As Quiet Husband and I contemplate The Third Third of our lives, it is profoundly apparent that we are Stymied By Stuff.
We have been married nearly 44 years, have lived in the same house for 34 of those years, have raised three children and cared for a menagerie here, have replaced two bathrooms and a backyard space, and have filled three floors, three attics, and a full basement with Stuff.
We have read and dreamed about downsizing, and looked at smaller houses and condos, but before we can do anything about those fantasies, we have to evict the Stuff. I have, of course, read about Kondo-ing, other decluttering methods, the spirituality of de-cluttering — all of the authors amateurs, I have to say. Marie Kondo, for instance, recommends starting with something that does not spark an emotional response — books, for instance. Ha ha ha. Repeat. Ha ha ha. She has a limited understanding of the bond some of us enjoy with our books!
I have reluctantly accepted, per the counsel of friends who were once in a similar situation, that this is at least a two-year project, one which I commenced yesterday.
Phase One: Locate photos in one place. I have chosen the second floor linen closet. If they don’t all fit there, then there are too many. Yesterday I began to clean out the bottom of four shelves to make a space.
Plastic bins of medicines; random picture frames; even more random snapshots; some supplies which must have come from some surgery I have mercifully forgotten about; an old jewlery box containing actual jewelry plus the 1.5 letters which constitute the only handwritten communications my mother left behind, an early ultrasound of my boys, and some other stuf f through which I have yet to sift. Result: Two bags of trash, a clear-er space, and that jewelry box still to be addressed.
It took me an hour. Maybe I need to modify my expectations from two years to ten.