Hold onto only those things that bring you joy

My beloved and I did the unexpected on Saturday.

After weeks, months, years actually, of talking about renovating our house, we finally agreed.

We wouldn’t do it.

We bought a new house instead.

Now, that was not my intent!

I wanted to renovate this house. To create our mini-paradise right here.

C.C., my beloved, didn’t feel the value in renovating would be worth it in the long run.

We were stalled.

And then, on Saturday morning, his friend and realtor sent a photo of a house that had just been listed.

It’s on the river (in an area that is not on the flood plain). It has fabulous light. Room for my studio and great views of the river and trees and shrubbery along its shores.

And it’s even easier access downtown than where we live now.

We made an appointment to go see it, after taking Beaumont the Sheepadoodle to the vet. He’d developed another lump on his back haunches and I wanted to ensure it wasn’t a pre-cancerous growth like the last one. It wasn’t. Yeah!

From there, we travelled across the river to the house we both were hopeful looked as good in real life as it did in the photos.

And it did.

Which is why we are now moving December 1.

Which is also why I am now in a frenzy to declutter and organize and clear out this house in preparation for listing it on the market.

Which was also the reason I wasn’t too keen on moving — because really? Who wants to spend their time decluttering and organizing?

Yesterday I began the process.

I’ve put together a schedule of how I’ll tackle the task — it’s not a small one.

We have about 2800 sq.ft. (not including the double garage) of collected stuff and clutter and… okay, I’ll name it, junk.

Yesterday I began in the front hallway. That meant sorting through three decorative boxes — all filled with opened and unopened mail some of which was about two to three years old. There were a few papers I needed to save (wish I could have found our marriage license!) but I did find some tax documents and charitable receipts we needed! The rest… I shredded.

Culling and decluttering makes me confront all that I hold onto.  Yesterday, I threw about 20 keys into the recycling bin because I couldn’t find a lock to fit them.

If I were a Zen monk this would be my koan.

Grasshopper: “Master. I have done everything you said and let go of everything I held onto but still I cannot find the peace I seek.”

Master:  “There is no key to the peace you seek. Your peace is not locked up in the things you hold onto or let go of. To know peace you must kill your desire to find it.”

Yeah. Right. But seriously, the bigger questions is… Why do we keep getting paper copies of bills when we always pay them online anyway?

After five hours of sorting, ditching, cleaning and shining, I had created a bag of ‘garbage’ and a bag of giveaways, packed up two bins of scarves and purses and shoes and culled coats that didn’t need to be in the front hall closet or in our house for that matter as neither of us had worn those particular coats in years!

And now, the front hall closet looks tidy, organized, and welcoming — like it has room for somebody else’s coat if they drop by for a visit. Or, as the realtor suggested — the objective is to get it looking like it’s not a particular person who lives here but rather, like anyone could.”

And to do that, I’ve got to let go of even wanting it to look like anyone lives here.

Yup. Definitely a koan I cannot decipher. Unless, of course, I choose to be present in the act of decluttering without spending hours trying to figure out, do I give it away or keep it?

Perhaps the greater question is:  Does holding onto this object/thing bring me more joy, or does it bring me angst trying to decide what to do with it?

Then the answer is simple:  Hold onto only those things that bring me joy.


6 thoughts on “Hold onto only those things that bring you joy

  1. Louise … congrats on the new house and best wishes on the journey to get there. Having gone through the letting go process, I highly recommend it. Joy is the key … I would shift the question just a bit, however. You are a joy-filled person, you experience joy easily and revere it. Therefore, I would shift the question to … do I need this thing in order to feel joy? Photographs help. Take pictures of the things that hold special memories and let the thing itself go … when you can. A new house is a new beginning … what do you need for the new journey? Have a brilliantly joyful move!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. one way to declutter is to rid yourself of junk, throw things out, give things to the Goodwill etc. Everybody does that. You will too. And garage sales are great, so ‘lovely this time of year’ … but here’s a tip nobody else will give you. Give away some good stuff. Treasures, furniture, are, things from the kitchen – not your least favourite, not your ‘we have two of those’ … but things you treasure most of all. Give those to people you treasure most of all. Be careful, you might get carried away as I once did … because I’d soon given away so many things to be further enjoyed by friends and family that the whispers started … wondering if I was ill. Obviously I wasn’t – the treasures are giving joy to others and my footprint got smaller …

    Liked by 1 person

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