I've spent the first half of my life acquiring all this stuff and
now I'll spend the second half getting rid of it!
~Olivia Evans (played by Patricia Arquette)
Soon after the divorce, I started to purge my belongings-some voluntarily, some by my ex. Clothing that no longer fit my middle-aged body (both in fashion and form) were some of the first to go. It hurt to see all my lovely vintage dresses lined up in a closet and never worn. I decided it was time to send them back to the Land o' Thrift for a new generation. I also sent back all the items I said I would sell on eBay or whatnot. I have already too much to do and my work travels make it hard to actually schedule the sales. And, anything bought specifically for the marital home had to go. Afterwards, I felt much lighter in spirit.
Eventually, I started to purge coffee mugs, dishes, extras of things I rarely used and registered a zero on the joy scale. I realized, as an introvert, I probably would unlikely be hosting cocktail soirees, backyard BBQs or dinner parties and so I whittled down my large collection of vintage dinnerware. I gave away boxes of knick knacks to friends, charity and (unfortunately) the landfill. I took care of maybe 10% of the clutter I had moved in to the Shotgun house.
Right before I left for work in Puerto Rico (April 2015), I read the Konmari book and I found it to be an easy read. I started slowly purging and it was very freeing to let go of things no longer serving their intended purpose to bring me joy. I told myself that when I returned in a few weeks, I would follow the steps precisely and rid myself of more baggage.
However, 3 weeks in PR turned into 6 and, by the time I returned, my life became messy and busy and I lost the Konmari spirit. I also started thrifting again and I never caught back up with my plan.
So, currently, the state of my goal to rid myself of joyless weights has stalled somewhat, but yesterday I did manage to recycle pounds and pounds of old work paperwork. I also threw old magazines into the recycle box. And, I have a large box of items ready to go to the thrift stores.
Next up on my purge list are the books. They fill every nook and cranny of this old house. I think, even if I live another 50 years, I could never read all of this material. For some reason books are the hardest thing for me to give up and I find myself pining for stories I shall never read. However, my hope is by freeing myself from all these material goods will give me a sense of calm and lightness of mind and spirit and maybe I'll find time to read again.
I will never be a minimalist, but I hope to find a happy medium between my love of stuff, love of thrifting and actual need. And this brings me to another great quote from Boyhood that I have been finding to be spot on:
"At some point you're no longer growing up, you're aging. But no one can pinpoint that exact moment." ~Richard Linklater
I have no idea if I am at that point yet (my body seems to think I am past it some days, other days I barely feel my age), but my guess is that after that precise moment, it becomes much easier to purge things.
(Photo taken at an antique store in Pittsburgh, PA)