I was listening to the radio on the way to work the other morning and Peter Walsh was being interviewed. He's a Professional Organiser (yep, with capitals!) and had some interesting things to say about de-cluttering and keeping your 'stuff' managed. A couple of days later I was at the library and his book It's All Too Much was on the new books shelf so I thought it was worth a look.
As you know we've moved a couple of times in the recent past so, theoretically, we shouldn't have too much clutter. We actually did a pretty good job of cleaning out when we moved back from Red Dirt Central but I'm always surprised by the amount of 'stuff' we have. There were many boxes that were never unpacked while we were in Red Dirt Central - the house was too little, the yard was too small and there just wasn't anywhere to put it. It was all stuff we wanted to keep so it was left boxed up and bundled away in the shed and store-room. When we moved back to Perth and were renting for three or so months we only unpacked half our belongings - the kids stuff, the kitchen and just what Hubby and I needed to get through. Then when we moved into our 'real house' we did, in my opinion, a fairly good job of unpacking. The vast majority was done inside the first week and lots of bits that had been packed away for the whole time were discarded in the process. Two trailer-loads went to the tip and various bits and pieces were given away. I was quietly pleased with how it had all gone and figured we were done.
Until... I tripped over a box the other day and realised that there were actually three boxes that still needed to be unpacked. I pegged today to do it and, after a leisurely breakfast and some procrastinating, I got on with it. I was a little bit ruthless, but still held onto some things I wasn't quite ready to let go of. I sorted through pictures from daycare and pasted them into a scrapbook that had been purchased for exactly that purpose,culled the 973 scribbles to a more manageable number, burnt countless pieces of paper with personal details on them and drastically reduced the amount to be kept. While I was sorting it all the information from Walsh's book echoed round my head and kept coming back to one thing. There were things that I'd been carting from house to house for the past umpteen years that had only been used once, would never be used again and were really only taking up space. One thing in particular kept flashing through my head. So...
I threw out my wedding dress.
I have zillions of photos from our wedding day. The dress is lovely and very un-wedding-y, just exactly as I wanted. It makes me look skinny and gorgeous, again exactly as I wanted. The photos bring back lots of wonderful memories but the dress is just a dress. A dress that doesn't fit, and hasn't fitted for a long time. A dress that is stained, despite dry-cleaning, and slowly yellowing as it gets carted from one house to the next. A dress that is not likely to inspire oohs and aahs from my daughter when she marries many years from now. So, it's gone.
Considering I'm about the most sentimental person I know, I'm terribly proud of myself!