The Weight of Mementos and Memories

2015 ended with unexpected good tidings and 2016 began with a boisterous bang instilling within me a newfound energy. I own many possessions, or, rather, they own me. I live in a two-bedroom apartment, yet still struggle to find space to place books, towels, tchotchkes, decorations (of which I have too many), dishes (I’m one person, so let’s get real here), and the list goes on in perpetuity.

Two years ago I bought a really cool device that would allow me to take my camera’s hd card and read the pics on the computer without accessing wireless. I remember the moment I bought the device: happy bubbles of joy filtered through me. I couldn’t wait to use it. Then I put it away and couldn’t find it. For two years I couldn’t find it.

When I moved to my current apartment four years ago I put books in the nightstands for easy transport. I never really took them out. I also don’t have enough drawer space for my undies, etc. I have space on the bookshelves but didn’t really make the effort to organize them. Not enough time I would argue, but, truthfully I waste time. Too much time.

I’ve wasted time since my dad died, and before too, looking for external gratification. I suppose I’ve done that much of my life, so when I’d see pretty “things” I’d think I need to buy them. I really don’t need much. Then there were the things I’d bring home after my dad died. Pieces of things he owned. He owned LOADS. I can’t keep them all!

I’m not a slob per se; I clean my toilets, keep the kitchen clean. I’m not a hoarder. I can move around my place. An organizer, however, I am not. A few days ago a switch inside me turned on. I decided the time had come to change. I know this process will take time, maybe a month or two, but it has to be done.

The time to DE-CLUTTER is NOW. The time to ORGANIZE is NOW. What better time than right after Christmas when decorations grow on trees. I have lots of decorations: ornaments, stuffed animals, and other countless other items, but you know what? I couldn’t find all of them this year. I live in a TWO-BEDROOM apartment. How many places can there be for things to hide?

I took myself to Barnes and Noble to graze through Marie Kondo’s book on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I read her thoughts on organizing by category, and I suppose she could have a point, but that thought overwhelmed me because I have soooo much STUFF. As I continued my foray through her book one comment struck a chord in my heart. When going through belongings ask yourself “Does this spark joy? If it does keep it. If not dispose of it.”

I saw those lines and I got it. I found my starting place. I went home that night and decided I needed to organize my place starting with the second bedroom—my meditation/reading/relaxation room. I keep my Christmas decorations in there, so I knew I’d need to take down my decorations early. I usually keep them up until mid-January. So I took many of my Christmas boxes and placed them in the middle of the room. The room itself already had the looks of a dumping ground as I’d leave stuff on the floor until I could put it away later. Yeah RIGHT! When I started organizing and going through stuff I found some face masks I bought last August. I’d been wondering where they ran off to!

I became possessed. I decided to take everything out of the closet. Then I filled the holiday plastic storage bins with decorations, so I could put them back in the closet. I threw stuff away. I filled bags with items to donate. As I looked at each thing I asked myself if it brought me joy. If the answer was no, it went bye bye. If the answer was maybe, I kept it. If I answered yes I allowed myself to feel the smile inside before finding just the right spot.

I spent so much of the past two and a half days working on this one room. I didn’t need to be so driven, but the second I could see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” I could feel a certain lightness inside. The closer I got to the end though, the more trying the task became. I allowed lots of little things like papers to accumulate. I shredded many papers, but kept more because I didn’t know. But the ones I kept had their own home.

I love books. I still can’t get used to reading books on my iPad, but I don’t need to keep EVERY book I own. As I held each book I waited to see if it brought a smile to my face. If it didn’t I asked myself I needed it for work, and if the answer was no, well you know what happened.

Sometime last night I realized that if I powered through I could finish the room. I could find a place for all the THINGS in it. And I did. I also formulated a game plan for the rest of my apartment. I’m going to tackle it section by section. As the clock struck 2a.m. and I could FEEL a peace inside that I haven’t felt in a long time. I decided to be a BAD neighbor and do a quick vacuuming, so I could really feel accomplished (full disclosure: my neighbor’s bedroom is not next to where I vacuumed). Once I vacuumed the floor, I popped open some sparkling apple cider and enjoyed the blissful moment.

I can’t wait to work on the rest of my apartment, but I also need to slow down so I don’t burn out on the process. I’m not sure which area I will tackle next, but I’m thinking the bedroom. I feel so much more energized when I have a good night’s sleep. From there it will be the hall linen closet area, the kitchen, the laundry room. Once all that’s done, maybe then I’ll go back and de-clutter again by category, but, then again, I might not need to at that point!


BTW, I’ve also read a fair amount of articles on clutter and weight-loss and clutter and emotional health. Everyone has great suggestions; find the key that works for you! Here’s a couple of articles I found inspirational:

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About Nancy A. Taylor

I'm a woman on a mission to create, manifest, and design the life that is perfect for me through travel, yoga, and mindful living. You can find me on facebook:
This entry was posted in clutter, Memories, Transformation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Weight of Mementos and Memories

  1. babycrow says:

    New year is a great time to do some decluttering. why wait til spring for spring cleaning!

  2. momzonroof says:

    “the weight of mementos and memories” perfect title… your new space looks great, I love that you had to finish it with the vacuum lol! inspiring post, inspiring journal, love following along, wishing you continued success 🙂

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