s or my 100+ unread magazines but perhaps one day I will get there. And while I view those boxes and boxes of things I donated to charity or filled my neighbour’s bins up with as an achievement, I realise now that that was only the start of a much bigger declutter.
Ironically, the bigger declutter isn’t getting rid of the physical things, it’s getting rid of the more permanent kind. Like the photos, I have on my computer of people no longer in my life, the music and television that I no longer find entertaining and the words and photos I put on this blog that I no longer wish to endorse.
Am I trying to find who I am? No, I know who I am. And I know what I believe. I guess what I’m trying to do is get rid of all the distractions that I have allowed for so long to deter me from that.
It has been equally liberating and confronting, but I cannot recommend it enough.