Yesterday, after a delightful time with my quilting group, my spouse and I put the Christmas decorations away. He had already de-Christmased the house a few days earlier by collecting everything together on the guest room bed. We still needed to wrap the breakable ornaments and put the various objects in boxes and then put them on the top shelf of a closet.
The guest room has really been bothering my spouse, and I am willing to admit that in recent months, it had become a catch-all/overflow room--even though we had guests in and out during mid-December. I wanted it to be more inviting, but I had grades due and graduation and all sorts of other duties.
So, yesterday afternoon, we did some sorting and reboxing and moving stuff around. Other couples have trouble talking about money or sex; I found myself feeling weepy as we discussed whether or not it makes sense to keep the bulky wooden easel. To get rid of it makes me sad for several reasons.
I'm admitting that I'm not likely to paint anytime soon. I know that. But if I give away the easel, I feel like I'm committing to that reality.
I also feel sad because that easel reminds me of a happy time in the 90's when I was painting like a mad fiend. I was deliriously happy then. Sure I could take a picture and not keep the object--but there's just something about the object.
And then there's the money that we've spent on certain objects and tools and supplies. To give them away means I have to forgive myself for spending money on stuff that I might not have used optimally.
We had a variety of these types of conversations. Then we put the room back together and watched some TV and called it a day.
It's interesting that I can identify and understand the psychological stuff that's making it hard for me to go further in decluttering--and yet, I can't seem to subvert it or ignore it.
Of course, there are exceptions. Once, I had boxes of fabric, fabric I bought, fabric I inherited from other people's projects, fabric that people gave me. I realized that I had more fabric than I would ever use, and some of it I would never use because it was ugly. I gave it to some friends in the Carolinas to take to their churches who had social justice programs that revolved around quilting. That way, I was able to feel good about the fabric finally going to good use without that spiral of self-reproach for time and money wasted. I could let go.
Well, at this point, I'll start with a smaller jump. We also have several shelves of office supplies which we don't really need to keep. I'll take them to the office. Let someone else get use out of those 100 file folders and sticky notes of all sizes. I'll start using the fancy paper envelopes to send out poetry packets to journals. I'll throw away the blank labels for floppy disks.
Maybe after I do that, I'll be able to face bigger questions.
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