I am moving into a tiny apartment from a slightly larger house. I am having a difficult time thinning out my possessions, clutter, and stacks of old papers. Yesterday, I nearly had a petite anxiety attack. Then, after hours of sorting, I had a thought, and it made me ‘get real’ about my situation. “If I were moving to Paris on Saturday, instead of just moving across town, what would I be taking with me?” I also received a nice little piece of advice for clearing out the clutter: “Would you buy it today?” If not, toss or donate it immediately.
That left me stunned for a few moments and with a new plan of attacking this daunting task of packing up my life and moving it forward. That is really what this is all about. Moving my life forward, from a tedious, dramatic, tumultuous, difficult, past few years toward a brighter, simpler, and quieter present and future. Leaving the past behind can be difficult because of the memories, both good and bad, that are attached to the things and the people who are left behind.
I have a few main areas of excessive accumulation…books, music and movies, papers, wine, clothes, and kitchen stuff. I also have more furniture than I may need.
Let me start with the furniture. I have some new pieces but mostly old, inherited or found pieces make up my collection. I have my two beautiful Borgese mirrored dressers. I have my antique writing desk and chair, a birthday gift from my mother. I have my over-stuffed chair and my antique loveseat. I have my new Japanese inspired armoire ( I traded a box of great wine for it!). I use my two black cabinets as a desk and tuck my file cabinet underneath. I have a French bistro set and my old, kitchen table with two rickety chairs I found. I have a black coffee table my friend Rick gave me but I painted it black, and three other little end tables. I have my dad’s old Navy chest filled with blankets. And then I have a baker’s rack and a butler both given to me by old acquaintances. I have several, wooden, folding bookracks….
That leads me to my books. I have hundreds of books. I have been avidly collecting books since I was a teen. Many are special, but many are simply out dated for who I am today. This is the area, more than any other, where I need to be brutally honest with myself. Books are heavy, and they take up a lot of space. I have way too many books. Can I part with the past? It was always my dream to have a library wall of interesting titles. I can still thin them out. Perhaps, I can keep one or two by category—past interests, and then keep the books pertaining to my current interests. That might not be a bad idea. Think about that for a few hours.
I thinned out my music and my movies and finally put each cd or dvd in a book, getting rid of all those bulky jewel cases. I now have four books of cd’s and three books of dvd’s. Not so bad. I’d actually like to get rid of some of that music. I rarely listen to most of it any more and with I Tunes, I can just get the songs I want. Did I mention that I still have my record collection-1000 albums and a tiny record player? I love them, but they are in my mother’s garage….
Clothes: what can I say? I have way too many clothes and the funny thing is, last summer I went through my clothes and reduced my wardrobe by half! Most of my clothes are business or business casual clothes, which for the last four years, I haven’t had the occasion to wear. With my current job, these clothes are finally out of the closet. But, why do I need six crisp white shirts and six crisp black shirts? I have five pairs of black, side-zip pants…but, not one is the perfect fit. I may just have to invest in a great tailor. I have countless tee shirts. I have weeded out the concert tee-shirts (former career) and gone to strictly solid coloured, ¾ sleeve, boat neck or scoop neck: mostly
black. I love skirts and dresses and I have a good collection that I wear. I have eight pairs of jeans. All fit well and look good. Two pairs of dark, two pairs of slightly faded, one white, one Diesel, one black skinny and one blue skinny. I have an excessive amount of coats…and shoes. I don’t even want to think about my coats and shoes!
My kitchen. I have lovely Le Cruset pans and a set of Farberware saucepans. I have cookie sheets, pie pans, and cake pans….I do bake on occasion. I have every utensil a girl should have. I have the appropriate dishes and glasses, silverware, and glass storage containers. What has to go is all the crazy Tupperware….ok, I have to stop thinking about it…it’s a bit overwhelming and it makes me want to drink more wine…I have become the occasional and temporary alcoholic…(stress related).