“Perhaps you should just give the stuff away,” I tell my friend JD. “If I haven’t missed what you’ve got, I don’t need to know what you’ve got.”
JD and her husband AJ had dropped by on their way home from a weekend at Mount Assiniboine Lodge. We’d had an impromptu dinner and as they were leaving JD had mentioned she had some dishes and things that belong to me. “I’ll bring them over” she said.
Having spent the past two weeks unpacking boxes and organizing ‘stuff’, I am convinced, we have too much stuff.
“How is this possible,” I ask my beloved C.C. as I unpack yet another box of dishes. “I know we love to entertain, but this is getting ridiculous.”
I have two sets of white everyday dishes. A set of summer plates. Formal dinnerware. A dinner set for 16. Plus a couple of other sets of informal plateware, just for those fun occasions when I feel like changing it up.
Too much stuff is cluttering up my life, and filling my cupboards! It’s time to get serious about unloosening the stuff of life that is keeping me stuck in believing I need it to feel ‘good, or happy, or complete — not sure what the seed of the reason is for all my stuff – I do know that all my stuff is acting like a grit of sand in an oyster shell. Except, chewing on it is not going to create a pearl of beauty. It will only create unease.
Robert Brault wrote, “I am never five minutes into stripping the clutter from my life before I start running into the clutter that is my life.”
In essence, the clutter is our lives.
As I unpack, and make choices as to what to keep and what to divest myself of, I ask myself, “Do I want this [object] to be a reflection of my life?”
It makes it easier to choose between holding onto something or letting it go, to think of it as a ‘thing’ that reflects my life.
Sometimes, I might hold an object and remember good times spent with it or the person who gave it to me, but then, I must ask… “Are the memories of this object overriding the truth? Do I need this?”
It also makes it easier if I ask myself whether or not the [object] brings me joy. It is in those moments I transcend the clutter of my life to realize, objects don’t bring me joy. Joy is found in the living of life. In the decluttering, in the unpacking, in the moving furniture around, when I focus on the joy of doing versus the pain, I find myself feeling at home, no matter where I am or how much stuff surrounds me.
I am unpacking and into decluttering right now (I can feel my daughters dancing as they read this — they have long held that I have too much ‘clutter’ in my life and need to invest time in ‘Swedish Death Cleaning’!). Swedish Death Cleaning isn’t about getting rid of things I do not need. It’s about creating beauty in my life where the things I do possess have room to breathe and be appreciate. It’s about acknowledging that one day, if I don’t do this now, my daughters will have to do it for me. Why would I put that burden on them?
Margareta Magnusson writes in The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning:
“Old people seem to think that time goes so quickly, but in fact it is we who have become slower.”
I am not ‘old’ but I’m getting there! No matter my age, or speed of ageing, what I need is a simpler, more clean-lined way of living. Decluttering is the first step. And now is the perfect time before ‘the stuff’ takes up residence and space in our new home.