So I have been trying to do more Flylady decluttering this past month. I can now get into AND find things in kitchen cabinets we used to be afraid to open.
I’ve had a few epiphanies while decluttering. First of all – if you are going to keep your house clean, decluttering is NEVER going to end. Ever. The kitchen cabinets, for instance? I had decluttered those just this past spring. But then I left them alone.
This is dangerous if you are a stuffer – and I am a stuffer, people. This means if there is something that doesn’t have a place and there is a storage area nearby (this could be a drawer, cupboard, closet, cabinet or shelf) that is not full beyond it’s capacity…the item will be finding its home there.
So people who are stuffers must also be continuous declutterers. (I know. Not a word.)
Another shocking realization – you actually have to apply ALL of flylady’s rules or else you are not decluttering. If you are only decluttering things that you do not use and keeping things you sometimes use but dislike or have bad associations with (I have to keep this, it was a gift) then you still have clutter. If you are only decluttering the things that are taking up bad emotional space and things you don’t like but keeping things you don’t ever use – well, you have to REALLY love it if you are going to allow it space in your house.
For instance – I will be keeping my wedding dress. Forever. My mother sewed it with her own two hands and my grandmother embellished it with beautiful fabric roses she made from satin ribbon of my color choices. I don’t use it or need it, but I will never part with it (unless someone in my family wants to borrow it or a piece of it for another once-in-a-lifetime occasion – I’m thinking baptism, communion, wedding).
This piece of clothing, however, is a different story:
I cannot tell you how much I loved this shirt. It was 1995, my first year in college, and I unwrapped this gift from my family when I was home for Christmas. It was SO COOL. Did I mention it was 1995? Seattle grunge had come to Kansas, and I had pierced my belly button (to my mother’s horror). So I wore this flannel (thermal lining – oh yeah) with a half-shirt under it for nights out, or a T-shirt under it for classes. I wore it all that winter, all that spring, and all the next fall.
I felt SO AWESOME in that shirt.
I started dating my future husband that next winter. I spent lots of time in that shirt sitting next to him at Village Inn, studying and making plans.
It has moved with me six times.
But I have not worn it since the third time I moved.
In fact, I’m not sure I’ve worn it since I gave birth. And Shooter will be eleven in April.
So, even though I loved that shirt, I let it go. In fact, I realized that I loved that time in my life much more than I loved that shirt – and saying goodbye to the flannel that represented that time was long since overdue.
I am not nineteen anymore. Though I am essentially the same person, I am (thank heavens) older, wiser and better.
And besides, I would look ridiculous in that shirt now. But maybe it will come back around in a few years and someone else who is young and fabulous will find it on the rack at Goodwill.
Decluttering only works when you go all the way. And I must say – it feels so good to let go of things that represent who you were, but not who you are.