Monday, May 29, 2017

Re-evaluating the Self via Decluttering the Bedroom.

The course leader, Joshua Becker likes to approach decluttering room by room. This week we're in the bedroom. The assignment (#4):
remove everything and anything that does not contribute to the two main purposes of the room: sleep and intimacy. 

Of course, it's also where I get dressed, so holding items necessary for that is important too--but we'll sort that later when our wardrobes get an entire week to themselves.

Like last week, my shelves gave me grief.

Those white boxes at the top are cassette tapes. Back in the day when I put 1,000 miles a month on my little Toyota, those tunes kept me company--and sane. I was able to get rid of about 1/2.

As I went through them, I got rid of anything I knew I wouldn't likely listen to again, (Sorry, New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band.) Anything easily replaceable, (Miles Davis' greatest hits) but I kept really precious ones (Nirvana), and personal ones (mixed tapes from long-ago friends).

I need to revisit these and decide what I am going to do with what's left. But I still have my cassette player, so I can choose to listen to them from time to time, too.

Then, my journals.

I opened one of them at random. It was from the months I'd just started Journalism school in London, Ontario. I wrote at great length about my plans and frustrations with trying to sew slipcovers for my couch cushions--and a chair. I was in love with something called "that flower fabric." There I am....starting a new school--a new career--and there's barely a word about my classes or what I'm learning. It's all about my decorating plan for my new apartment--and I knew I was only going to be there a year. Yet nothing was more important to me.

I picked up another. The one that covers the months surrounding my daughter's birth. I started reading. This one, I realised, this one is one I keep.

And so I am not ready to part with the Journals, just yet. A part of me just wants to burn them. Let that past go. Purify it with flame. Become someone who has left the past behind, utterly.

Yet that's rather dramatic for what's mostly a laundry list of things I did and planned to do. Heart pourings about people and my wooden headedness. I would like to revisit them at leisure and read through them, thank you very much. And then I'll know what to do with them.

For some, these shelves would not contribute to the two main purposes of the room: rest and intimacy. I thought about removing the shelves completely when, as I was going through two old binders that were on those shelves, binders holding many, many of my thoughts about my home and decorating plans and swatches and what not, I found a few pages talking about my bedroom. I wish I had the pages to quote right now, but I'd said something along the lines of "my books mean home to me. They comfort me. I need to put shelves up in my bedroom." So, there we are! Several years ago, I was quite deliberate about it--and the books there are the most meaningful to me.

Books still mean "home" to me--though, if I ever get the chance to move to my little dream cottage near the sea on Vancouver Island, all of it would be gone-- in a flash.

Joshua encourages us to touch every single item as we're decluttering. I did that as I dusted.

Decluttering makes room for us, as people, to change. It seems odd, but a lot of our self-identity is wrapped up in our possessions--the person we tell ourselves we are, is a person, often, who has this, but not that--who does this sort of thing over here--but not that. That's what this bookshelf in the basement held. The boxes are full of homeschooling books and scrapbooking things.

Two past selves.

And I want to move forward--and give myself room to breathe--to let go of my old self--and embrace whatever the future has in store. Not to become someone new, but renewed. Evolved.

I actually started to cry when I opened the boxes of homeschooling stuff. So many memories! So many dreams that weren't quite fulfilled. We were never quite that homeschooling family I'd hoped we be--and these books were both a reminder and a remonstrance. And I realised that it really was time to let them go. Emma starts Grade 12 next year. Ben will start University.

I also ran around the house and collected any audio recordings we still had on hand. Turned out Ben still had quite a few.

Joshua Becker encouraged me to donate these precious items--and so I've put out feelers to home school groups to see if there is a family who might benefit from these last four boxes. I hope we find someone who will take it all.

I've decided that I will make a donation run every Friday while the course is on.

This was the pile collected Thursday night:

And this was the pile the next morning:

I'd gone to bed thinking about all the things I hadn't touched. I collected it in about 1/2 an hour--before coffee!

Our next assignment is our closets (and drawers) and the bathrooms. I wonder if my husband will be willing to part with any of his clothes?

I'd like to paint the closet, too.


Carol-Anne said...

I've been reading your blog from pretty much the beginning....and this is the best post you've ever written. Staggeringly good.

Alana in Canada said...

Thank you, Carol-Anne! That means everything.

Anonymous said...

I read an earlier post from another read who expressed my feelings - I can relate to you, your struggles and triumphs. I do miss not hearing from you when you do not post.

Alana in Canada said...

That's very kind of you to say, Bonnie, thank you. I'm trying to post at least once a week, now.

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