Saturday, 24 September 2011

Four weeks: Looking back; moving along.

Yes, I abandoned my Four Week de-clutter project. I wasn't inclined to write another post explaining why I didn't de-clutter that day. More importantly, I was spending more time blogging about de-cluttering than actually doing it. I decided that a Four Week project didn't necessarily require daily posts, but when I stopped posting daily, my motivation dropped too. So no, I didn't completely de-clutter our home in four weeks!
I did, however, do some more active de-cluttering during the Four Week period. More on that in future posts. 
In the meantime, I've noticed a change in me. De-cluttering is becoming instinctive. 
When I wear something that's uncomfortable or worn-out, it doesn't go back into the cupboard. My donation pile keeps growing, as does our garbage. It feels wasteful to get rid of usable things but it's a relief to be wearing clothes that fit, without holes or stains. I'm also less likely to bring home unsuitable things.
I keep spotting housewares that we aren't using or enjoying, and adding them to the give-away pile too. Some of these objects are sentimental. I tell myself that the memories will survive without the objects, but I wonder if that de-cluttering tenet is valid. Even if my memories remain, will I access them as frequently without these reminders? Does that matter? 
Case in point: my Pillsbury Doughboy cookie jar. Strike one: I rarely bake cookies. Strike two: it's not airtight, so I don't use it even when I do have cookies. Strike three: my kitchen counter is tiny and this is taking up valuable real estate. On the other hand, it's charming to me, and I smile when I remember that I won it in a Knights of Columbus Father-Son Golf Tournament. I'm not a father or son; I'm not even Catholic! But my father-in-law injured his shoulder and invited me to golf in his place, along with his two sons and his nephew. It was so nice to be included. And I was delighted to bring home the Doughboy cookie jar. I don't feel ready to part with it after all! Oh, dear. This is so not the purpose of my clutterbuster blog. :-)
On the other hand, it could make someone else happy, and I could add it to my 100 things we no longer have page...maybe even with a photo... How sad is it that I'm devoting this much thought to a cookie jar? 
What this thought tells me is that the cookie jar is special to me as a symbol, not an object. 
First, it's a nostalgic reminder of my childhood -- of my mother baking Pillsbury Crescent Rolls with us! How happy that made me. I feel so totally loved in that memory. (And no, I actually don't think that feeling was created by Pillsbury marketing.) Well, I don't need the jar to preserve that memory. 
Second, it reminds me how much my father-in-law matters to me. How much I want to feel included in my husband's family. That being the case, I should act accordingly. I don't need the cookie jar for that either.