Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saving things or dreams?

Currently, I'm reading a book, "Throw Out Fifty Things" by Gail Blanke.   At face, it looked like something for me to declutter my life, especially with me feeling I have so many things I don't need anymore. 
The book addresses emotional decluttering, putting an emotional attachment to each item in the place.  One wouldn't realize it until you have it in the hand, ready to put it in the box to donate to Goodwill; I remember when I got this, in Inner Harbor, Baltimore, with friends... remembering the memories.  

*snap*  You're hooked.  You could not let the item go, after all.  It goes back on the shelf to collect dust...again.  

For me, it's items I had saved so much from when I was a child, when I had dreams of having children, and what I would teach my children, as the poster up here shows, of Calvin and Hobbes.  Calvin had saved his doll, Hobbes to give to his daughter. For me, I had preseved my childhood book "Little Princess" by Frances Hodgson Burnett, pages worn and faded.  Two Breyer horses, awaiting little hands to play with or pretend being real horses; the horses with chips from when I played with them somewhat tough.  My dad's book "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" printed in 1939, when he was a little boy.  A stuffed Teddy bear that my grandpa had given to me before he died.  

There are so many things tied to memories...

And dreams.  

Dreams of having children, and to pass to children, what I had enjoyed and loved.  

So reading the book, only on the second chapter (despite that I had started last November, would you believe that?), "Throw Out Fifty Things" is harder to read than to read "Peace and War" emotionally.   My mind is able to read, detached from emotions, yet I can hear the inner mother within me, saying 


(in a firm tone, no less.)  

I skipped many areas of the book and focused on the three rooms I can easily determine what to get rid of....

The bathroom, the living room, and the kitchen.     

Into the donation box; unopened piles of soap, many packages of pads/pantiliners (thanks to Costco almost two years ago- hadn't a need after the SURGERY), many self-care things I had gotten from family for many Christmas or birthday- (who needs that many bath bubble bottles??!-17 really?!),  brand new jars for preserving, extra pots and pans, so many cookbooks, shampoo and etc.  Many empty frames collecting dust in the hutch's drawer (this was the hardest thing for me to do.)  A lot of decorations from the living room- including many ornaments- One or two is enough, instead of 20 items to shout out my love for things British. 

Into the recycle box; magazines, aluminum cans (I had saved a lot of Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee cans, in thinking that I'll make a nifty wall decoration with them like I saw on HGTV), and so many papers I had saved from high school and college (I thought I would have used them for work or parenting advice for myself.)   Many magazines will go to collage art box at where I work- kids can use them for art therapy.  

Despite that I had gotten rid of so many books last year and the year before, I still managed to get rid of more books (63!) with reminding myself that it is very much likely that I'd not read them again. I love the books, but would I find myself reading them again? I'll need to remind myself to use my Nook more often. There's very few authors that I'd not mind reading again, like Laurel K. Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward and Kresley Cole. Those novels I'm keeping.  

Soon I'll be dropping the stuff at the shelter for survivors of domestic violence- they would appreciate the self-care items, especially the romances and fiction books!  

For the children stuff, the childhood stuff, dreams...?

Not going to touch with a ten-foot pole.  

I'm listening to the inner mom, for now.  

I'll get there to the point I'd be ready to re-evaluate the childhood stuff, and that means looking again at my dreams.  Some day.  

Just not now.  


  1. That's what I'm doing with deactivating from FB. I need to declutter my inner mess. Here's a post I wrote on it in case you wonder why I did it:

    I've Done It: FB Deactivation

    When I moved to Finland, I could only bring 27 kgs of my life (mostly clothes and lots of photos). Had to leave most of my books behind, though I've started collecting again. I haven't really had time to compile lots of items concerning our future children, though during TTC I did buy some larger clothes (and even a bigger pair of boots) thinking that I'd need them "later". Even bought three books concerning pregnancy and kids - need to give them to the library/flea market perhaps ('coz they're in English and I'm not sure if people here prefer reading English books).

    P.S. Take your time in grieving your loss. Here's what I read once on grief: IF and Grief

  2. I was raised by packrats and my both of my parents turned into full-blown hoarders by the time I was a teenager. I was raised to hang onto EVERYTHING. I thought it was normal to have a junk room in your house, and boxes of junk shoved in every corner just in case you might need something someday.

    I started about 5-6 years ago going through stuff and donating all the things I was saving. I wanted my house back, and I wanted to be able to use the rooms, the closets, etc. for stuff I actually used. It was one of the most painful things I've ever done. I cleared out odds and ends from my childhood I was saving for my own child, but as that started looking more and more impossible, it made no sense to hang onto all the clothes and toys and junk. I still have a few things, but nothing like what I started with.

    I cried when I dropped off a load of my toddler dresses and dance costumes. I had ballerina tutus and darling little dresses with frills and bells on petticoats that I used to think would make awesome dress-up play clothes. Better some other child have some fun with them than being constant reminders of what isn't going to happen, and taking up precious space in my house besides.

    It is not easy. I had to deprogram years of "OMG this might be NEEDED someday" type of thinking, and I even got grief from my mother when I'd mentioned donating some stuff. But it was so incredibly freeing once I got back and was able to reclaim parts of my house.

    One of the the things I remember helped me the most is the understanding that things are just things - it's the memories that really matter. If you have an item that is not useful to you any more but has emotional attachment, take a picture of it. The thing itself can go on to be useful to someone else (or on to the trash if it isn't good enough to donate) but you'll always have your memories, and the picture will serve as a fond reminder without taking up space in your house.

  3. I think I need to get this book. I am knee-deep in clutter. Or at least it feels that way.

    I did get rid of my items a couple of years ago. Fortunately, as I'd never actually been pregnant, I didn't have too much, but even the few things were hard to let go. I think the most difficult things were all the books I'd bought over the years trying to find the magic formula to get pregnant. They brought up a lot of anger, feelings that I'd been cheated and conned. Ugh.

    In the end, though, I see that clear-out as a turning point in my laugh and I'm glad I finally reached it.