I think de-cluttering is like a muscle. When you’re not used to de-cluttering, it seems too difficult and even overwhelming to start. I found I needed to build up gradually, although I know of those who cheerfully threw themselves in the deep end. But the more I de-cluttered, the easier I found it. My de-cluttering muscle grew stronger and more toned! I could make decisions on what to keep and what to let go, quickly and without too much analysis or angst. Until it came to a sentimental item ….
I’ve written before about letting go of clothes that no longer fit me and this was relatively easy to do. In fact, when the reason I was giving them away was because they were too big for me, I did it with a sense of relish! However, there was one dress I never wore but never let go. When I was reviewing my seasonal wardrobe, I would move hurriedly past it, convincing myself that it still ‘sparked joy’. I loved it but to ‘spark joy’ it needs to tick a lot of boxes and a lot of those boxes were empty. It’s a pretty dress but it no longer fit me and was no longer my style. I had few occasions to wear it and when one did come around, I would always reach for something else instead.
So, this time, instead of racing past it, I took a deep breath and took it off the hanger. It sparked …. something … I just wasn’t sure it was joy. I tried it on – it looked awful and I knew I would never wear it out of the house again. So, why was I keeping it?
I bought this dress for my twin nephews’ christening ceremony ten years ago and the celebrations afterwards. Every time I saw the dress, I would feel a warm glow when remembering the day. But that’s what I was remembering – the occasion – and I didn’t need the dress for that. I was confusing a piece of material with warm memories and the joy of being with family and the arrival of our two wonderful boys. I am lucky enough to have three nephews and a niece but I don’t see them very often so all time with them is precious. However, I need to disentangle the memories of time with them from inanimate objects.
I have photos of the day and me wearing the dress and that’s plenty, it’s enough, it’s more than enough. Letting the dress go does not mean letting the memories go. I dropped it off at my favourite charity shop, hoping that someone else will create happy memories for themselves in it.