The emotions of decluttering
I got up this morning and I saw a bag that I made over the weekend ready to leave for donations. I glared at it and walked by it, planning to ignore it. I went to the bathroom, and, there stood three big bins full to the brim with more clothes that no longer fit the kids. I just need to get rid of this stuff. I had tried many times, took the time to take pictures and post each item to a local Facebook page. Had a few random pieces leave, which I had to rummage through the bins to find, and then the page was deleted and I never put them back up. As much as I wanted to have it all gone, each time I put pictures up or saw them, or touched them if I rummaged through the bin, each time… I felt a bit of panic.
I would imagine how that piece of clothing looked on one of my kids, I could imagine cuddling them while they were wearing those clothes. I could reminisce about how small they use to be and be in awe at how time goes by so quickly and how big they have become.
But this morning something clicked. I sat down at the computer and instead of posting pictures I just posted a simple message on another local Facebook page. “Clothes Lot for girl born in Jan. newborn to 2-3 years. Message me if interested.” I got a message back within about 2 minutes. She asked a price, I gave her one and she accepted. That was it. But she didn’t have a car to come get it. She lives in the old part of the city where most people have very low incomes, which is not far so I had no problem with running it over and it also made me feel a bit better that the clothes were going to someone who needed them.
I transferred the clothes from the bins to the bags, trying to not look much at the clothes but of course I saw my favourites and 3 items did make their way out, but then I took a big breathe, said “no more” and I closed the bags up and set them aside. I looked around for more things and made another bag and then was left with a big bin of miscellaneous boys clothes. So, I decided to donate it all. I asked her if she had any other kids. She said no, but asked why and I told her about the extra bag. She said she had a friend with a young boy so if I was going to donate it I could always leave it with her first. No problem. So there at the bottom of the stairs were 6 full garbage bags worth of clothing ready to leave.
Once Simon got home he put everything in the car along with a little baby chair that I had offered her also.
My heart tightened; It was all in the car and out of the house. I wanted to go and rescue it.
He went to start the car for me and the car wouldn’t start. It was the third time in as many weeks, and though yes we are in a cold snap, today was not that bad of a day so it confirmed what I already knew, that my battery was dying. I called Roadside Assistance and was put on the call back cue with at least an hour of wait (last week I waited 9 hours in cue!) I called the garage and asked if I could stop by for a new battery tonight if I was boosted in time and asked if he had a battery in stock. He said yes, but not too late. Simon asked why I didn’t just wait for tomorrow but I knew that I needed it all out and gone tonight, my emotions were running high. I got the call back and bit more than an hour later and within 20 min the tow truck was there. I left right away and headed straight to the garage. Almost too late. Of course it was not a straight forward job because the battery that he had didn’t exactly fit right but after a small welcomed modification it was done and I was on my way. One step closer. As I unloaded the bags I started feeling lighter and I started feeling a bit sick.
Though I would not exactly see call myself a hoarder, I can recognize that I have many of the traits and I do have a hard time letting go of certain things. I have talked about it before, but years ago I did have a thrift store/garage sale shopping habit that I broke cold turkey one day. I was tired of the clutter that was overrunning our lives and our home. Especially in certain rooms. I never looked back and we are still working on getting stuff out and we are slowly starting to get the upper hand. But there are still those feelings that come with letting go of certain items. Not with all, not even close anymore and not as much as it used to be, but definitely with some. And tonight I definitely felt it.
So I drove away and dropped one last bag off of unrelated items at the donation centre and then made my way back home. It was liberating… but it also made me anxious.
I feel lighter, the house feels lighter and thinking about it I still feel slightly sick, but I also feel that I have just made a big step. I have a few more to make, but with each one, we get closer to getting down to a manageable amount of stuff and having only stuff that we need and love and use. Each step gets us closer to a more realistic amount of stuff that will be able to accompany us in our dream of being on the road. Each step can be really hard to make but you just have to take the step and let things follow through because then you have to get ready to make that next one.
I little while after I got home, I got a message saying that she was going through the clothes and she was so happy. That they were much more then she expected and that there were so many beautiful items.
That felt good.
So, how do you deal with Clutter and items that you love but have no more use for. Baby clothes, favourite kids toys, favourite books? Do you even feel like I do and feel a bit sick and have trouble saying goodbye to items? What are your tricks? I would love to know.