I filled SEVEN large shopping bags with items to give away. I am so proud of myself.
The process wasn't as hard as I thought it might be. There were a couple of items that gave me pause, though - two flannel shirts that I have had since high school. One my mom brought back for me from a work trip she took. The blue/green colors in it are my favorite and remind me of the ocean. I tried it on and it swamped me. It's too big. It's not in style anymore. I haven't worn it for at least two years. Into the bag it went.
The second flannel shirt belonged to my grandfather, who passed away just after Donald and I got married. I had his shirt much earlier than that, when my grandmother was cleaning out her closets when we were visiting. It has autumn colors - deep reds and oranges and yellows. It's wool and has a good weight and is a little scratchy. I tried it on and it actually looked ok. I could picture myself wearing it on a cool fall day walking dogs through the woods or chasing my kids in the backyard. I haven't worn it because it has been hidden from view. This one stays.
Most of the items were easy. Shirts that were too short or unflattering. So many items I have had since high school (I graduated in 1998). Sweaters that were too boxy or misshapen. Pants that were too short or too big. Most not worth tailoring or trying to salvage.
I followed the suggestions I have read about decluttering and my mental and emotional state were ready. I had already pictured several items that went right into the bags without even trying them on. The black velvet vest that I wore maybe once when I was in high school. The tiny t-shirts I told myself I would sleep in and never did. The full-length, elastic waisted black skirt with a slit up to mid-thigh that I wore to a play in the city when I was in college (don't ask).
Ugh, now I'm embarassed to have even owned these things. I kept them for so long because I thought I needed to. They were a part of me. They told me a story about myself.
I'm writing a new story now. I can remember the events without having the clutter pulling me backwards into the past. I'm letting it all go so I can move forward.
I actually discovered that I have some very flattering clothing. I rediscovered several items that I thought didn't fit and do. I have three pairs of pants that just need a little tailoring. I replaced a missing button on a coat and now it's like new.
I have a very detailed and specific list of what I think I need (and want) so that my upcoming birthday shopping trip will only contribute good and happy things to my wardrobe. I told Donald that I want to be excited about each and every thing I bring home. If I'm not excited, I won't buy it.
It feels so good to know that all of those things are out of my life now. It feels good to have a sense of who I am through the choices I made about what to keep and what to donate. I feel lighter, more flexible and fluid, ready to take on whatever comes next.
It's perfect timing, really. Donald has a final interview with this company today. We're hoping to (finally) have a real answer by the end of the week. I'm trying not to hold my breath.
**Updated: I have to add something more from Communicatrix's string of decluttering posts. Her last one included this passage, which has me trying not to let my tears fall all over the papers on my desk:
Here’s the thing: no one’s right. No one’s wrong. No one can tell me or you or Stan or my grandfather what to keep. (Especially my gramps, unless you’re one of them psychic types.) In the end, though, my grandfather died alone, in a hospital bed, of a broken heart. The most meaningful thing in his life was a person, my extraordinary grandmother, and she’d left the planet several weeks earlier. And her constant refrain, even as she’d hand over some cherished objectstill warm with her unbelievably beautiful energy? “Sell it!” she’d whisper, gleefully, conspiratorially.
Trade that thing for freedom is what I now realize she meant. Don’t get burdened by your choices; let them liberate you. Let each thing that touches your life enrich you in some way—with joy, with experience, with the understanding born of pain—and let it the fuck go. It is not that thing you want: it is the thing that thing makes you feel.
My emotions are running high today.